PHIL FODEN spared Manchester City’s blushes – just as Pep Guardiola was facing a May day emergency.
League Two minnows Cheltenham looked set to claim one of the biggest scalps in FA Cup history when Alfie May gave them a second-half lead.
Phil Foden popped up with a late leveller as Man City’s blushes were spared in the FA CupCredit: AFP
Alfie May had given Cheltenham a famous lead on Saturday eveningCredit: EPA
But England starlet Foden dragged his stuttering side forward and then grabbed an 81st minute leveller for the Premier League title favourites.
Gabriel Jesus completed the turnaround and broke Robins hearts before Ferran Torres added a stoppage-time third.
But what a scare they were given.
City arrived at Jonny-Rocks Stadium as the Premier League’s in-form team – and were 72 places above their opponents in the football pyramid.
Cheltenham were playing in the fourth round for only the third time in their history and this was by far their biggest game.
Yet they caused Pep Guardiola’s much changed side a real headache.
City could have been ahead inside the first minute as Riyad Mahrez played through Gabriel Jesus but keeper Josh Griffiths got a hand on his attempted lob.
Then Benjamin Mendy ran onto a Taylor Harwood Bellis cross and unleashed a fierce shot that was superbly cleared off the line by Robins skipper Ben Tozer.
A low cross from Phil Foden found Torres but Griffiths again got down to save well before Jesus planted another header wide.
Michael Duff’s men had hung in and created a great chance of their own when Finn Azaz played through May but his shot was saved at the near post by Zack Steffen.
Guardiola must have had some words with his team at the break as they had more intent early in the second-half.
City pulled through with three goals in the last ten minutesCredit: AFP
A local firework display led to a five-minute pause in the first-halfCredit: EPA
Foden slipped a pass through to Jesus who rolled his shot past Griffiths but against the outside of the post.
The Brazilian has scored just one in his last 12 games and it showed.
And it looked a big miss just before the hour when Tozer’s long throw caused havoc in the box and Charlie Raglan’s header on was rattled into the top corner by May.
Aymeric Laporte felt he was pushed in the back in the build up but there was no VAR and the Frenchman was booked for protesting.
City needed a response and they had another big chance when Foden slipped Mahrez through but Griffiths spread himself to deny him.
The clock ticked into the last ten minutes and the upset looked on, but sub Joao Cancelo lofted a ball into the box and Foden sprang the offside trap to volley home.
And with the home side still reeling, a chip forward from Fernandinho found Jesus who had got behind the defence and turned sharply before firing home.
In stoppage time, sub Ilkay Gundogan got away down the right and squared for Torres to tap home.
Gabriel Jesus struck the winner after 86 minutesCredit: AFP
Cheltenham boss Michael Duff came close to a stunning cupsetCredit: AFP
Source: Soccer - thesun.co.uk