Manchester City see off Oxford as Phil Foden shines

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Phil Foden enjoyed a fine evening for Manchester City as the Carabao Cup holders eased into the fourth round with victory at Oxford.

Pep Guardiola made 10 changes from the weekend drubbing of Cardiff but, despite the likes of Vincent Kompany, John Stones and David Silva coming in, it was 18-year-old Foden who ran the show.

The England Under-19 international was involved in the opening two goals, scored by Gabriel Jesus and Riyad Mahrez, before sealing a 3-0 win with his first senior goal.

Oxford boss Karl Robinson masterminded a 4-0 win over Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United four years ago when in charge of MK Dons – but there was not to be a famous repeat at the Kassam Stadium.

It did not take long for the game to settle into a familiar routine as the visitors took control of possession and pinned Oxford back.

Danilo and Foden – handed a chance to impress from the start – both saw shots blocked in the opening 10 minutes.

Guardiola’s side thought they had taken the lead but Jesus was flagged for offside as he turned home Silva’s low cross, with Oxford goalkeeper Jonathan Mitchell called into action soon after to keep out Oleksandr Zinchenko before Silva shot wide.

The opener came 10 minutes before the break and was started by a raking Foden pass, picking out Brahim Diaz, whose deflected effort was headed in from close-range by Jesus.

The same pattern ensued after the break, Danilo coming close with a drive from the edge of the box as Foden continued to be a pivotal player in the middle of the park.

He led a counter-attack that should have resulted in City’s second goal but Diaz and Jesus managed to get in one another’s way in an attempt to convert Silva’s cross following yet another smart ball from Foden.

City were well on top but not creating clear-cut chances, Jesus blazing over after Guardiola had introduced both Raheem Sterling and Ilkay Gundogan off the bench.

A rare mistake from Foden saw him miss a fine chance to tap home at the back-post, instead hitting the side-netting when it was easier to score.

Mitchell then made a smart stop to deny Mahrez as the visitors finally stepped up the pace in an attempt to quash any lingering hopes of an unlikely comeback.

Oxford, who sit 23rd in Sky Bet League One with just a solitary victory so far this season, could not rally and as they threw more men forward the inevitable second goal followed.

Another fine long ball over the top from Foden was well-controlled by Mahrez, who raced through on goal to finish well.

Foden continued to be the star of the show, drawing a good late save from Mitchell with an effort from inside the box before a controlled, first-time finish followed to wrap up the win for City.

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