Man City set up United FA Cup showdown

Manchester City 1 Reading 0

Manchester City will face Manchester United in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley next month after Micah Richards' header took the Blues past Reading in a last-eight tie at Eastlands today.

Richards settled a nervy confrontation against their npower Championship opponents when he rose to power David Silva's 73rd-minute corner past Alex McCarthy to send his side into a meeting with Sir Alex Ferguson's men.

City have met United in the last four once before, when the Blues came out on top 3-0 at Bramall Lane in 1926 before losing to Bolton in the final, which could in fact repeat itself.

This is a different era though. The hype will be massive as Roberto Mancini's men embark on their first semi-final since 1981 knowing victory over the club who have lorded it over them for so long will leave them one step away from the end of that 35-year trophy drought.

Having once again abandoned the traditional Monday draw to suit their television paymasters, the Football Association arranged for England coach Fabio Capello to pluck out the ball that confirmed who the winner of the late kick-off would face in the semi-finals.

For City, who have for so long watched their neighbours lift silverware whilst their cupboard remained bare, losing in the last minute in last season's Carling Cup semi-final the latest heartbreak, the pairing was something to relish and fear at the same time.

Reading began with confidence befitting a side boasting a seven-game unbeaten run, including a victory at Everton in the previous round.

Skipper Jobi McAnuff sparkled around the Blues box and Noel Hunt was not far off with an early header. City quickly started to dominate though, even if their attacks centred around the twinkle-toes of Silva.

If anything, the Spain star has started to eclipse Carlos Tevez as the Blues' most dangerous player. The pair combined to set up the returning Shaun Wright-Phillips, whose shot brought the first in a series of excellent saves from McCarthy. Silva pounced on the rebound but also failed to beat McCarthy, who denied the former Valencia man with his legs.

It was also Silva who set Yaya Toure free with a perfectly-timed pass.

The angle was slightly against the Ivorian, which probably explained his hesitancy and why he too failed to beat McCarthy.

Wright-Phillips thrashed a shot into the side-netting and Silva lashed one wide before half-time but the lethargy in City's play, so apparent in Kiev during the week, was in evidence again, despite the huge prize on offer.

After all that industry prior to the interval, Reading almost committed suicide immediately after it when Shane Long strained to reach an Aleksandar Kolarov corner and succeeded only in turning it towards his own goal. Even McCarthy was stranded as it flashed past him, so how relieved must Long have been to see Jay Tabb head it off the line from his far post station.

Funnily enough, it was a better effort than City could muster themselves.

Tevez twice fluffed his lines in excellent positions, first when Silva had rolled a low cross into the six-yard box, the second time when Wright-Phillips had been the provider.

There was an element of frustration about Toure's decision to belt a volley goalwards from an impossibly tight angle, although it startled McCarthy who could only push it away.

The young goalkeeper was required again to tip Richards' downward header over the bar.

Even before Thursday's grass allergy scare in Kiev, City fans had learned to expect the unexpected from Mario Balotelli, who was given 20 minutes to try and avoid a replay.

It was the Italian's unselfish running that earned the hosts the corner that brought their goal.

Five years ago, Richards scored a very similar last-minute equaliser in a fifth-round tie at Aston Villa. Richards was a teenager then but judging by the way he rose to meet Silva's curling effort, he has not lost any of his spring, nor his power as it flashed past McCarthy.

News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
News
newsRyan Crighton goes in search of the capo dei capi
Arts and Entertainment
Actors front row from left, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, Bradley Cooper, Peter Nyongío Jr., and, second row, from left, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyongío and Angelina Jolie as they pose for a
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
sport
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Life and Style
news

As Voltaire once said, “Ice cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal”

Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition