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Sergio Aguero and Nicolas Otamendi (right) were on the scoresheet against Southampton

Sergio Aguero nets double on his 350th appearance for Manchester City as they ease into Carabao Cup quarter-finals with win over struggling Southampton

  • Clever corner from Manchester City led to Nicolas Otamendi scoring opener 
  • Sergio Aguero slotted cushioned volley to double lead on his 350th appearance 
  • Argentine striker showed predatory instincts to prod home his side’s third
  • Southampton stuck to the task and pulled one back through Jack Stephens 
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On a night when the appearance of teenager Tommy Doyle gave a nod to Manchester City’s past, Southampton were just happy to put a chapter in their own history behind them.

Rarely can a 3-1 defeat represent progress, but that’s how it felt for manager Ralph Hasenhuttl after that shattering 9-0 Premier League embarrassment at home to Leicester on Friday night.

Afterwards he admitted to fearing a repeat here, but Saints regrouped and at least restored a modicum of pride.

Sergio Aguero and Nicolas Otamendi (right) were on the scoresheet against Southampton

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Sergio Aguero and Nicolas Otamendi (right) were on the scoresheet against Southampton

The centre-back leapt highest after City took a quick corner and the header went in

The centre-back leapt highest after City took a quick corner and the header went in

The centre-back leapt highest after City took a quick corner and the header went in

Otamendi punched the air after putting the Premier League champions in front

Otamendi punched the air after putting the Premier League champions in front

Otamendi punched the air after putting the Premier League champions in front 

MATCH FACTS:  

MAN CITY (4-1-4-1): 

Bravo; Walker (Cancelo 65), Garcia, Otamendi, Angelino (Stones 79); Doyle; Mahrez, B Silva, Foden, Jesus (Bernabe 87); Aguero 

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Subs: Carson, Stones, De Bruyne, D Silva, Povea-Ocampo.

Scorers: Otamendi 20, Aguero 38, 56

SOUTHAMPTON (5-3-2): 

McCarthy; Valery, Danso, Stephens, Bednarek, Hojbjerg; Ward-Prowse, Armstrong, Romeu (Vokins 90+1); Long (Redmond 68), Boufal (Adams 69)

Subs: Yoshida, Vestergaard, Ings, Gunn.

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Scorer: Stephens 75

Booked: Romeu

Referee: Jon Moss  

‘A defeat but a reaction,’ was Hasenhuttl’s assessment.

‘After a very very difficult night on Friday to come here and play against one of the strongest sides on the planet, I can think of an easier challenges.

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‘You can concede goals and then the mental net breaks and it’s difficult for the players, so the goal was to keep the game open as long as possible.’

Still, Southampton are out of the Carabao Cup and it’s fair to say they’re not out of the woods yet either.

They must return to the Etihad on Saturday to face a stronger City side who will be even more determined to secure three Premier League points than they are to hold onto this trophy for the third year in a row.

Pep Guardiola’s team have scored five goals or more on no fewer than 14 occasions since the start of last season – including a 9-0 win over Burton Albion here in the semi-finals of this competition.

They are more than capable of inflicting the same kind of pain as Southampton suffered at St Mary’s on Friday, even though Guardiola made nine changes last night.

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The most notable saw Doyle handed his full first-team debut after impressing for the senior side on tour last summer.

The 18-year-old’s pedigree could not be better. He is the grandson of former City favourites Mike Doyle – who lifted this trophy in 1976 – and Glyn Pardoe.

Doyle is also the club’s youth team skipper and played here with the confidence and composure of a captain in an unfamiliar defensive midfield role.

‘Tommy played so well for a first game in a position that is not natural for him. Congratulations on his debut,’ said Guardiola.

Aguero doubled the lead with a tidy goal on his 350th appearance for the club

Aguero doubled the lead with a tidy goal on his 350th appearance for the club

Aguero doubled the lead with a tidy goal on his 350th appearance for the club 

Pep Guardiola's side delivered their usual slick football to pick Southampton apart

Pep Guardiola's side delivered their usual slick football to pick Southampton apart

Pep Guardiola’s side delivered their usual slick football to pick Southampton apart

‘I didn’t have another alternative, honestly, but he was with us in pre-season and I saw him a few times in the academy. I didn’t have any doubts he would play well.’

Hasenhuttl made six changes of his own. He kept to the same 5-3-2 formation but it was one with damage limitation in mind.

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Indeed, the visitors had 23 per cent possession and hardly got out of their own half before City made a breakthrough in the 20th minute.

Saints could have been more switched on as a short corner was played to Bernardo Silva, and he clipped a simple cross to the edge of the six-yard box where Nicolas Otamendi rose above Jan Bednarek to nod home.

The second goal arrived seven minutes before half-time and again the visitors were exposed all too easily.

City fans enjoyed seeing young Tommy Doyle get the start for the Carabao Cup champions

City fans enjoyed seeing young Tommy Doyle get the start for the Carabao Cup champions

City fans enjoyed seeing young Tommy Doyle get the start for the Carabao Cup champions

Aguero again showed his predatory instincts in the box to prod home City's third of the game
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Aguero again showed his predatory instincts in the box to prod home City's third of the game

Aguero again showed his predatory instincts in the box to prod home City’s third of the game

Phil Foden congratulated the experienced striker as the Etihad crowd celebrated his effort

Phil Foden congratulated the experienced striker as the Etihad crowd celebrated his effort

Phil Foden congratulated the experienced striker as the Etihad crowd celebrated his effort

City worked the ball from left to right where Riyad Mahrez fed Kyle Walker on the overlap. His cross found Sergio Aguero unmarked in front of goal and the Argentine volleyed in with the inside of his right foot.

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Saints goalkeeper Alex McCarthy made a string of fine saves before Aguero touched the third goal past him after Mahrez’s shot had been blocked by Bednarek.

Credit to the visitors, they grew more adventurous and Jack Stephens headed in from a James Ward-Prowse corner in the 75th minute.

So City go through but for Southampton there is at least a degree of redemption and something to build on in three days’ time.

Jack Stephens gave Saints some reward for their adventure in the second half

Jack Stephens gave Saints some reward for their adventure in the second half

Jack Stephens gave Saints some reward for their adventure in the second half 

Stephens wheeled away in celebration after seeing his header beat Claudio Bravo

Stephens wheeled away in celebration after seeing his header beat Claudio Bravo

Stephens wheeled away in celebration after seeing his header beat Claudio Bravo