BC-SOC--English Roundup,3rd Ld-Writethru
LONDON (AP) — Manchester City’s quest for a quadruple is still on — thanks to a bit of luck and some help from the referee.
City came from two goals down to beat second-tier Swansea 3-2 in the FA Cup quarterfinals on Saturday, but it was a comeback that benefited from two refereeing mistakes. City was incorrectly awarded a penalty that led to the equalizer before Sergio Aguero scored the winner from an offside position to end Swansea’s hopes of a massive upset.
Adding to City’s good fortune was the fact the equalizer had only gone in after the ball bounced off goalkeeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt.
It made for one of City’s least impressive wins of the season but kept coach Pep Guardiola on track for a possible four titles. City has already won the League Cup, leads the way in the Premier League and is into the Champions League quarterfinals.
But the big-spending club almost saw its FA Cup campaign ended by a Championship side for the second straight season, having lost to Wigan in the fifth round last year.
In a game played in driving rain, Matt Grimes gave Swansea the lead from the penalty spot in the 20th minute. Bersant Celina then doubled the lead by finishing off a sublime move with a curling first-time finish into the corner in the 29th.
It was a goal that had all the hallmarks of City’s usually slick attacking play, which was missing from the visitors for most of the match.
Guardiola’s team still found a way back into the game in the 69th when Aguero had a shot blocked before playing the ball out to Bernardo Silva, who rifled a shot with the outside of his boot into the corner.
City continued to pressure Swansea and the penalty came when Cameron Carter-Vickers was adjudged to have fouled Raheem Sterling in the box — even though replays clearly showed he got the ball.
Aguero’s spot kick then hit the post before the ball went in off the luckless Nordfeldt.
The Argentina striker then netted the winner in the 88th with a header. However, replays showed he was offside when the cross was delivered — highlighting the absence of video reviews for the game.
“If it’s not a penalty, I’m sorry. If it’s offside, I’m sorry,” said Guardiola, who added he had not seen replays of either incident. “Why is VAR not here? That’s the question for the authorities.”
Swansea manager Graham Potter refused to blame the referee for the loss.
“City had chances of course, you can’t deny if you look at the game that they deserved to win,” Potter said. “But for the players, it’s disappointing to lose goals in that manner. But that’s life, referees make mistakes as well.”
Earlier Saturday, Watford also reached the semifinals after substitute Andre Gray scored two minutes after coming off the bench to secure a 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace.
Gray latched on to Roberto Pereyra’s chip into the area and volleyed in left-footed in the 79th minute as Watford became the first team to book a place at Wembley Stadium.
Later, Manchester United visited Wolverhampton Wanderers in another quarterfinal.
DROP LOOMS IN PREMIER LEAGUE
Huddersfield’s hopes of staving off Premier League relegation are all but over after giving up a two-goal lead to lose 4-3 at West Ham.
Burnley put itself in danger of going down when it couldn’t convert a one-man advantage against Leicester, losing 2-1 after conceding a last-minute goal.
Last-place Huddersfield was 3-1 up after Karlan Grant scored his second goal of the game in the 65th minute and looked headed for only a second win since November. But after Angelo Ogbonna pulled one back for West Ham, substitute Javier Hernandez scored two late goals to complete the comeback. It leaves Huddersfield staring at near-certain relegation as the team remained 16 points from safety with seven games left.
Burnley had a great chance to move five points clear of the drop zone but couldn’t take advantage of Leicester defender Harry Maguire being sent off after four minutes.
Wes Morgan scored a 90th-minute winner for the visitors, leaving Burnley just two points ahead of 18th-place Cardiff, which has a game in hand.
In the third league game of the day, Newcastle winger Matt Ritchie scored a stoppage-time equalizer against his former club to secure a 2-2 draw at Bournemouth.
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