Like an exhausted obstacle hunter in Cheltenham’s more famous sporting venue, Gloucestershire City’s League Two Club last fell, but anyone who witnessed this FA Cup drama had to admit what a very nice race they drove were

So close to one of the biggest FA Cup shocks in the history of the competition that Cheltenham Town’s players were only nine minutes away from some kind of immortality in football when Phil Foden reminded them why Manchester City is this way so hard to beat this was a tempting tie between two 72-place league clubs that were worlds apart in terms of resources at their disposal but were on the verge of a staggering result for 20 minutes

Later, Cheltenham manager Michael Duff, a former Northern Ireland international who played hundreds of games for Cheltenham and Burnley, would say that this FA Cup run had saved the club financially, with losses of £ 1 million to themselves This season he joked that they might have finally stepped out of the shadows of the city’s world-famous racetrack, and indeed, if only the favorites ever triumphed

The relief in Pep Guardiola’s voice afterwards wasn’t hard to miss as he reflected on the cup shocks in Europe this season, including recent Copa del Rey defeats to lower division opponents for Real Madrid and their neighbors Atletico Less than nine minutes remained when Foden equalized and Cheltenham eventually overwhelmed the second division players with goals from Gabriel Jesus and Ferran Torres, who played the biggest game in their club’s 134-year history

City will take on the soaring Swansea City of the championship in the next round and won’t take it for granted after that close shave.A goal just before the hour from Alfie May, Cheltenham’s only striker, had triggered a fabulous cup game May played before four years out of the league and worked in construction Cheltenham has never had a player for more than 50000 pounds, which would not be enough to pay the weekly wages of one of the many big names in City. But for a short time they felt strangely equal

Had a full house on Whaddon Road now known as Jonny Rocks Stadium pushed Duff’s team over the crucial final nine minutes, the Cheltenham manager later wondered. In both cases, it was great to see how a second division team gained confidence and gave their famous opponents the long throw from captain Ben Tozer, who scored the goal for May

Guardiola described Tozer’s throw as a more dangerous option for Cheltenham than their free kicks or corners The city manager was really pleased that his team passed the “We know the FA Cup” test so is it ???? he later said Anyone can beat anyone Any team can be punished, but our answer in 90 minutes was good.

It took three substitutions from a City team with ten changes from the side defeating Aston Villa to get the game back on their way, and the third of them, Joao Cancelo, opened the cross for Foden the equalizer Duff had put his team together with five on defense, four in midfield and the tireless May running down City defense, the Cheltenham manager said he had confided in his staff that he feared his side looked like ‘rabbits in the spotlight ” warming up

You were almost on the City Juggernaut’s front grill in 25 seconds when Riyadh Mahrez stuck a ball into Jesus and excellent goalkeeper Josh Griffiths, on loan from West Bromwich Albion, managed to get a hand on the shot Later, with the 1-0 win, Griffiths would save Mahrez well again, and that first stop seemed to calm his teammates, who made their own good move to the right within the first few minutes

As expected, Cheltenham had very little ball, but even 28 percent is no easy task given the gap between those two teams and the proportion that City versus teams had in the hierarchy.It was late in the first Half-time when the away team finally faced the Tozer torpedo, a quick, flat throw from the former Newcastle United man that was causing problems with the city in the region before Tozer had somehow twisted into position on the goal line for a vicious strike by Benjamin Mendy on the left of the area above the bar to score

There were so many fireworks behind the main stand just before that, worried about the falling grenades, referee Stuart Attwell took the players off. When they had extended the time and went on break, Duff knew he was up to “0 : Going 0 was massive “he said” The players started believing at that point “

After May was well supported from midfield by Finn Azaz, the 20-year-old also on loan from West Brom, the home side suggested that Aymeric Laporte would claim he was pushed as he jumped to clear it up, but Attwell disagreed and there was no var to ask for a second look. When the throw came, midfielder George Lloyd got a head and May reacted faster than Mendy to get the ball in

Cheltenham, who himself missed three first-team players, was on the verge of history and Duff admitted he began to wonder when he saw the clock go by 80 minutes Foden was moved forward with the substitutions and it was his soft left foot that resulted in Cancelo’s cross Foden is City’s top scorer this season Fernandinho created the second for Jesus and Cancelo and Gundogan teamed up to make the third for Torres Guardiola solemnly raised his arms and the run in town went on further: ten wins in all competitions

Cheltenham Town (5-4-1) Griffiths; Blair, Raglan, Tozer, Boyle, Freestone; Azaz (Williams 81), Clements (Addai 89), Thomas, Lloyd (Long 69); CanSubs Flinders (g), Harris (g), Bowry, EbanksBooked Boyle, Raglan, Tozer

Manchester City (4-3-3) Steffen; Harwood-Bellis (Dias 68), Garcia, Laporte, Mendy (Cancelo 77); Doyle (Gundogan 68), Fernandinho, Foden; Mahrez, Jesus, TorresSubs Ederson (g), Sterling, Zinchenko, Rodri, Bernardo, BernabeLaporte booked

It’s hard not to feel disappointed for Cheltenham, who came within 15 minutes of beating one of the best teams in the country

They harassed, they rushed, they tested City on the counter and they scored from a free kick, just as Guardiola suspected, however, in the end, the quality of City decided the game

City achieves the easiest goal of the night: Cancelo finds Ilkay Gundogan, who is preparing Torres for a tap-in

Cheltenham almost equalizes, Blair clings to a rebound on a corner and hits a shot over the crossbar

Fernandinho looks up in midfield and pings a ball to Jesus in the area. He brings it down elegantly and then scores with a stylish pirouette

Cancelo gets a vicious cross into the penalty area from below and Foden hits up close. The cold, hard science of probability prevails

Fernandinho wins a corner and Foden gets the ball into the box, Aymeric Laporte is almost at the end, but Boyle walks away

Foden finds Mahrez with a killer pass and he thunders a shot on goal, but Griffiths disturbs his body

67 Double changes for City, Doyle and Harwood-Bellis make way for @IlkayGuendogan and @rubendias ð ???? ´ 1-0 ð ???? µ #ManCity | https: // tco / axa0klD5re

Foden slides into the box and gets a shot away, but gets blocked when red shirts converge from all directions

Tozer, who has the game of his life here, makes an excellent duel to deny Torres

Tozer hits a long throw in the box, Raglan nods and May hits a shot into the roof of the net. From today’s perspective, Cheltenham Town beats Manchester City yes, really

Cheltenham defender William Boyle comes forward in the overlap and wins a corner from a diversion

Foden turns beautifully in midfield and sends Jesus one on one. He tries to find the farthest corner and instead hits the base of the post

Fernandinho floats one pass far into Torres He cuts in before firing a shot that sails harmlessly into the night sky

Will Cheltenham City continue to confuse? Or does the quality of the visitors show during the game?

It was a real draw in the FA Cup. Let’s hope for more of it in the second half

City had the lion’s share of possession, but their opponents kept their form in defense, creating opportunities to counterattack and threatening their deliveries of dead balls. They may be real underdogs, but Cheltenham is very strong at this game

Mahrez skin Lewis Freestone wide and knocks off teenage Tommy Doyle for a shot, but Tozer blocks him

Tozer wipes the ball off with a Rory Delap-style towel before throwing a long throw into the box and winning a corner

Griffiths heaves the ball up and there is confusion in the city box, but a foul on Aymeric Laporte kills the danger

In an odd twist, Attwell leads the players off the field after someone starts setting off fireworks over the ground

The two sides use it as an opportunity to take a water break. The fireworks are still going off and several police officers are dispatched to investigate

Foden dances between the lines and finds Mahrez, who turns around and shoots at goal

Jesus goes into the box after Charlie Raglan puts an arm around his chest, but Attwell is unmoved

Fernandinho then comes close from a distance City is moving the ball well at the moment, but Cheltenham is defending well

Foden tries to pass Mahrez, but it’s a little over the top and goes out of the game

Not long afterwards, Foden goes to goal after a good cross from Mendy himself. His shot bends deceptively into the air, but whistles far

Cheltenham wins a free kick on the right and Chris Clements sends a high ball into the box, but Steffen would do well to ignore and collect heavy jostling

Phil Foden makes a nice pass to Mendy He rolls a cross into the box, which takes an uncomfortable distraction and scares Cheltenham

May bursts through City’s defensive line and shoots for the first time on goal, which Steffen pushes around the post

The city comes closer, Mahrez whips a ball from below into the penalty area, which Gabriel Jesus heads wide

Ferran Torres wants a penalty after Tozer removes the ball from his chest with a high shoe, but Stuart Attwell isn’t interested

Torres scores almost a moment later, but Cheltenham keeper Josh Griffiths falls deep and parries well

Benjamin Mendy collects a loose ball on the edge of the box and tries to reach the goal; Ben Tozer manages to come back and walk away

Riyad Mahrez steps forward and pings a searching cross into the penalty area, but Cheltenham clears

The two sides exchange free kicks, but both are well defended

Cheltenham pauses in the right flank and Matty Blair gets a cross, but Alfie May can’t quite convert

Will we witness the magic of the mug? Or the cold, hard science of probability?

When asked how City can avoid a surprise tonight, Guardiola says: “First you have to know your opponent in order to explain to the players the strengths they have

“They have their own qualities that we normally don’t find [your] throw-ins are better than a corner or a free kick, they cause a lot of problems”

Speaking to the BBC ahead of the game, Duff says, “I’m looking forward to it. It’s probably the biggest cup game in the club’s history

“Of course there is a bit of fear because they are such a good team. But that’s why we’re in the FA Cup, we had to win three really tough games to get that far So the message to the players is: “Can you leave the pitch with pride?” Don’t go nice and clean and ask for a shirt, we don’t want that “

Your City line-up against Cheltenham! ð ???? ªXI | Steffen, Garcia, Harwood-Bellis, Laporte, Mendy, Fernandinho (C), Doyle, Mahrez, Torres, Foden, Jesus Ederson, Dias, Sterling, Gundogan, Zinchenko, Rodrigo, Bernardo, Cancelo, Bernabe? @HaysWorldwide ð ???? · #ManCity picTwittercom / SH19tPHv6q

If Cheltenham Town emerges victorious tonight, it will be considered one of the most unlikely FA Cup disruptions of recent times

There are 72 seats between them and Manchester City in the league pyramid, but that only tells half the story. The competitive, infrastructure and financial gap between the two clubs is immeasurably large

On the other hand, one of the enduring joys of the FA Cup is that it occasionally produces an outcome that defies logic. The odds could be stacked in any way possible in City’s favor, but Cheltenham can live in hope

City could experience culture shock on Whaddon Road that isn’t quite as shiny as your average Premier League seat. “You’re going to get changed in a bar,” Robins boss Michael Duff confirmed ahead of the game

“We’re going to make it as hospitable as possible and the only thing they’re going to like is the pitch you won’t get a Ronnie Radford scene where the field is plowed

“You will be able to play on it? We’re not going to train on it to make it as bad as possible”We pride ourselves on playing good football We’re not going to ruin the playing field for this one-off game “

When asked about City’s locker rooms at his pre-game press conference, Pep Guardiola saw the funny side, “Please, I’m just asking Cheltenham: don’t leave a beer in the bar before the game,” he laughed

“We will be happy to switch to the bar, but there is no alcohol there because we want to win the game and be in perfect shape”

Despite the huge gap between the two clubs, Guardiola insisted that City be unimpressed by their surroundings “Everyone is from the lower divisions, or do you think if we’re under 16 or under 18 we’ll fly in private jets?” he said

“We all play our careers in these stadiums, we don’t play big stadiums all the time, we came from [clubs like] Cheltenham, people can’t forget that and it’s a pleasure to play there

“We have been fortunate enough to succeed in our jobs and move up through the divisions, but we’ve been there many times and switched to bars as boys and we play soccer with incredible joy

“We love this game and change most of our careers in these locker rooms”

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Cheltenham FC, Cheltenham Town – Manchester City

World news – FI – Phil Foden orchestrates Manchester City’s late comeback to take on the Cheltenham Town FA Cup surprise