LONDON: Manchester City were almost stunned by fourth-division club Cheltenham in the fourth round of the FA Cup before rising to beat them 3-1.
Six-time City champions are just nine minutes away from relegation, but a late goal from Phil Foden, Gabriel Jesus and Ferran Torres saved Pep Guardiola’s side.
Prior to that, defending champions Arsenal were eliminated by Premier League rivals Southampton 1-0 thanks to Gabriel’s own goal.
Guardiola made 10 changes for a visit to Cheltenham but his squad is still strengthened by international stars.
The hosts – who have 72 children on the steps below City – opened the scoring in the middle of the second half through Alfie May who took advantage of a throw into Ben Tozer.
Guardiola had to include Ilkay Gundogan and Joao Cancelo to trigger a resurgence and it worked out when Foden completed a Cancelo cross for an equalizer in the 81st minute.
Three minutes later Jesus added a goal and Torres made it 3-1.
“We came here with a sense of humility and have the quality to make a difference.
“They use their quality in the box, they are higher and better than us and we show how to solve it. It is difficult to control it,” Guardiola said.
Cheltenham manager Michael Duff said he was very proud of his men who would probably be able to maintain their advantage if they had the full support of the audience.
“If there are fans it will definitely be more lively. Maybe we enjoy the last 10 minutes of the game,” Duff said.