PHOTOS: Man City 2, Burnley 0 (FA Youth Cup)
IN the end City's quality shone through as they knocked the Clarets out of the FA Youth Cup with a 2-0 triumph.
In the glamorous, rich settings of the Etihad Stadium, Terry Pashley's side gave a very creditable account of themselves in the fourth round of the competition but Marcos Lopes and Jose Pozo Angel scored to give the two-time winners a passage in to the next round.
The young Clarets, who reached the semi-final of the cup last term, were fantastic in the opening 45 minutes, giving everything they had to nulify a skillful City development squad.
Jamie Frost could have given the Clarets an early lead when former City youngster Jason Gilchrist pounced on Karim Rekik's error before finding his team-mate deep inside the area but the winger scooped over the bar.
The hosts had quality among their ranks - Rekik featured in the senior side's 1-0 Premier League win over Reading, Lopes scored in the FA Cup triumph over Watford, while Pozo cost the club a reported £2.4m from Real Madrid - but the City youngsters had only found the net 16 times in 13 outings, and it showed in the first half.
The home side's first opening arrived when Greg Leigh burst forward from full-back, shared a neat one-two with Pozo, but pulled his effort wide of the far post from a narrow angle.
City were slick in possession, fluent on the ball, and precise in their distribution, as they pressed in an attacking 4-1-3-2 setup but they couldn't penetrate a packed Clarets midfield as Pozo's looping, deflected effort was comfortably gathered by Callum Jakovlevs.
Burnley's main outlet was Brad Jackson who utilised his pace down the right, looking to catch City on the break. And it was the away side that finished the half stronger - Ian Lawlor saved at the foot of his post from Gilchrist following a sublime through ball from Luke Conlan and he denied the striker again moments later, beating his stinging drive from distance away.
Pozo benefitted from a rare mix-up in the Clarets defence late on, but he was snuffed out inside the six-yard box as he looked to pull the trigger.
After the break the Clarets continued to stand firm and frustrate City, but failed to press their opponent's back at the other end of the pitch.
Olivier Ntcham almost opened the scoring early in the second half, his fizzing strike moving in the air as it spun off the gloves of Jakovlevs before creeping around the post. The Clarets stopper was also forced to claim Pozo's low effort at the second attempt as the ball eluded his grasp but he collected just in time as Devante Cole, son of former Claret Andy, looked to pounce.
City's approach was now growing in intricity and momentum, moving the ball with ridiculous ease, and it was the pace of the build-up that saw Pozo threaded in to the box only to be denied by the legs of Jakovlevs from an acute angle.
Ntcham fired another warning shot in City's next push forward, his speculative drive whistling past the post, but it wasn't long after when the breakthrough arrived. The Clarets switched off momentarily as Leigh took a throw from inside his own half and Pozo's delicate touch took three Clarets out of the game before Lopes stormed in to the area, showing pace and strength to shrug off Charlie Holt, before slotting coolly beyond Jakovlevs.
Pashley, flanked by Andy Farrell, reacted instantly, introducing Evan Galvin and Christian Hill at the expense of Frost and Luke Daly, for one final push but the change didn't have much affect on the pattern of the tie.
Then, with fatigue creeping in to the Clarets performance, Pozo struck in the 87th minute with a sublime, measured finish after twisting and turning inside the penalty area.
Gilchrist, who scored a hat-trick against Manchester United at Old Trafford in the last round, had the opportunity to reduce the arrears but his glancing header sailed wide of Lawlor's post.
The young Clarets can hold their heads high after this latest test, showing guile, grit and endeavour against a City side brimming with stars of the future. But it was City who secured their name in the draw for the fifth round with a 2-0 win.