Manchester City’s Carabao Cup win against Fulham making them advance to the quarter-finals was outshined by Kevin de Bruyne’s injury scare as the midfielder left the game three minutes to full time.
Spanish teenager Brahim Diaz scored in each half with his first senior goals to set up a last-eight meeting with Leicester or Southampton.
De Bruyne was making only his second start of the season after suffering a ligament injury to his right knee in August.
His service and effort had stood out on an otherwise low-key evening at Etihad Stadium, as he roamed across the pitch and helped set the tempo as City took control of the game. Having played only 150 minutes in total in 2018-19 before this game, the Belgian looked anything but tired, as he repeatedly drove his side forward and also worked hard to gain possession of the ball.
The 27-year-old made seven tackles and three interceptions, playing a big part in pining Fulham back in their own half, and the Cottagers – 18th in the Premier League – repeatedly struggled to clear their lines. His forward play, particularly crosses he made from the right, also caused the visitors problems as City created enough chances to win by a much bigger margin.
With November looking busy for the blue side of Manchester with five games which include the Manchester derby at home on November 11, Pep Guardiola will hope that De Bruyne’s injury is not a major one.