Manchester City put their midweek training ground troubles behind them by comfortably reaching the fourth round of the FA Cup at Watford's expense.
All eyes were on City after the apparent bust-up between manager Roberto Mancini and Mario Balotelli.
But a 25-yard free-kick from Carlos Tevez and a Gareth Barry header gave the home team a first-half lead and all but erased City's fears of an upset.
City's third came in stoppage time when Marcos Lopes struck from close range.
Lopes, nicknamed 'Rony' after the Brazilian forward Ronaldinho, only turned 17 last week and his goal, on his debut, put a smile back on Mancini's face after a stormy week for the Italian.
Man City in the FA Cup
- Manchester City, five times winners and four times runners-up, last lifted the trophy in 2011.
- City were third round losers for the fourth time in 10 years last season.
- City were knocked out by Championship clubs in 2008 and 2009.
Watford manager Gianfranco Zola, twice an FA Cup winner as a player, predicted his team would be dangerous opponents for the 2011 winners, especially considering their fine league record away from home.
The Championship side have won six league games on the road this season, scoring 27 goals in the process.
But a City line-up full of recognisable names were presented with few problems by the visitors - hardly surprisingly, given that injuries forced Zola to pick a weakened team.
Balotelli, the man who hogged the headlines during the week, started on the substitutes' bench, with Edin Dzeko and Tevez charged with leading City's attack.
And the performance of Tevez, last season's troubled striker, took the spotlight off his Italian team-mate.
Watford had spent the majority of the opening period on their heels and conceded the first goal when the Argentine superbly found the top corner from a free-kick.
Moments later, Watford missed their best chance of the match. Fernando Forestieri - on loan from Udinese - was played through one-on-one with Costel Pantilimon but the Romanian keeper dived low to his left to save.
The home side doubled their advantage before the break with Gareth Barry finishing off a lovely City move involving David Silva and James Milner.
It was one-way traffic after the break, Milner and substitute Balotelli going close before Lopes pounced on a rebound from Balotelli's shot.
Watford manager Gianfranco Zola: "I admit they deserved to win but the scoreline was a bit unfair.
"We put a lot of faith in our young players and they did so well for us. I believe it was the best team I could put out."
Manchester City assistant manager David Platt on goalscorer Marcos Lopes: "He should be proud of that and equally he should be ready to train on Sunday and he will be, with the under-21 team to play in their game on Monday.
"He's a good lad, he's got a very good temperament as well and he won't let that go to his head.
"He wants to hurt the opposition, wants to get in the box, and has been scoring goals like that for the under-21 team. He's got a good future ahead of him, certainly."
- 30 Pantilimon
- 04 Kompany
- 05 Zabaleta Booked
- 06 Lescott
- 22 Clichy
- 07 Milner
- 14 Garcia Booked (Sinclair - 74' )
- 18 Barry
- 21 Silva (Lopes - 88' )
- 10 Dzeko (Balotelli - 70' )
- 32 Tevez
- 01 Hart
- 33 Nastasic
- 44 Rekik
- 11 Sinclair
- 36 Suarez
- 45 Balotelli
- 64 Lopes
- 30 Bond
- 12 Doyley
- 18 Pudil (Neuton - 46' )
- 27 Cassetti
- 33 Nosworthy
- 39 Chalobah
- 40 Ekstrand
- 04 Eustace Booked (Battocchio - 85' )
- 09 Deeney Booked
- 20 Vydra
- 41 Forestieri (Mujangi Bia - 63' )
- 34 Bonham
- 05 Neuton
- 07 Yeates
- 21 Anya
- 37 Mujangi Bia
- 38 Battocchio
- 36 Geijo
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The game is over, as the referee blows his whistle.90:00 +0:48
Assist by Mario Balotelli.90:00 +0:48 Goal scored
Goal! - Marcos Lopes - Man City 3 - 0 Watford Marcos Lopes finds the net with a goal from close range low into the middle of the goal. Man City 3-0 Watford.90:00 +0:45
Shot by Mario Balotelli. Save by Jonathan Bond.89:40
Troy Deeney takes a shot. Comfortable save by Costel Pantilimon.87:56
James Milner is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Nathaniel Chalobah, clearance made by Scott Sinclair.85:33
Indirect free kick taken by Jonathan Bond.85:33 Substitution
Substitution Marcos Lopes on for David Silva.85:33
Unfair challenge on James Milner by Piccoli Neuton results in a free kick. The free kick is delivered left-footed by David Silva from right channel. Mario Balotelli is caught offside.85:21
The ball is delivered by Carlos Tevez, clearance by Nyron Nosworthy.83:36
The ball is swung over by Cristian Battocchio, Header by Piccoli Neuton from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the target.83:36 Substitution
Substitution John Eustace leaves the field to be replaced by Cristian Battocchio.83:36
Troy Deeney takes a shot. Vincent Kompany gets a block in.83:22
Carlos Tevez produces a cross, Nyron Nosworthy manages to make a clearance.82:23
Scott Sinclair produces a cross, Nyron Nosworthy makes a clearance.80:29
David Silva challenges John Eustace unfairly and gives away a free kick. Matej Vydra takes the direct free kick.79:36
A cross is delivered by James Milner.78:07
Gareth Barry fouled by Geoffrey Mujangi Bia, the ref awards a free kick. Mario Balotelli produces a shot on goal direct from the free kick, save made by Jonathan Bond.77:29
Carlos Tevez produces a cross, Nyron Nosworthy makes a clearance.76:36
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Scott Sinclair from the left by-line to the near post, Marco Cassetti manages to make a clearance.
Nyron Nosworthy concedes a free kick for a foul on Carlos Tevez. Gareth Barry restarts play with the free kick.75:34
Carlos Tevez is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Jonathan Bond takes the free kick.74:56
Free kick awarded for a foul by James Milner on Geoffrey Mujangi Bia. Free kick taken by Joel Ekstrand.74:22
The ball is delivered by Marco Cassetti, Troy Deeney takes a shot from inside the six-yard box clearing the crossbar.74:02
Carlos Tevez produces a drilled right-footed shot from 18 yards. Save by Jonathan Bond.73:27 Substitution
Substitution Scott Sinclair on for Francisco Javi Garcia.71:35
Centre by Gael Clichy, Shot by Mario Balotelli from 25 yards. Jonathan Bond makes a save. The referee blows for offside. Free kick taken by Jonathan Bond.69:39 Substitution
Substitution Edin Dzeko goes off and Mario Balotelli comes on.69:39
Shot by Matej Vydra from just outside the area goes over the net.67:42
Pablo Zabaleta sends in a cross, Marco Cassetti makes a clearance. Outswinging corner taken by James Milner from the right by-line played to the near post.67:19
Short corner taken by James Milner.65:14
Shot by Matej Vydra. Blocked by Joleon Lescott. Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Matej Vydra from the right by-line to the near post, clearance by James Milner.63:38
Foul by Pablo Zabaleta on Geoffrey Mujangi Bia, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Geoffrey Mujangi Bia.62:57
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by David Silva from the right by-line to the near post, save by Jonathan Bond.62:33 Substitution
Substitution Geoffrey Mujangi Bia replaces Fernando Forestieri.62:10
Pablo Zabaleta crosses the ball, Joel Ekstrand makes a clearance.59:27
Short corner worked by Carlos Tevez. Shot by James Milner. Blocked by Nyron Nosworthy.58:56
The ball is swung over by James Milner.58:01
Joel Ekstrand challenges Carlos Tevez unfairly and gives away a free kick. Gareth Barry takes the free kick.57:12
A cross is delivered by James Milner, Joel Ekstrand makes a clearance.56:15
James Milner takes a shot. Piccoli Neuton gets a block in. Short corner taken by James Milner from the left by-line.55:20
Free kick awarded for a foul by David Silva on Fernando Forestieri. Jonathan Bond takes the direct free kick.54:48
James Milner decides to take the corner short.53:14
Costel Pantilimon restarts play with the free kick.53:14 Booking
Booking Troy Deeney is booked.52:39
Unfair challenge on Costel Pantilimon by Troy Deeney results in a free kick.50:06
Unfair challenge on Fernando Forestieri by Vincent Kompany results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Fernando Forestieri.49:30
Lloyd Doyley gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Edin Dzeko. David Silva restarts play with the free kick.48:58
Centre by James Milner, save by Jonathan Bond.46:45
Shot from outside the area by Nathaniel Chalobah misses to the left of the goal.45:47
A cross is delivered by Carlos Tevez.45:17
A cross is delivered by Marco Cassetti, Joleon Lescott makes a clearance.45:01
The game restarts for the second half.45:01 Substitution
Substitution Daniel Pudil leaves the field to be replaced by Piccoli Neuton.45:00 +1:32 Half time
Half Time The referee blows for half time.45:00 +0:59
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Joel Ekstrand by Carlos Tevez. Nathaniel Chalobah restarts play with the free kick.45:00 +0:11
The ball is delivered by Carlos Tevez, clearance by Lloyd Doyley.43:27
James Milner produces a cross,43:22
The assist for the goal came from James Milner.43:22 Goal scored
Goal! - Gareth Barry - Man City 2 - 0 Watford Gareth Barry grabs a headed goal from close range. Man City 2-0 Watford.42:11
James Milner produces a cross, Joel Ekstrand gets a block in.39:39
The ball is delivered by Marco Cassetti, save by Costel Pantilimon.38:48
The ball is crossed by David Silva.36:13
The ball is crossed by Pablo Zabaleta, Edin Dzeko takes a shot. Blocked by Nyron Nosworthy. James Milner takes the outswinging corner, clearance made by Lloyd Doyley.35:42
The ball is swung over by James Milner, save made by Jonathan Bond.34:36
Nathaniel Chalobah challenges Edin Dzeko unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Francisco Javi Garcia.34:01
Unfair challenge on Nathaniel Chalobah by Vincent Kompany results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Nathaniel Chalobah.33:00
Pablo Zabaleta challenges Fernando Forestieri unfairly and gives away a free kick. Fernando Forestieri takes the free kick.31:54
Corner taken by James Milner.30:15
The ball is delivered by Pablo Zabaleta, Joel Ekstrand gets a block in.28:59 Booking
Booking Pablo Zabaleta is cautioned.28:03
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Carlos Tevez by John Eustace. Francisco Javi Garcia takes the free kick.25:21
Fernando Forestieri takes a shot. Save by Costel Pantilimon.24:01 Goal scored
Goal! - Carlos Tevez - Man City 1 - 0 Watford Carlos Tevez scores a goal direct from the free kick from long range to the top right corner of the goal. Man City 1-0 Watford.22:56 Booking
Booking Booking for John Eustace.22:50
Unfair challenge on Carlos Tevez by John Eustace results in a free kick.22:37
The ball is swung over by James Milner.20:21
James Milner sends in a cross, clearance made by Joel Ekstrand. Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by James Milner. Edin Dzeko is ruled offside. Free kick taken by Jonathan Bond.19:04
Vincent Kompany has an effort at goal from outside the box which misses left.16:48
Joleon Lescott challenges Matej Vydra unfairly and gives away a free kick. Daniel Pudil crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed from right wing, comfortable save by Costel Pantilimon.16:11
James Milner is caught offside. Jonathan Bond takes the indirect free kick.15:59
The ball is swung over by James Milner, clearance made by Joel Ekstrand.15:41
Pablo Zabaleta takes a shot. Save by Jonathan Bond.15:31
Gael Clichy produces a cross.14:43
The ball is sent over by Gael Clichy, clearance by Nyron Nosworthy.14:01
Free kick taken by Nyron Nosworthy.14:01 Booking
Booking Francisco Javi Garcia is cautioned by the ref for unsporting behaviour.13:36
Francisco Javi Garcia concedes a free kick for a foul on Nathaniel Chalobah.13:09
Gareth Barry handles the ball and concedes a free kick. Nyron Nosworthy restarts play with the free kick.12:12
Carlos Tevez delivers the ball, Edin Dzeko takes a shot. Nyron Nosworthy gets a block in.11:27
The ball is crossed by Marco Cassetti, clearance made by Joleon Lescott.11:14
Centre by Pablo Zabaleta.9:38
Edin Dzeko fouled by Joel Ekstrand, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick crossed left-footed by David Silva from right wing, Lloyd Doyley manages to make a clearance.8:29
James Milner sends in a cross.7:53
Corner taken by David Silva, save made by Jonathan Bond.6:46
Daniel Pudil challenges Pablo Zabaleta unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick crossed left-footed by David Silva, Lloyd Doyley manages to make a clearance. James Milner takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line to the near post.6:22
Gareth Barry concedes a free kick for a foul on Nathaniel Chalobah. Free kick taken by Nyron Nosworthy.5:50
The ball is crossed by David Silva.5:30
Short corner taken by James Milner.4:58
Centre by James Milner, John Eustace makes a clearance. Outswinging corner taken by James Milner from the right by-line, Lloyd Doyley manages to make a clearance.4:26
The ball is delivered by James Milner, Daniel Pudil manages to make a clearance. Short corner taken by James Milner from the right by-line.4:00
Marco Cassetti is adjudged to have handled the ball. Gareth Barry takes the free kick.2:41
Nathaniel Chalobah produces a right-footed shot from long range which goes wide right of the target.2:13
Fernando Forestieri takes a shot. Joleon Lescott gets a block in.2:01
Centre by Matej Vydra, James Milner makes a clearance.1:41
Centre by James Milner, clearance made by Joel Ekstrand.0:50
The ball is delivered by Carlos Tevez, Effort on goal by Edin Dzeko from just inside the area clears the crossbar.0:00
The ref blows the whistle to begin the match.
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