Match ends, Oxford United 1, Manchester City 3.
Oxford United 1-3 Manchester City: Raheem Sterling double seals semi-final spot
Holders Manchester City progressed to the Carabao Cup semi-finals with victory at Oxford United - as Arsenal managerial target Mikel Arteta took his place on the visitors' bench alongside boss Pep Guardiola.
City are still awaiting formal contact from Arsenal regarding assistant manager Arteta - and if this is to be his last game at City, he went out on a winning note.
Oxford, who lost at home to City in the third round of this competition last season, did themselves great credit, forcing keeper Claudio Bravo into a succession of second-half saves.
The League One side responded to Joao Cancelo's deflected first-half goal by drawing level less than a minute after the interval through Matty Taylor's weaving run and finish.
In the end, however, City's class told and Raheem Sterling struck twice from close range to settle any nerves and secure the holders' place in the last four.
Manchester City take on local rivals Manchester United in the semi-finals, while Leicester City face Aston Villa in the other all-Premier League tie.
- Man City to face Man Utd in EFL Cup semi-finals
- Beyond Today podcast: Is Sterling the new Beckham?
- How Oxford boss Robinson is bidding to reconnect club to city
Arteta presence provides sub-plot
All eyes were on Arteta as soon as Manchester City's team bus pulled up in driving wind and rain outside Oxford's Kassam Stadium.
Arteta's presence was very obvious evidence that his expected move into management at Arsenal had not moved towards completion and he was still in his familiar place at Guardiola's side.
City's hierarchy, however, are both puzzled and furious that they have not been contacted by their Arsenal counterparts to get what should be a straightforward deal done.
Arsenal officials were pictured leaving Arteta's house in the early hours of Monday but contact between the clubs will still have to be made because they have to agree a seven-figure compensation fee.
On the pitch, a reshuffled City eventually had too much for Oxford but they did not have it all their own way - and the scoreline actually flattered the visitors.
Oxford United a credit to the club
Oxford United manager Karl Robinson believes matches like this present an opportunity to further re-connect the club to its support and the city.
This process has been strengthened by form which has taken Oxford to the edge of the League One play-off zone and this run to the Carabao Cup quarter-finals, which included a 4-0 thrashing of Premier League West Ham United.
Robinson's mission will have gathered pace with this performance as Oxford genuinely made life difficult for the holders and Premier League champions, not by trying to knock City out of their stride physically but by playing their own game.
Inevitably, the gulf in class was decisive but the fact that Guardiola introduced Ilkay Gundogan and Gabriel Jesus as Oxford applied pressure was a tribute to the home side's display.
Oxford's performance was better than the somewhat timid effort in last season's 3-0 EFL Cup loss here and they were just starting to believe when Sterling stepped up to snuff out their hopes of a shock.
They had 18 shots in total - the most City have faced in any single match under Guardiola.
Robinson's side can return to their promotion pursuit - and a League One home meeting with leaders Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday - with their heads held high.
Man of the match - Raheem Sterling
'What could have been' - what they said
Oxford United manager Karl Robinson, speaking to Sky Sports: "I was frustrated. I didn't expect to say that. I thought we were disciplined, took them on in a game they are best at and we were brave in the press for a team so young.
"I am really pleased with the players but my last thought tonight will be 'what could have been'. We were lacking good finishing, that is it. I don't think the goalkeeper made good saves - most of them were at him.
"I don't think we quite believed those chances would drop to us. They have scored two goals on the break but I hope all the fans can wake up tomorrow and say they enjoyed watching Oxford United last night. It will be something that I will never forget."
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola: "Nervous is not the word. Oxford United pushed and played so well, a lot of good chances. They are strong, they work well in these situations. They sustain attacks very well. We have reached the semi-final for three years in a row.
"A lot with the ball was brilliant, without the ball they [his players] defended incredibly. I congratulate them because they were extraordinary. It was really tough conditions. Winter is here, we saw it in the warm up.
"The young players were really good. Zinchenko was back for 90 minutes, Angelino was in a position he's not used to. A good result and now a semi-final."
Unbeaten in the cup - the best of the stats
- Manchester City are unbeaten in 15 EFL Cup matches (W11 D4), the longest run in this competition since Chelsea went 18 games without defeat between 2004-2008 - though Chelsea were eliminated via penalties during that run.
- Two of Oxford United's past three home defeats in domestic cup competitions have come against Manchester City, also losing at home to them in last season's EFL Cup third round.
- Matty Taylor's equaliser for Oxford United came just 21 seconds into the second half - each of his past four EFL Cup goals have been scored against Premier League opposition (also Stoke, Crystal Palace and West Ham).
- Phil Foden has registered an assist in each of his past three appearances for Manchester City, all in the past seven days (Dinamo Zagreb, Arsenal and Oxford) - he had four assists in total for the club prior to these matches.
- Cancelo scored his first goal in 32 appearances in all club competitions, last netting for Juventus against Lazio in Serie A.
Oxford United welcome League One leaders Wycombe Wanderers to the Kassam Stadium on Saturday, 21 December (15:00 GMT kick-off).
Manchester City take on second-placed Leicester City in the Premier League on the same day (17:30 GMT kick-off) hoping to keep their faint title hopes alive.
- 16BaptisteSubstituted forMousinhoat 87'minutes
- 23AgyeiSubstituted forSykesat 57'minutes
- 9TaylorSubstituted forMackieat 75'minutes
- 16RodriSubstituted forGündoganat 59'minutes
- 20Bernardo Silva
- 7SterlingSubstituted forBernabéat 76'minutes
- 12AngelinoSubstituted forGabriel Jesusat 62'minutes
- 9Gabriel Jesus
- Andy Madley
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Oxford United 1, Manchester City 3.
Bernardo Silva (Manchester City) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Mark Sykes (Oxford United).
Attempt blocked. Josh Ruffels (Oxford United) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Tariqe Fosu-Henry.
Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Elliott Moore.
Attempt blocked. João Cancelo (Manchester City) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Riyad Mahrez.
Attempt missed. Josh Ruffels (Oxford United) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right.
Attempt saved. Tariqe Fosu-Henry (Oxford United) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Mark Sykes.
Substitution, Oxford United. John Mousinho replaces Shandon Baptiste.
Attempt saved. Mark Sykes (Oxford United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Cameron Brannagan.
Attempt missed. Jamie Mackie (Oxford United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Alex Rodriguez with a headed pass.
Attempt blocked. Cameron Brannagan (Oxford United) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.
Attempt missed. Tariqe Fosu-Henry (Oxford United) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Shandon Baptiste.
Attempt saved. Robert Dickie (Oxford United) header from very close range is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Cameron Brannagan with a cross.
Corner, Oxford United. Conceded by Adrián Bernabé.
Corner, Oxford United. Conceded by Taylor Harwood-Bellis.
Attempt blocked. Jamie Mackie (Oxford United) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.
Attempt blocked. Tariqe Fosu-Henry (Oxford United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Cameron Brannagan.
Foul by Phil Foden (Manchester City).
Cameron Brannagan (Oxford United) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Corner, Manchester City. Conceded by Sam Long.
Substitution, Manchester City. Adrián Bernabé replaces Raheem Sterling.
Attempt missed. Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Taylor Harwood-Bellis.
Substitution, Oxford United. Jamie Mackie replaces Matty Taylor.
João Cancelo (Manchester City) hits the right post with a right footed shot from the right side of the box. Assisted by Phil Foden.
Goal! Oxford United 1, Manchester City 3. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City) right footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Gabriel Jesus.
Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Shandon Baptiste (Oxford United).
Offside, Manchester City. Ilkay Gündogan tries a through ball, but Riyad Mahrez is caught offside.
Attempt missed. Tariqe Fosu-Henry (Oxford United) right footed shot from the left side of the box is high and wide to the right following a corner.
Corner, Oxford United. Conceded by Oleksandr Zinchenko.
Substitution, Manchester City. Gabriel Jesus replaces Angeliño.
Attempt missed. Mark Sykes (Oxford United) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the right following a corner.
Corner, Oxford United. Conceded by Claudio Bravo.
Attempt saved. Tariqe Fosu-Henry (Oxford United) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Cameron Brannagan.
Substitution, Manchester City. Ilkay Gündogan replaces Rodrigo.
Foul by Angeliño (Manchester City).
Mark Sykes (Oxford United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Substitution, Oxford United. Mark Sykes replaces Daniel Agyei.