Kevin de Bruyne made his return to competitive football for the first time since August as Manchester City began their defence of the FA Cup with a comfortable victory against Huddersfield Town at Etihad Stadium.
De Bruyne, who has been sidelined with a hamstring injury, came on in the second half as two goals from Phil Foden as well as strikes by Julian Alvarez, Jeremy Doku and a Ben Jackson own goal sent Pep Guardiola’s side into the fourth round.
Manchester City won the trophy last year as part of an epic Treble-winning season and few gave Huddersfield – 21st in the Championship – much chance of causing an upset.
The visitors kept out their opponents for 33 minutes with some determined defending but City always looked capable of going through the gears and they opened the scoring when Foden drove home from inside the box after Alvarez’s shot was blocked.
Alvarez then got on the scoresheet after the hosts carved open the Huddersfield defence with some intricate passing before the Argentina forward’s deft finish rolled into the net.
A dinked pass intended for De Bruyne from the impressive Oscar Bobb then deflected off Jackson and looped into the net early in the second half before Foden smashed in his second.
Doku, also making his return from injury, got the hosts’ fifth when he swept home with Huddersfield goalkeeper Lee Nicholls stranded.
There were chants of “we want 10” from some home supporters, with older fans perhaps reminiscing about the 10-1 win City enjoyed against Huddersfield in 1987.
That never looked likely and, to the Terriers’ credit, they fought hard and defended well at times against a City side capable of tearing apart almost any team at any level.