City score seven in FA Cup stroll, Oldham knock out Fulham

LONDON (AFP) – Premier League champions Manchester City began their FA Cup campaign with a 7-0 thrashing of Rotherham on Sunday night but Fulham, battling to avoid relegation from English football’s top-flight, were beaten 2-1 by fourth-tier Oldham.

Barnet ensured there would be a non-league presence in the fourth round with a 1-0 win away to second-tier Championship club Sheffield United.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola may have made eight changes from the team that beat Premier League leaders Liverpool on Thursday but still fielded a strong side for the visit of Championship side Rotherham, with Raheem Sterling, Riyad Mahrez and Gabriel Jesus all starting as playmaker Kevin De Bruyne returned from injury.

Sterling made it 1-0 in the 12th minute and City then scored twice in the closing stages of the first half.

Phil Foden, the England Under-21 international, got on the end of a cross from Ilkay Gundogan in the 43rd minute to score his first home goal for City before Rotherham defender Semi Ajayi turned the ball into his own net.

Manchester City players celebrate. – AP

Jesus made it 4-0 early in the second half before Mahrez, Nicolas Otamendi and Leroy Sane added further goals.

“We are going to try and do well in every competition we play in,” Guardiola told the BBC.

Turning to Foden, he added, “He missed some simple passes and he needs to be solid but he is young. When he attacks the central defenders he is incredible.”

Denis Odoi put Fulham ahead in the 52nd minute at Craven Cottage but Sam Sturridge drew Oldham level with a penalty before Callum Lang’s header two minutes from time sealed a comeback win.

Daniel Iversen compounded Fulham’s misery by saving an Aleksandar Mitrovic penalty just moments earlier.

“It is Roy of the Rovers stuff,” said Oldham boss Pete Wild. “The character in the dressing room is phenomenal.”

Elsewhere, Barnet beat Championship high-flyers Sheffield United thanks to Shaquile Coulthirst’s 21st-minute penalty.

“It’s unbelievable – that’s the only word I have at the minute,” said Barnet captain Callum Reynolds after the north London club’s triumph.

“I mean they (Sheffield United) are third in the Championship and we beat them at their ground.”

Blades manager Chris Wilder blasted his side’s “arrogance”, insisting: “The fans should have booed the players louder.”

Watford manager Javi Gracia changed his entire starting side from the team that drew 3-3 at Bournemouth, with Venezuela forward Adalberto Penaranda making his Hornets debut at non-league Woking.

But hopes of Woking, 110 places adrift of the Hornets, enjoying a shock win suffered a setback when Will Hughes curled in a 13th-minute shot from the edge of the area.

Watford made it 2-0 16 minutes from time when Troy Deeney scored from close range.

“I was sure it was the best option for us (to change the side) because we knew it would be a demanding game,” Gracia told BT Sport.

Millwall came from a goal down to beat Championship rivals Hull 2-1, substitute Shane Ferguson scoring twice inside the closing eight minutes.

QPR defeated Championship leaders Leeds by the same scoreline, Jake Bidwell grabbing a 75th-minute winner for the west London club.