By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer at Eastlands
Manchester City deservedly sealed a place in the Carling Cup semi-final against arch-rivals Manchester United after beating a youthful Arsenal side at vibrant Eastlands.
Carlos Tevez's spectacular strike five minutes after half-time put City on the path into the last four and a stunning angled drive from Shaun Wright-Phillips sealed the victory for Mark Hughes' side.
Substitute Vladimir Weiss wrapped up City's triumph with an emphatic finish a minute from time and rounded off a miserable night for Arsenal and manager Arsene Wenger.
City had the better of an encounter that failed to touch the heights - but their jubilant fans were in no mood to complain as they celebrated a win that moves them a step closer to a first Wembley cup final in 28 years.
For Arsenal boss Wenger, it was more disappointment as his traditionally revamped Carling Cup side crashed to defeat just days after his more familiar line-up was dismantled by Chelsea at the Emirates.
And his disappointment was demonstrated when he pointedly refused to shake hands with opposite number Hughes at the final whistle - an action that left the City boss accusing his Arsenal counterpart of being ungracious in defeat.
Wenger, without a trophy since the FA Cup win against Manchester United in Cardiff in 2005, saw his much-heralded youngsters eventually overpowered by City as the opportunity to advance to a major final was sacrificed in favour of giving experience to his emerging talent.
It was a game that had little of the bitterness and recrimination that scarred the Premier League collision between the pair earlier this season, but one that was always destined to have the same outcome once Tevez put City in front.
City attempted to add drama to an already charged atmosphere by dimming the floodlights at Eastlands and beaming a giant "Blue Moon" on to the darkened stands as the club anthem reverberated around the stadium.
Sadly, the early action itself did little to illuminate Eastlands as City dominated a scrappy first half that was predictably frantic but bereft of serious quality from either side.
Emmanuel Adebayor, inevitably, received a fierce reception from Arsenal's fans after he ran the length of the ground to celebrate a goal in front of them - and stamped on Robin van Persie - when Manchester City won 4-2 against the Gunners at Eastlands earlier this season.
But he almost silenced the taunts as early as the sixth minute when he rose unmarked to meet Gareth Barry's corner, only to head straight at Arsenal's stand-in keeper Lukasz Fabianski.
Arsenal, normally so fluid, were creating little although Jack Wilshere fashioned an opening for Carlos Vela which the striker lifted over the top.
Tevez went alone to create an opening after 33 minutes, but his effort was blocked by Fabianski as he drove deep into the Arsenal penalty area, while Emmanuel Eboue could only shoot straight at Shay Given after he escaped the attentions of the City defence.
Arsenal's last anxious moment of the first period came when Alex Song headed Barry's free-kick just over his own bar.
Arsenal's Jack Wilshere tussles for possession on a difficult night
It looked like only a mistake or a moment of magic would unlock the stalemate - and Tevez provided the latter to give City a lead they deserved on the balance of play after 50 minutes.
Tomas Rosicky carelessly conceded possession to a combination of Tevez and Craig Bellamy in a dangerous area, and the Argentine cut inside Eboue and Song before curling a perfect finish high beyond the reach of Fabianski to send Eastlands into ecstasy.
As Arsenal rocked, Bellamy almost set up a second for Adebayor, but he could only shoot off target on the stretch as he came under pressure from Fabianski.
Arsenal needed to deliver a response, and Aaron Ramsey wasted a good chance to put Wenger's side level when he got under Fran Merida's cross and headed over.
Wenger made a change after 67 minutes, sending on Sanchez Watt for Craig Eastmond in an attempt to force the equaliser Arsenal needed, but the plan was foiled as City doubled their lead within seconds.
Wright-Phillips broke down the right flank in the face of a challenge from the sluggish Mikael Silvestre before lashing a rising drive past the helpless Fabianski.
The lively Bellamy saw a close-range shot blocked by Fabianski as City went in search of third goal, and it arrived in the dying moments when the Wales striker crossed for Weiss to arrive unmarked and power home his finish off the underside of the bar.
There was still time for Fran Merida to strike the bar for a subdued Arsenal - but this was Manchester City's night and Eastlands revelled in the victory at the final whistle as the home side reached their first domestic cup competition semi-final since 1981.
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