Manchester City teenager Brahim Diaz scored in each half to earn the League Cup holders a 2-0 win over Fulham and a place in the quarter-finals on Thursday, although midfielder Kevin De Bruyne hobbled off injured at the Etihad Stadium.
Spain Under-21 midfielder Diaz scored his first senior goal for the club after 18 minutes and added his second in the 65th to secure a place in the next round away to Leicester City or Southampton, who play their rescheduled tie on Nov. 27.
The one worrying note for City, who made 10 changes from Monday’s Premier League win at Tottenham Hotspur, was the injury to De Bruyne who had to come off late on nursing his left knee after tangling with Fulham’s Timothy Fosu-Mensah.
The 19-year-old Diaz had put City ahead with a shot that deflected off Fulham striker Aleksandar Mitrovic past keeper Sergio Rico after Vincent Kompany had kneed the ball down.
Diaz, making his 14th City appearance and his third start in all competitions, doubled the lead by firing high into the net after Gabriel Jesus saw his shot turned onto the post by Rico.
“We will do absolutely everything to keep him with us,” City manager Pep Guardiola said of Diaz, whose contract runs out next year. “We want him, but at the end it doesn’t depend on us.”
De Bruyne, who has only just returned from an injury to his right knee, got caught up with Fosu-Mensah near the corner flag in the 86th minute and the Fulham defender fell heavily on the Belgian international who tried to carry on but had to go off.
“He has been checked in with the doctor. I don’t know if it’s nothing or something serious,” Guardiola said of De Bruyne, who suffered a knee ligament injury in training in August.
“I think today Kevin is back. The Kevin we know,” he added of the midfielder who started last week’s Champions League win over Shakhtar Donetsk and came on at Tottenham.
“He made a huge effort against Shakhtar, played a few minutes against Spurs in difficult conditions.
“Today he was involved in offence and defence, hopefully what happened in the last minute is not serious.”
City must wait to find out their quarter-final opponents after Leicester’s game with Southampton on Tuesday was postponed following the death of the club’s owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha in a helicopter crash outside the King Power Stadium on Oct. 27.