City gained sweet revenge over Chelsea with a tactically superb 2-0 win over Jose Mourinho’s side at the Etihad Stadium.
The Blues out-thought, out-played and out-fought the West Londoners to progress to the FA Cup quarter-finals and move within one win of yet another Wembley appearance.
For the time being, however, it was domestic cup matters that dominated the thoughts of Manuel Pellegrini's side and it was soon clear that the Blues felt they had something of a score to settle in this tie.
With the painful Premier League defeat to Chelsea still fresh in the memory, City were still reeling from a loss that had left question-marks in the media about their ability to win any silverware, let alone the quadruple of title still up for grabs.
It was imperative the hosts started this game well and, if possible, found the back of the net early on, too. That, more than anything else semed to be the key to beating Mourinho's side.
The failure to breach the Chelsea defence in the previous meeting, despite a bright start, eventually proved costly with the Pensioners battening down the hatches after breaking the deadlock and seeing out a 1-0 win - but this time it would be different.
Neither side changed their formation from that encounter with Pellegrini defiantly asking why he should change a system that had proved so successful and brought a hatful of goals already this season
...City 2 Chelsea 0...
The manager had complete faith in his players and the blueprint they played to and break-through City craved nearly came as early as the 15th minute when a powerful Yaya Toure drive was spilled by Petr Cech and Jovetic, first to the loose ball, clipped the bar as Cech closed him down.
But it wasn’t long before the majority of the sell-out crowd were on their feet celebrating - less than two minutes later, in fact.
A swift counter-attack by City saw the ball find its way to Edin Dzeko who spotted Jovetic racing forward on his right. The Bosnian fed the Montenegrin and the former Fiorentina man finished with a superb low drive that went in off Cech’s far post.
It was no more than the Blues deserved and the landscape of the game changed immediately – the visitors would now have to be more ambitious than waiting patiently for the occasional thrust forward
...City 2 Chelsea 0...
City came close to doubling the lead a minute before the break as the livewire James Milner raced clear down the right before drilling a low cross into the six-yard box that just evaded the outstretched boot of the hard-working Dzeko and had he connected, it would have given the half-time score a more realistic look.
It was proving a fascinating battle of wits between two of the best teams in the Premier League with roles reversed from the clash 12 days earlier. Now questions were being asked of Mourinho and his tactics – how would he respond to being behind? A flurry of attacking substitions was the answer, but it changed little.
City were defending stoutly, marshalled by the outstanding Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott with the gaps that had been exposed previously plugged by a combination of Yaya Toure and the equally impressive Javi Garcia.
All the Blues needed was a second goal to make the game relatively safe and on 68 minutes, the Etihad erupted following a move that had class written all over it
...City 2 Chelsea 0...
With the returning Nasri afforded a standing ovation as he came on as a second-half substitute just past the hour-mark, the Frenchman showed his legion of admirers what they’d been missing with a goal worthy of any stage in world football – barely six minutes after coming on.
He collected the ball outside the box, played in David Silva who returned the ball with a clever reverse ball that gave Nasri, who sprinyed into the six-yard box for a simple tap-in and the game was as good as over.
Two magicians on the same wavelength had pulled a rabbit out of the hat at just the right moment.
Solid in defence, industrious in midfield and inventive up front, this was close to a perfect display by Pellegrini’s men and there were terrific performances all over the pitch as City proved that when they are on song, few teams can resist their advances.
There was still time for the impressive Lescott to have a goal harshly ruled out for offside but tellingly, Chelsea failed to muster a single shot on target of any real note during the entire 90 minutes and it is the Manchester Blues who now forge ahead into the last eight of the FA Cup.
Now for Messi and company!