Houllier left to regret making numerous changes to his side
Roberto Mancini's side will now host Reading, who managed to knock Everton out of the competition on Monday evening, in the last 16.
Gerard Houllier opted to rest two key players - Stewart Downing and Ashley Young - for the clash and the Frenchman may be forced to explain his reasoning, considering the manner of his side's defeat at Eastlands.
City started the game the better and after a free-flowing move which included some delightful passing, Ciaran Clark put the ball behind for a corner.
From the resulting corner, Patrick Vieira’s header appeared to brush the arm of Clark but before City could appeal for a penalty, Yaya Toure pounced on the loose ball and volleyed home from six yards.
Villa responded to their early setback twice as Gabriel Agbonlahor and Barry Bannan both went close. The Scot had another opportunity minutes later when Nathan Delfouneso raced down the right and cut the ball back to Bannan, but his volleyed effort sailed over the bar.
City got their second of the game in the 25th minute when Toure chipped the ball over the Villa defence which Balotelli raced onto, and the Italian made no mistake as his side-footed half-volley left Brad Friedel with little chance.
Houllier’s had a decent chance to get a way back into the game when Emile Heskey ran at the City defence, cut inside and unleashed a powerful effort at goal. Joe Hart was equal to it though but the goalkeeper's parry was fortunate not to fall to anyone in a Villa shirt.
Villa had a decent spell of possession before the break but failed to make any clear-cut chances. The closest came from Agbonlahor, whose mazy run into the City box was emphatically stopped by Joleon Lescott.
Balotelli continued to live up to his growing reputation after he appeared to elbow Chris Herd in the face. Referee Mark Clattenburg, who failed to take action against Wayne Rooney for a similar incident at the weekend, only booked the Italian and the striker was hauled off moments later.
City could have ended the tie just after the hour mark when Vieira’s goal-bound header from Aleksandar Kolarov’s corner was cleared off the line by Fabian Delph.
Mancini’s side were not to be denied though and they got their third goal in the 70th minute when Silva picked up Herd’s headed clearance just outside the box and rifled a powerful effort into Freidel’s left-hand corner.
The home-side could have added another, moments later when a scramble outside the box presented Kolarov with a chance to strike at goal but his left-footed shot went just wide.The tie petered out with City enjoying another flurry of half-chances and a comfortable amount of possession. For Houllier, a respectable league finish may act as due compensation for Villa fans, who had to endure watching their side struggle without their key players.
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