The sides shared seven goals in a thrilling encounter, but thanks to Lloyd Dyer’s last-minute strike, City deservedly prevailed to book their spot in Wednesday’s quarter-final draw.
Fulham’s Hugo Rodallega opened the scoring in the first half, but two quick-fire strikes from Wes Morgan and Chris Wood soon had City ahead by the 45-minute mark.
A frenetic start to the second half saw City extend their lead through Ignasi Miquel, but just a minute later Rodallega headed in a second to pull it back to 3-2.
A Giorgios Karagounis free kick levelled things with five minutes to go, but Dyer was on hand to save the day and maintain City eight-game winning run at home when he turned in David Nugent’s cross at the death.
“I don’t like conceding three goals but I really enjoy scoring four,” said the manager at final whistle. The most important thing tonight was going through to the next round. We thought we had a chance, and that proved to be the case.
“I think the bottom line tonight was the fact that we made a few changes and it was important for our players to go out and enjoy the game for what it was.
“We’ve earned the right by negotiating three rounds prior, which people may have expected us to win. Tonight maybe for the first time we’ve been the underdogs, but we were still able to go through.
“It was a good game. I think both managers can pick the bones out of certain aspects, but certainly both teams tried to win it.
“I’m sure they would look at the end of the first half and say, having been 1-0 up, to go 2-1 down was a bit of a surprise. For us to then go 3-1 up and concede straight afterwards meant it remained a very tight game.
“It was good for us to see it through. It was an added bonus to progress, but the league remains the most important for us. That said, we don’t take any cup competition lightly, it remains an important fixture for us and we’ve been able to go through tonight.
“It’s always enjoyable at the end when you win it. At times it wasn’t the easiest game but it was very enjoyable. There were a few goals which is a bit unusual here. Personally I’d rather win games 1-0, but 4-3 will do me nicely.”