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Carabao Cup

Semi-Final First Leg: Review

10 January 2018

The Carabao Cup entered its Semi-Final stage this week, with fixtures on Tuesday and Wednesday night. Here's the review...

Manchester City will take a one-goal advantage back to Ashton Gate, following a late 2-1 win over Bristol City at the Etihad Stadium.

The Robins, who have already knocked out four Premier League sides en route to the last four, gave their all and excelled in the first half. They got their just rewards when Bobby Reid converted from the penalty spot, after John Stones had brought down the forward in the box.

Aden Flint’s brilliant clearance from under the bar denied Raheem Sterling an immediate response, while Frankie Fielding made a fine save from the same player to preserve the 1-0 lead.

However, City responded quickly after the break, with captain Kevin de Bruyne starting and finishing a move with an emphatic finish 10 minutes into the second half.

It wasn’t all one-way traffic after that, but Pep Guardiola's side went in search of victory. With just moments remaining, Bernardo Silva curled in a teasing cross for substitute Sergio Aguero to rise highest and head home, earning the four-time champions the narrowest of triumphs at the Etihad.

The return leg at Ashton Gate will take place on Tuesday 23rd January.

Nothing could separate Chelsea and Arsenal on Wednesday evening, as the two sides played out a 0-0 draw in their clash.

The Gunners created the game's first good opening when Alexandre Lacazette fired wide following a pass from Jack Wilshere. Victor Moses then saw two efforts saved in quick succession by visiting goalkeeper David Ospina.

Both teams had opportunities in the closing stages of the first half, with Arsenal's Alex Iwobi drawing a fine stop out of Thibaut Courtois, before Cesc Fabregas headed the ball straight at Ospina, following a cross from Cesar Azpilicueta.

Antonio Conte's men started brightly in the second half, and went close through Alvaro Morata, who ensured Arsenal's Colombian 'keeper had more work to do.

There was some work for the VAR too, which was used in EFL competition for the first time. Referee Martin Atkinson seeked confirmation on three contentious penalty decisions, all of which were proved correct by the new technology.

A deflected Fabregas cross then almost broke the deadlock late on, but goalless is how proceedings would finish, in what was a tight affair.

The return leg at the Emirates Stadium will take place on Wednesday 24th January.

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