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Carabao Cup

'Proud' Dean Smith hails Aston Villa players

The Aston Villa boss was full of pride after Tuesday night’s last-gasp win at Villa Park to reach the Carabao Cup Final at Wembley Stadium.

29 January 2020

Boyhood fan and Aston Villa manager Dean Smith was a proud man following his side’s 2-1 victory over Leicester City in the Carabao Cup Semi-Final second leg, as Villa reached the Carabao Cup Final for the first time since 2010.

Smith has been an Aston Villa supporter long before he became the club’s manager and, speaking after the game he admitted that he struggled to hide his emotions when Egyptian winger Trezeguet netted in the 93rd minute to seal the victory and book a third trip to Wembley in as many seasons. 
“I’ve composed myself now, but I certainly let myself go when we scored that goal with two minutes to go,” Smith said. 
“I’m proud of the players and the performance, I thought we made it an entertaining game.
"Villa Park is a very special place, I knew the atmosphere would be at fear pitch and it was. We know how good Leicester are and have been this season, it was a really good game to watch and I think the player lived up to the billing of the game this was.”
Matt Targett put Villa ahead early in the first-half, but Kelechi Iheanacho’s second-half equaliser looked to have sent the game to a penalty shootout, before substitute Trezeguet converted an inch-perfect cross from Ahmed Elmohamady with just two minutes of stoppage time to play. 
Victory however was partly down to a man of the match performance from goalkeeper Orjan Nyland, who pulled off a number of outstanding first-half saves to keep Leicester at bay. 
“Orjan was always going to play in this game,” Smith continued. 
“He’s showed me what he’s about. He’s certainly given me a conundrum for Wembley but that’s exactly what I want.”
Villa are aiming to win the League Cup for the sixth time in their history, with Dean Smith hoping to put an end to a 24-year wait without a domestic trophy. 
“Tonight’s win means an awful lot. We’ve got a proud history in this competition and if we could go and lift the trophy for the sixth time for this club, then I’ll be a very proud man.”

Aston Villa will learn their Wembley opponents on Wednesday night when Manchester City take on Manchester United at the Etihad in the second Semi-Final. City go into the game with a 3-1 lead on aggregate, looking to make a third consecutive Final. 
Coverage for tonight’s second Semi-Final at the Etihad Stadium will be available via @Carabao_Cup on Twitter and @TheCarabaoCup on Instagram, kick-off 7.45pm. 

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