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Carabao Cup

Match report: Carabao Cup Final

It was Manchester City's day at Wembley, despite a spirited display from Aston Villa under the famous arch...

1 March 2020

Manchester City were victorious in the Carabao Cup Final for the third successive season, beating Aston Villa 2-1 in an action-packed match at Wembley Stadium on Sunday.

Villa came out of the blocks quickly but found themselves 2-0 behind with half an hour played, following goals from Sergio Aguero and Rodri. They hit back, though, just before the break, as Mbwana Samatta headed home to give his side a lifeline.

Dean Smith's side so nearly took the game to extra-time in the closing stages, as Bjorn Engels saw a header coming crashing back off the post, but it wasn't to be their day.

In winning at Wembley to claim their seventh League Cup, City became just the second team to win the competition for three years in a row.

Ahead of the game, and following their midweek trip to Real Madrid, Pep Guardiola chose to name the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva and Riyad Mahrez on the bench, handing a start to young Phil Foden in midfield. 

Villa's XI saw Orjan Nyland favoured in goal over the experienced Pepe Reina, with captain Jack Grealish leading out his boyhood club. 

The Citizens went into the game as strong favourites, but it was Villa who started the game more brightly, roared on by the West End of Wembley which was a sea of claret and blue.

With both sides - through Anwar El Ghazi and Aguero respectively - seeing half-chances missed in the opening exchanges, the first real chance didn't arrive until almost mid-way through the first half. But one chance was all the Argentine needed.

A clipped, diagonal ball from Rodri stretched the Villa defence and found Foden, who side-footed it into Aguero's path, and the striker did the rest, finishing beyond Nyland to put the holders in front.

Five minutes later, Foden almost went from provider to scorer, taking down a pass from Oleksandr Zinchenko with sublime technique before checking back and firing narrowly wide with the help of a deflection. 

Soon enough, though, it was two, with the influential Rodri getting a goal which his start to the game had deserved. His tall frame had stood out in the middle of the park in the opening half an hour, and it showed again from a corner, as he rose highest to power home a header.

City were well and truly in the ascendency, and Villa defender Tyrone Mings was called into action to prevent them making it 3-0 before the break. Again Foden was involved, picking up a pass on the right and finding Raheem Sterling, who couldn't find the net from inside the area.

It proved a crucial moment, too, as Villa got themselves back into the game through Samatta four minutes before the break, to give themselves hope.

A mistake from Foden allowed El Ghazi the chance to cross from the left and, exactly a month on from becoming the first Tanzanian to score in the Premier League, Samatta produced a diving header to make yet more history at Wembley.

It was a goal which gave Villa and their fans a timely lift, as they went in 2-1 down at the half-time.

After the interval, City came out intent on restoring their two-goal cushion, and almost did so through Foden, whose effort bounced up off the turf and inches wide, with Nyland diving desperately to his left. 

With just over half an hour remaining, Guardiola introduced De Bruyne from the bench in place of Gundogan, and he immediately saw plenty of the ball. But, as time passed without a goal at either end, hope remained for Villa. 

Both managers were now rooted to the very edge of their respective techical areas, and Dean Smith was next to roll the dice, bringing on the man who fired Villa to the Final, Trezeguet, as well as Conor Hourihane.

With the clock ticking down, City - and Rodri - almost found the net again, as he rose to meet a corner once more, but this time Nyland produced a fine save to palm the ball away. De Bruyne then tried his luck, but uncharacteristically mis-fired.

City pressed for a third, with Aguero hitting the side-netting on the volley, but there was to be no way through. Ultimately, they had once again proved the ones to beat in the Carabao Cup, and held on to claim the trophy, despite Engels' agonising late chance that was tipped onto the woodwork.

Congratulations to Guardiola and his side!

Aston Villa: Nyland; Guilbert, Engels, Mings, Targett; Nakamba; Elmohamady (Trezeguet 70'), Luiz, Grealish, El Ghazi (Hourihane 70'); Samatta.

Subs not used: Taylor, Lansbury, Konsa, Reina, Davis.

Booked: Elmohamady, Nakamba.

Scorers: Samatta (41').


Manchester City: Bravo; Walker, Stones, Fernandinho, Zinchenko; Rodri, Gündoğan (De Bruyne 58'); Foden, David Silva (Bernardo 76'), Sterling; Agüero (Jesus 83').

Subs not used: Ederson, Mendy, Mahrez, Otamendi.

Booked: Sterling, Rodri.

Scorers: Aguero (20'), Rodri (30').


Attendance: 82,149.

Man of the Match and Alan Hardaker Trophy winner: Phil Foden 

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