Manchester City lifted their third Carabao Cup in succession on Sunday evening as they beat Premier League rivals Aston Villa 2-1 at Wembley Stadium.
Sergio Aguero kept up his excellent scoring record against the Villains by notching the opening strike in the 20th minute of the match. It took just ten minutes for City to get their second as midfielder Rodri headed in powerfully from a corner. Mbwana Samatta reduced the deficit for Villa just before half-time with his second goal for the club since arriving in January.
Dean Smith’s men continued to push for an equaliser throughout what was a pulsating tie under the arch but once again Manchester City ran out victors as their period of glory continues under Pep Guardiola.
Aguero on the scoresheet
Despite being touted as huge underdogs before the game, Villa actually started very well. Anwar El Ghazi should have opened the scoring early on but lifted a headed effort over the bar.
He would soon regret that miss as City begun to dominate and eventually took the lead through Aguero. Rodri did excellently to spin a ball in behind for Foden, who nodded the it across the face of goal to the Argentine striker. He struck clinically with a bouncing finish into the far corner of the net.
Foden went close to then doubling the advantage himself as his curling effort was deflected behind.
Controversial corner costs Villa but hope restored
They did not have to wait much longer to score again but this time in controversial circumstances. Having been awarded a corner that maybe should have been given Aston Villa’s way, Rodri leapt highest in plenty of room to plant a firm header into the back of the net.
Dean Smith’s men struggled to find any kind of a foothold throughout the first-half, that was until Samatta reduced the deficit. John Stones failed to correctly deal with a lifted ball in-behind, giving El Ghazi the chance to cross. With a brilliant diving header, Samatta reached the ball and powered it into the bottom corner.
The second-half took a familiar pattern to the first, with City looking for more goals. It took a low stop from Orjan Nyland to stop Rodri adding another to his tally as he again reached a dangerous corner. Aguero also went close to doubling his afternoon’s work but volleyed a powerful shot into the side-netting.
The longer City went without netting their third, the more encouragement Villa got. They went so close to equalising in the final few minutes as Bjorn Engels saw his header from a corner tipped onto the post by Manchester City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo.
His opposite number Nyland also had to be on top form to deny substitute Bernardo Silva a late goal but they only needed the one-goal margin as they again secured the League Cup – the seventh in the club’s history in all.
Villa put up a fight and that is a remarkable thing to suggest after the final was made to look like a formality following Rodri’s goal. In all though, Manchester City deserved to win the trophy. They created some of the clearer opportunities and but for some better finishing, it could have been a far more convincing and emphatic scoreline.
Aston Villa: Nyland (7); Targett (6), Mings (6), Engels (6), Guilbert (6); Luiz (6), Nakamba (5); El Ghazi (6) (Hourihane (6), 70′), Grealish (5), Elmohamady (6) (Trezeguet (5), 70′); Samatta (7) (Davis (N/A), 80′).
Manchester City: Bravo (7); Zinchenko (6), Fernandinho (7), Stones (5), Walker (6); D. Silva (7) (B. Silva (N/A), 76′), Rodri (7), Gundogan (6) (De Bruyne (7), 58′); Foden (7), Aguero (7) (Jesus (N/A), 84′), Sterling (6).
Goals: Aguero (20′), Rodri (30′), Samatta (41′)
Referee: Lee Mason
Yellow Cards: Sterling (57′), Rodri (60′), Elmohamady (68′), Nakamba (72′), Mings (90+3′)
Red Cards: N/A
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