Manchester City retained the Carabao Cup with a 4-3 penalty shootout victory over Chelsea at Wembley Stadium on Sunday evening.
It was a dire match at Wembley with both teams really struggling to create chances throughout the whole game. It headed into extra-time and the headlines were written by Chelsea stopper Kepa after he refused to be withdrawn ahead of the penalty shootout. Jorginho and David Luiz missed for Chelsea, whilst Raheem Sterling netted the decisive spot to secure the trophy for Pep Guardiola.
It was a tight opening period at Wembley, with both sides struggling to create clear-cut opportunities. The first major incident was a contentious one as N’Golo Kante attempted to run beyond the Manchester City defence but appeared to be nudged by Oleksandr Zinchenko. Chelsea fans called for a red card but Jon Moss was unmoved.
Chances were at a premium in the first-half but Sergio Aguero, who scored a hat-trick the last time the two sides met, looked the most likely to open the scoring. He blazed one effort over the bar from inside the penalty area before forcing a low shot out of Kepa in the Blues’ goal.
Aguero strike ruled out
The Argentine thought he had finally found the net after the restart as he swivelled and fired home Nicolas Otamendi’s attempted strike. However, a combination of the linesman and VAR ensured the goal was chalked off.
Chelsea had arguably their best chance of the game midway through the second-half as Eden Hazard was released behind the Manchester City defence. He danced past Kompany, who had replaced the injured Aymeric Laporte at half-time, and pulled the ball back to the advanced Kante. The Frenchman, however, could not keep his effort down as he blazed the ball high over the crossbar.
The Blues played much better in the second-half and with full-time approaching, Hazard again ran behind the defence. The Belgian though was halted by the linesman’s flag.
Extra-time and penalties beckon
With neither side able to break the deadlock, the match headed into extra-time and Manchester City missed chances to finally confirm victory. Sterling picked out Aguero with an excellent cut-back but a good save from Kepa kept the scores level.
The Spaniard then halted another effort from Aguero as Pep Guardiola’s men counter-attacked in the closing stages of extra-time. There were then further extraordinary scenes as Kepa appeared to get injured, with Maurizio Sarri selecting Willy Caballero to come onto the field. However, the Chelsea stopper refused to go off, leaving the Italian boss incensed.
The penalty shootout started perfectly for the holders as Jorginho produced a poor kick that was easily saved by Ederson, with Ilkay Gundogan netting his spotkick. Cesar Azpilicueta, Aguero and Emerson all scored before Leroy Sane had his effort palmed away by Kepa. David Luiz then slammed a low shot against the post, whilst Bernardo Silva dispatched his effort confidently down the middle. Eden Hazard chipped a cheeky effort beyond Ederson. Despite that, Sterling had the chance to win the cup and he did just that with a tremendous strike.
Manchester City probably shaded the majority of the chances throughout the game. However, the Blues were improved in the second period and provided the Citizens with a huge challenge. The headlines will surely go to the conflict between Kepa and Sarri. In the end, City secured a deserved win and can now turn their attentions to their pursuit of further silverware in the Premier League, UEFA Champions League and FA Cup.
Chelsea: Kepa (7); Emerson (6), Rudiger (7), Luiz (6), Azpilicueta (7); Barkley (6) (Loftus-Cheek (6), 89′), Jorginho (6), Kante (7); Pedro (6) (Hudson-Odoi (6), 79′), Hazard (7), Willian (6) (Higuain (6), 96′).
Manchester City: Ederson (7); Zinchenko (6), Laporte (6) (Kompany (6), 46′), Otamendi (7), Walker (6); D. Silva (6) (Gundogan (6), 79′), Fernandinho (7) (Danilo (6), 91′), De Bruyne (6) (Sane (6), 86′); Sterling (6), Aguero (7), B. Silva (6).
Referee: Jon Moss
Yellow Cards: Luiz (30′), Fernandinho (58′), Rudiger (72′), Jorginho (88′), Otamendi (90+1′)
Red Cards: N/A
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