Last night’s second of the two Carabao Cup semi-finals was certainly an interesting one, as two clubs outside of the perceived top six went toe to toe in the first leg of their two-legged encounter with the winner reaching Wembley. In a game that was actually much tighter than a lot of people were expecting it to be, Leicester City just about managed to come away with a draw after Aston Villa stepped up in a big way at the King Power Stadium.
Defying the odds
The first half was disciplined and impressive from Villa who have had to deal with an array of injury issues across the last few months. They were organised and compact and they got their reward for that when Frederic Guilbert found his way to the back post where he was able to meet a cross from Anwar El Ghazi that gave them the lead. They defended that lead with real confidence heading into half time, and even went close to claiming a second goal through Ezri Konsa’s header, ensuring that Leicester had to re-think their strategy.
As the second half drew on it was pretty clear to see a shift in the momentum of the game with Leicester imposing their overwhelming strength up top. Villa were holding on well but eventually, Kelechi Iheanacho was able to equalise with less than 20 minutes remaining which was exactly what the hosts deserved.
With an appearance from England manager Gareth Southgate being noted throughout the game it’ll be interesting to see how the boss felt about performances from the likes of Tyrone Mings, James Maddison, Ben Chilwell and Jack Grealish, with the latter being of particular interest following his strong start to the campaign.
The second leg is set to take place on Tuesday, January 28th which will certainly give these clubs a few weeks to take stock and evaluate exactly what they need to do in order to come back stronger. A place at Wembley is at stake here and while Villa have been fairly regular visitors to the home of English football across the last few years, the same cannot be said for Leicester who are going in search of their first final since back in 2000 when they last won the League Cup.
Leicester: Schmeichel (6), Fuchs (7), Evans (7), Soyuncu (6.5), Chilwell (6), Maddison (8), Tielemans (6), Praet (6), Pereira (7.5), Perez (6.5), Vardy (7), Albrighton (6), Choudhury (7), Iheanacho (7.5)
Aston Villa: Nyland (7.5), Ngoyo (6.5), Mings (7), Hause (7), Guilbert (8), Luiz (5.5), Nakamba (6.5), Taylor (6), Trezeguet (6.5), El Ghazi (7), Grealish (7), Vassilev (6), Lansbury (6), Hourihane (6)
Referee: Chris Kavanagh
Goals: Iheanacho :: Guilbert
Yellow Cards: Vardy, Konsa, El Ghazi
Red Cards: N/A
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