Manchester City continued their dominance of the League Cup by beating neighbours United 2-0 at Old Trafford to reach their fourth successful final.
Second half goals from John Stones and Fernandinho sealed City’s passage, and they now face Spurs at Wembley on 25th April as they look to equal Liverpool’s record of four successive triumphs in the competition.
It was an emotional night for the blues as both teams paid a silent tribute to City legend Colin Bell, who it was announced had sadly passed away on Tuesday. The win was a fitting tribute to the King of the Kippax, who scored a semi-final goal against United in 1970 when the blues won 4-3 on aggregate, before lifting the trophy with a 2-1 win over West Brom.
He blues wore the iconic City shirt of the 1970’s era that Bell had graced, and the blues put in another performance worthy of their fallen hero. City dominated the first half and had two goals disallowed for offside, and Kevin de Bruyne hit the woodwork with a thunderous shot that cannoned off the post and away before anyone could react.
City’s first disallowed goal came from Ilkay Gundogan who had just strayed offside before nudging the ball into the net, and the second was from Phil Foden, who will have been gutted that a strike against United had been chalked off. Foden was set clear and, with no flag from the linesman, the youngster raced forward and cooly finished, only for the flag to then go up.
United had a goal disallowed themselves when Marcus Rashford’s shot was parried by City keeper Zack Steffen and into the path of John Stones, and the ball rebounded into the goal, only for the defender’s blushes to be saved by the linesman’s flag. Ultimately, they came up against a City side that are currently relentless in their pursuit of more silverware. Bruno Fernandes, the man who has been the force behind United’s surge up the league was largely silenced, although he did force Steffen into a brilliant full length save.
City stepped it up after the break and opened the scoring from an unexpected source. Phil Foden’s free kick was met by the thighs of Stones and the ball nestled in the back of the net. City poured forward again in search of the killer second that would finish United off and when the magnificent Ruben Dias intercepted a pass, it began a counter-attack that almost undid the reds completely.
The blues stormed away from their own penalty area with such speed that United were chasing shadows. The ball was played out to Foden and his cross was met by the head of Raheem Sterling, but the United keeper Dean Henderson managed to keep it up with a fingertip save, and the keeper would also deny Riyad Mahrez when he tipped the Algerian’s shot over the bar.
City sealed their passage in the 83rd minute and this time, the keeper could do nothing about it. De Bruyne’s corner was headed out of defence, but only as far as Fernandinho, and the Brazilian hammered home a volley that left Henderson motionless and sent City to Wembley.
The blues saw out the final minutes of the match without any threat from United, who in fairness had fallen flat after the first goal. The blues now face Spurs at Wembley for the first time since their 1981 FA Cup Final replay, and the blues will look to avenge that defeat forty years later.
Final Score: Manchester United 0-2 Manchester City