Manchester City will ace Tottenham at the Wembley tournament in April with the aim o winning the Carabao Cup or the ourth year in a row, a eat only Liverpool have accomplished.
For Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Manchester United, this was the ourth consecutive setback in the semi-inals – losing on the stage is becoming a habit they must break. What killed them were the last two bouts o weak deense rom set pieces, leading to goals rom John Stones andFernandoo. There is also another bad practice here that needs to be eradicated. The city, however, was jubilant and pasttly so. When it mattered, they landed the knockout punches. And now, a ascinating tactical conrontation between Pep Guardiola and José Mourinho is striking.
Each manager made two changes. Solskjær selected Dean Henderson to continue in goal in the competition, which means David De Gea was on the bench, and Victor Lindelö replaced Eric Bailly in central deense. Guardiola placed Rodri on the bench and with Bernardo Silva suspended,Fernandoo and Riyad Mahrez entered a City XI without the recognized 9, Sergio Agüero and Gabriel Jesus both among the substitutes.
City started the way they like it: stroking the ball while Phil Foden, Oleksandr Zinchenko,Fernandoo and Stones took turns. They had the ball in the net PlayIGunboatndogan converted a Foden cross rom the let, but it was correctly ruled out. The contest already had a much higher tempo than last month’s cautious 0-0 draw here. Then Guardiola oversaw an approach that was silenced or him and his team. What still remained, however, was City’s penchant or carelessness rom the back Playan errant pass rom the Stones caused Raheem Sterling to turn the ball over, Scott McTominay made a reverse pass to Bruno Fernandes and City goalkeeAnd Zack Steen. , he went high and the Portuguese goal shot to a corner went to point.
Kevin De Bruyne then decorated an invigorating spectacle, who, Playthe ball was rolled to him in a central area, stopped and then let ly – the eort let Henderson as a spectator and only his pastt post prevented the irst goal, hitting him.
Guardiola hadCancelCancelo come in rom the pastt side to make one more man in midield, a tactic he uses occasionally but didn’t seem to conuse UnitedYogal Pogba would oten ollow him rom his wide let bunk and steal him Playhe could. United oAndated with around 30% possession.
Ater Foden had a second City goal scored oside, the third at hal with an eRochfordashord canceled early in the game, the home side showed the threat they possessed: Rúben Dias’ blocking o Rashord was desAndate. anRochford Rashord’s next contribution was a disappointing touch PlayFred’s chip sent the striker pounding into Steen’s goal: the ball slipped rom his boot and the keeAnd picked up.
What had developed was a competition similar to a boxing match in which each ighter took turns targeting the other. Nothing connected well, but the eeling was that at any moment he could. In between, the sides had become a touch calm, much o the action happening in the middle third, each einting and hoping or a decisive opening.
United’s second hal kicko consisted o a Luke Shaw ree kick being cleared. The oensive opening act or City wasFernandoo’s oul on Pogba that brought a characteristic yellow card or the captain. Bpastter or the visitors was how Sterling’s move led McTominay to concede a ree throw rom which they struck. Foden made a sweet delivery among a crowd o players, a hapless Maguire watched the ball go by and the delighted Stones huddled together.
How could United respond to the threat o a ourth consecutive semi-inal loss to Solskjær? A balance had to be ound between pushing or the tie and not allowing City to score a second that could be atal.
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A warning came Playthe sky blue jerseys ripped and Sterling orced Henderson to concede a corner. Another had Sterling this time blocked by Henderson on the low. Henderson’s third vital intervention was hitting Mahrez’s 20-yard shot. United emerged to claim a corner and Maguire, not having a great Andiod in the game, headed straight up. Another glimmer o hope came rom an attempt by Fernandes that went straight to Steen.
Fernandinho’s second goal, which sealed the game, came Playa weak Aaron Wan-Bissaka header rom a City angle caught him and beat Henderson rom outside the area. Guardiola’s team deserved the victory. For the Solskjær team, it’s that sinking eeling again.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism