English Premier League

Quadruple not going to happen, says Pep Guardiola as his ‘unreal’ Manchester City edge closer to first trophy

Keeper Claudio Bravo the shoot-out hero for much-changed City after late Vardy equaliser forces extra time away at Leicester City; Arsenal also through to last four

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 December, 2017, 10:06am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 December, 2017, 10:06am

English Premier League leaders Manchester City kept alive their hopes of a quadruple as they beat Leicester 4-3 on penalties to reach the semi-finals of the English League Cup on Tuesday.

Arsenal are also through after beating West Ham 1-0.

City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo saved Riyad Mahrez’s spot kick for the decisive moment following a 1-1 draw after regulation and extra time.

Jamie Vardy also missed in the shoot-out for Leicester.

Bernado Silva’s first-half goal looked to have given the visitors the win, but Vardy scored a stoppage-time penalty to take it beyond 90 minutes.

City can still take a clean sweep of trophies this term with Guardiola’s side 11 points clear at the top of the Premier League and in the knockout stages of the Champions League.

But Guardiola downplayed the chance of a quadruple, saying: “That is not going to happen. Of course not.”

“Come on, that isn’t real. What we’re living isn’t real. The situation of winning 16 or 17 games in a row in the league and qualifying for the Champions League before we finished the group stage, and now we’re here playing with a lot of young players. That is not normal.

“In football you drop points and you lose competitions. I am not thinking about how many titles, I am thinking about the next game.”

Kelechi Iheanacho, who moved from City to Leicester for £25 million (US$33.5 million) in the summer, struggled to make an impact before he helped his old club to a 26th-minute opener.

Iheanacho allowed Yaya Toure to take the ball, Gundogan strode forward to find Silva and the winger prodded the ball under the onrushing Ben Hamer.

Leicester rattled City and eventually equalised in the seventh of eight minutes of stoppage time when Kyle Walker tangled with Demarai Gray in the area and Vardy buried the penalty.

Both sides had chances in extra time before the shoot-out, where Christian Fuchs, Harry Maguire and Vicente Iborra scored for Leicester while Ilkay Gundogan, Yaya Toure, Lukas Nmecha and Gabriel Jesus netted for City.

But, at 4-3, Vardy’s penalty hit the post and Bravo dived to his left to deny Mahrez.

Danny Welbeck scored the only goal of a forgettable game as Arsenal booked a place in the semi-finals for the first time in six years.

Arsenal and West Ham shared a goalless draw in their Premier League meeting at the London Stadium last week.

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It was Welbeck’s first goal since his double against Bournemouth on September 9. He bundled home from close range after Mathieu Debuchy headed Francis Coquelin’s perfect pass across goal to find the England international.