The quadruple is on: Manchester City through to League Cup final as Bristol City finally bow out
Pep Guardiola’s Premier League leaders keep alive hopes of unprecedented trophy haul with semi-final victory against Championship side
Pep Guardiola reached his first final in English soccer as Manchester City ended second-tier Bristol City’s memorable run in the League Cup to stay in contention for silverware on four fronts.
Manchester City won the second leg of their semi-final 3-2, with Kevin De Bruyne scoring in the final action of the game, to progress to the February 26 final at Wembley Stadium 5-3 on aggregate.
Chelsea and Arsenal are locked at 0-0 heading into the second leg of the other semi-final.
Top of the Premier League by 12 points and still in the Champions League and FA Cup, Man City are proving an unstoppable force but need trophies to back up their exhilarating displays in the first five months of the season.
“Of course, I know that we will be judged by trophies we win,” said Guardiola, who did not win any silverware last season, his first at Manchester City. “But we are so happy. Nobody can take away what we have done.”
Leroy Sane and Sergio Aguero scored in a seven-minute span either side of half-time to build on Manchester City’s 2-1 lead from the first leg at the Etihad Stadium two weeks ago.
Marlon Pack reduced the deficit in the 64th minute and even though Aden Flint equalised in the fourth minute of added time, there was no way Bristol City were about to add the Premier League leaders to their list of top flight scalps that already included Manchester United, Watford, Stoke, and Crystal Palace in this campaign.
“They are a top, top side, probably the best team I’ve seen live,” Bristol City manager Lee Johnson said. “But the spirit we showed, we never gave in. Not many score two goals against a team like that.”
Bristol City were attempting to become the first team since Sheffield Wednesday in 1991 to win the League Cup from outside the top flight.
But it is Manchester City who went through to a third League Cup final in the last five years, having also won’s England’s second-tier cup competition in 2014 and 2016.
“They call it the littlest trophy of the year, but everything you can take you will take,” said De Bruyne, who stroked in Sane’s cross for the winner in the sixth minute of added time.
“We’ve had a good season so far but now the big games are coming and hopefully we can keep up the intensity and the quality.”