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In the end Manchester City’s hold on domestic cup competitions continued, but this was not the domination that many feared.
Aston Villa were not dismissed in the Carabao Cup final in the way Watford were taken apart 6-0 in last season’s FA Cup final, and their manager, Dean Smith, gathered his staff and players on the pitch to transmit that message.
If Villa fight like this they will avoid relegation from the Premier League and while City, with a sense of inevitability, were victorious, they were indebted to stand-in goalkeeper Claudio Bravo, who made a superb late save when he pushed Bjorn Engels’ header against a post.
It was a fine final; one in which Villa had a puncher’s chance and almost delivered a telling blow. One in which it felt they were on the canvas, two down in 30 minutes, but rose to make a fight of it. One in which Pep Guardiola made eight changes2020欧洲杯足球即时比分, in which 19-year-old Phil Foden was man of the match, but also one in which the City manager had to turn to Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva and Gabriel Jesus as the tension grew.
City have now won the Carabao Cup for three seasons in a row; five times in the past seven campaigns.
T2020欧洲杯足球即时比分hey have also claimed the Community Shield twice, and the FA Cup once under Guardiola, meaning he has not lost any of the six finals in which he has led them. Furthermore, since the start of 2017-18 City have won eight of the nine domestic trophies available, a fact which Guardiola made great play of.
2020欧洲杯足球即时比分Of course his record in finals stretches way beyond that, and this was the 21st he had won in 25 he has contested as a manager – a formidable record. This may be one of the lesser prizes, but the celebrations suggested otherwise. City revelled in their triumph, as they had every right to.
There are bigger battles ahead – on the field with the Champions League and off it with their fight to try to overturn Uefa’s two-season European ban and the ongoing Premier League investigation – but this capped a good week for them. A week in which they beat Real Madrid at the Bernabeu and then collected silverware.
And Guardiola insists his squad have the hunger to win more and more trophies. They certainly were not lacking in desire and none more so than Foden, who collected his fifth major trophy with City.
Also at the end Guardiola sought out John Stones for a bear-hug – one that seemed to startle the defender who perhaps felt he was due something a bit more stern from his manager after a display in which he was clearly at fault for Villa’s goal just before half-time as he inexplicably lost his footing.
It changed the atmosphere around a final that had appeared routine. All eyes were on whether Jack Grealish could give Villa hope, but he was shackled while City struck twice within 10 minutes to appear to take control of the contest. Both goals will have annoyed Smith, even if the first was well constructed, with Foden at the heart of it as possession was worked from left to right. Raheem Sterling drew defenders before rolling the ball to Rodri, who switched play to pick out the run of Foden.
He guided his header into Sergio Aguero’s path and the striker’s half-volley deflected off Tyrone Mings into the net.
2020欧洲杯足球即时比分Ten minutes later Mings ran over to argue with the assistant referee after a corner was given when Grealish blocked an Ilkay Gundogan cross even though the ball came back off the City midfielder. Gundogan took the corner, Rodri ran in, beat Frederic Guilbert easily and planted his header past goalkeeper Orjan Nyland to double City’s advantage.
2020欧洲杯足球即时比分Maybe it was the sense of grievance or, more obviously, it was the ability to capitalise on a mistake, but Villa seized the lifeline when it was offered. Stones tumbled over as he tried to deal with a high ball from Matt Targett, allowing Anwar El Ghazi to hoist a cross into the penalty area from which Mbwana Samatta stole in between Fernandinho and Oleksandr Zinchenko to send a diving header past Bravo. Remarkably, it was the first goal a Guardiola side had conceded in a cup final since Wayne Rooney, also at Wembley, in the 2011 Champions League final.
It completed the scoring but not the excitement. Throughout the second half City tried to end any doubt, claiming more than 70 per cent possession and pushing Villa back to the edge of their own area, but Mings and Engels showed the way as they blocked, tackled and held their positions.
Marvelous Nakamba took it too far, it seemed, with a lunging challenge on Aguero but, as players reacted angrily, referee Lee Mason only cautioned the midfielder when he could have been dismissed. Aguero was later substituted with swathes of plastic wrapped around his knee.
City went close three times – Foden bounced a shot narrowly wide, Nyland did well to beat out another Rodri header and blocked a shot from Bernardo with his feet – but Villa stayed in the game. In the final few minutes there was one last surge of effort, with the raucous Villa fans sensing the opportunity, which culminated in Bravo denying Engels from a corner.
Villa gave everything. After that final whistle, Grealish lay on his back, sobbing, and was consoled by Foden, Stones and Fernandinho before Smith called everyone together for the mass huddle. It had been a brilliant effort but not quite enough. City and Guardiola – once again – claimed the cup.
90+4 mins: Aston Villa 1 Man City 2
Villa have a freekick in their own half, they load the City half. They manage to win a corner from it. The keeper is up! Nah, it does not come to anything.
One last roll of the dice. Hourihane plays it in from the left. Rebounds out. Same player in again... cleared. Villa not really able to take a clean shot.
87 mins: Aston Villa 1 Man City 2
Very rare territory for Villa. They have a corner.... Engels meets it with a towering header. Bravo great save! He's palmed it onto the post, City get a bit lucky with the rebound, could have gone anywhere or indeed in off the post, but City survive.
2020欧洲杯足球即时比分Was that the moment for Aston Villa?
60 mins: Aston Villa 1 Man City 2
V2020欧洲杯足球即时比分illa hvae got 11 John Terrys out there, various players throwing themselves in the way of shots. City with a sustained spell in the Villa final third, Foden to the fore. Plays inside to de Bruyne who gets his feet in a tangle and falls over. Villa break! Rodri stops the break with a tactical foul and is booked; Douglas Luiz was his victim.
46 mins: Aston Villa 1 Man City 2
Manchester City kick off, knowing that they have the personnel to wrap this up, but perhaps just being nagged at by the thought that they should be out of sight already. Cluching at straws here to be honest - they have tons of experience on pitch, bench and dugout.
2020欧洲杯足球即时比分Sterling is blown up for an offisde call, looked tight to say the least.
Half time: Aston Villa 1 Man City 2
Game looked all over at 2-0 with City pushing hard for a third, but where there is John Stones there is always hope (for the opposition). His individual error has let Villa back in.
Guardiola of course has a ridiculous bench to call on, including Gabriel Jesus, De Bruyne, Bernardo, Mahrez, the late Stanley Matthews etc so absolutely no reason to assume this will be anything other than a solid City win. But we at least have a match on our hands.
GOAL! Aston Villa 1 Man City 2 (Samatta 41)
A goal completely against the run of play, and really defying all logic! Villa have a rare forray down the left, but City seem to have more than enough players back there... until John Stones loses concentration and falls over. Incredible blunder from Stones, not really sure how to describe it. He.... fell. Anyway, Villa take full advantage, the cross comes in and its nutted home with some relish by Samatta. A diving header from him, nicely placed by the Tanzanian, and they'll be dancing in the streets of Dar es Salaam tonight. El Ghazi with a whippy, accurate cross.
37 mins: Aston Villa 0 Man City 2
Zinchenko having an excellent game, he's torn down the left there and shown compsure to pick out Sterling, who just takes one touch too many as he tries to find the perfect angle. Villa just about defend this moment but they are being opened up at will and this is going to be a serious pasting at the current rate of progress.
2020欧洲杯足球即时比分Foden and Walker have also had decent chances in the last minute or two. God knows what Villa do. Get bought by SPECTRE I guess?
GOAL! Aston Villa 0 Man City 2 (Rodri 30)
O2020欧洲杯足球即时比分h that is such a shame. That's the end of that.
A goal from a set piece - Dean Smith presumably will be furious. It's one thing being undone from some Silva genuis or Sterling verve from open play, but to cough up a goal from a set piece against a much smaller opponent is annoying.
But that is what has happened. Rodri scores from a corner. He runs toward the delivery and nuts it home at the near post. Eurch.
Excellent ball in from Ilkay Gundogan but the marking was a joke and you just cannot do that against a far superior team.
29 mins: Aston Villa 0 Man City 1
Aguero hammers a shot at goal and a defender, I believe it was Engels, bravely throws himself in the way in the club style of John Terrington-Terry.
Villa's backs and midfielders have a drawn, worried look about them. Grealish and Mings trying to direct the operation as they man the barricades.
2020欧洲杯足球即时比分Grealish slides in to win the ball off Gundogan and the officials incorrectly give a corner to City...
21 mins: Aston Villa 0 Man City 1
Silva jumps with Nakamba and the Villa man, rather poorly in my view, makes a meal of how harmed he was by a raised, balancing, unintentional arm. Clutching his face in the silent movie horror style, until he realises that Silva is not going to be booked and then he recovers.
GOAL! Aston Villa 0 Man City 1 (Aguero 19)
Patient, intelligent and methodical from City, and the approach pays off.
Sterling down the left, he plays it inside to Rodri. Rodri spots Phil Foden, who has made a nice run down the inside right channel and has timed that run expertly, giving neither Villa defenders nor the offside flag any chance to stop him. He meets the ball and plays it neatly back across, and that man Aguero arrives in perfect time to apply the finish.
More on the teams
M2020欧洲杯足球即时比分anchester City named both goalscorers from their stunning midweek win at Real Madrid on the bench for the Carabao Cup final against Aston Villa.
Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne were among the substitutes as manager Pep Guardiola made eight changes.
Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling, Fernandinho, John Stones and David Silva were among the experienced players to return to the side and second-choice goalkeeper Claudio Bravo also featured.
Villa also made a change in goal with Orjan Nyland preferred to Pepe Reina while Ahmed Elmohamady made his first start since the 6-1 loss to City at Villa Park last month.
Great sadness for Man City fans
Man United just let in a 91st minute own goal, but VAR has (to be fair, correctly) saved their bacon with an offside call against Everton's Sigurdsson. Jake Goodwill has all the details of that on our blog.
The teams for the Wembley occasion
Aston Villa: Nyland, Guilbert, Engels, Mings, Targett, Nakamba, Douglas Luiz, Elmohamady, Grealish, El Ghazi, Samatta. Subs2020欧洲杯足球即时比分: Taylor, Lansbury, Hourihane, Konsa, Trezeguet, Reina, Davis.
Man City: Bravo, Walker, Stones, Fernandinho, Zinchenko, Gundogan, Rodri, Silva, Sterling, Aguero, Foden. Subs2020欧洲杯足球即时比分: Gabriel Jesus, De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, Mendy, Mahrez, Otamendi, Ederson.
Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)
League Cup Final action incoming.
2020欧洲杯足球即时比分Pep Guardiola has shut down talk that his Manchester City side could win the Carabao Cup final by a landslide.
The Premier League champions and cup holders are overwhelming favourites to beat relegation-threatened Aston Villa at Wembley on Sunday.
City, who are bidding to win the competition for a third successive year, smashed Watford 6-0 in their last major final appearance in last season's FA Cup and are fancied by some to do the same to Villa.
2020欧洲杯足球即时比分Guardiola's side also won 6-1 at Villa Park last month and the midlanders are rated as 22/1 outsiders by some bookmakers this weekend.
But Guardiola insists the aim is simply to win and it would be disrespectful to target a landslide.
The Catalan said: "Before the Watford final, we didn't expect that. We were incredibly excited at that moment, we had won the toughest league of my life, beating Liverpool by one point.
"I felt at that moment it doesn't matter who our opponents are, we are going to beat them.
2020欧洲杯足球即时比分"But in finals, you can never think about the margin you might win by. It would be a lack of respect to our opponent.
2020欧洲杯足球即时比分"I never thought about the score for any final. Just prepare what you have to do to win the final."
City go into the game on the back of a stunning victory over Real Madrid in the Champions League on Wednesday but, while that may have put them in good spirits, it could also play into Villa's hands.
2020欧洲杯足球即时比分"They've had all week to prepare for this game," said Guardiola. "We had a mentally tough tough game against Madrid.
"I know we are going to suffer for that for the next days because it is normal. It is not just the game (against Madrid), it is the days and weeks before, preparing mentally. There is naturally a drop in adrenaline in your mind and your body."
Victory would hand Guardiola the 29th trophy of his glittering career.
Given he clearly knows what it takes to deliver, there would seem to be little pressure on him, but he believes his job is actually getting tougher.
Guardiola said: "The first ones are special, of course. At first you don't know if you are able to do it but now you realise more how difficult it is.
"The beginning was more the excitement, and it is 'wow, we did it', but always in the big clubs, the next day you celebrate but the second day, the people knock on the door and say, 'We have to try to do it again.'
"When you lift it, you realise it looks more difficult than before. Every time it looks more difficult and more difficult. That is the feeling I have right now."
Guardiola is proud of yet another great cup run but admits it does not make up for a disappointing Premier League title defence.
City, champions for the past two seasons, have failed to keep pace with an admittedly outstanding Liverpool side this term.
2020欧洲杯足球即时比分He said: "Come on, I would prefer to win the Premier League. The Premier League is not the same as the Carabao Cup. Sorry Carabao, but it is not! But at the same time it is good.
2020欧洲杯足球即时比分"People cannot deny we were there and were incredibly committed until the end. And that is what I am proud of most, and that is why we have achieved a lot of finals and won a lot of titles."