Manchester City 2-1 Bristol City: Sergio Aguero scores winner in Carabao Cup semi-final first leg
By Simeon Gholam
Last Updated: 10/01/18 8:28am
Substitute Sergio Aguero struck late to give Manchester City a 2-1 lead over Bristol City in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final.
Bobby Reid put the Robins ahead with a penalty in the 44th minute, while Kevin De Bruyne hit back for Man City in the second half. Lee Johnson's side were dominated at times on Tuesday night, but it looked as if they would hold out for the draw until Aguero's header in stoppage time.
Sergio Aguero started on the bench for Man City, while Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Leroy Sane all started, along with Claudio Bravo in goal.
Frank Fielding started in goal for the Bristol City, while Liam Walsh is named on the subs bench after his move from Everton.
It was a heartbreaking moment for Bristol City, but they are still very much in the tie ahead of the second leg at Ashton Gate in two weeks.
Naturally, it was Man City who dominated proceedings in the first half but some wasteful play in the final third, particularly from the rusty-looking Bernardo Silva, prevented them from taking the lead. De Bruyne also had a couple of efforts from the edge of the area, but Frank Fielding was equal to both in the Bristol City goal.
And Man City would pay the penalty, literally, for their lacklustre finishing a couple of minutes before half-time. Eliaquim Mangala was the guilty man initially, giving the ball away to Josh Brownhill inside his own half.
The Bristol City midfielder took full advantage as he fed Reid into the box, and he surged forward before being chopped down by John Stones as he tried to cover for his defensive partner. The striker then stepped up to slot the resulting spot-kick past Claudio Bravo.
Man City would have equalised immediately were it not for the brilliant defensive work of Aden Flint, who managed to get back onto his line and head clear Raheem Sterling's dinked effort that had already beaten Fielding and was destined for goal.
Manchester City: Bravo (5), Danilo (5), Stones (4), Mangala (4), Zinchenko (6), Gundogan (6), Toure (5), Bernardo Silva (6), De Bruyne (8), Sane (6), Sterling (6)
Subs: Walker (n/a), Aguero (n/a)
Bristol City: Fielding (8), Wright (7), Flint (8), Baker (8), Magnusson (7), Brownhill (7), Pack (7), Smith (7), Bryan (6), Paterson (6), Reid (8).
Subs: Walsh (n/a)
Man of the match: Aden Flint
The home side did find the equaliser after 55 minutes when De Bruyne picked up a clearance from Bravo, turned and charged deep into Bristol City territory, then played a one-two with Sterling before sweeping the ball home from just inside the box.
Pep Guardiola threw on Aguero in search of the goal that would put them in control of the tie, and he eventually proved the difference in the second minute of stoppage time as he slipped away from his marker to head home a Silva cross from close range.
- Manchester City have reached the final of the League Cup on three of the previous four occasions when winning the semi-final first leg, with the exception being against Manchester United in 2009/10.
- The Citizens are unbeaten in their last 32 games in domestic competition (W26 D6), with their last loss coming against Arsenal in the FA Cup in April 2017.
- The last team from a lower division to lose a League Cup semi-final first leg against Premier League opposition, and still qualify for the final, was Birmingham City v Ipswich in 2000/01 (4-2 on aggregate).
- Bristol City have scored more goals than any other team in the League Cup in 2017/18, with 12 of their 17 coming against Premier League opposition.
- Three of Sergio Aguero's five goals in the League Cup have been scored in semi-finals (also against West Ham in January 2014 and Everton in January 2016).
- Kevin De Bruyne has been directly involved in nine goals in eight appearances for Manchester City in the League Cup (six goals, three assists).
- Bobby Reid has scored 10 goals away from home in all competitions this term - only Harry Kane (14), Jack Marriott (13) and Mohamed Salah (11) have scored more among players in the top four tiers.
Man of the match - Aden Flint
He may have allowed Aguero to slip by him for the late winner, but Bristol City would likely still not be in the tie were it not for the heroics of Flint throughout 90 minutes at the Etihad. He was a rock at the back making an abundance of tackles, headers and clearances as he helped repel waves of attacks.
Pep Guardiola: "My players are fantastic. In football you can win or lose but we tried and tried until the end, and that's why [we scored the winner] because we didn't give up. We know exactly what this competition is with a lot of games, and semi-finals are always complicated and that's why I'm so satisfied.
"[Bristol City] are a fantastic team and that's why they've knocked out four Premier League teams or they would not be in the semi-finals. They can play, hit long balls and they're fast up front. They know exactly what they have to do and it will be tough in Bristol, but we'll try to win and reach the final."
Lee Johnson: "I'm very proud of my team. Obviously I''m disappointed with the goal so late on but the boys were magnificent and I thought it was fascinating how we came here and tried to play our own game. We caused a few problems and had two or three good opportunities in the first half.
"We're still in the tie and they've shown the world they're good footballers. Individuals stuck to the task and we didn't get beaten by one-twos. They showed confidence and they weren't frightened to be on the ball. We had opportunities and Guardiola said to me that we played better than the majority of Premier League teams to come here."
Manchester City travel to Liverpool on Sunday in a Premier League clash live on Sky Sports, while Bristol City host Norwich in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday.