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Bristol City 2-1 Man Utd: Talking points from Carabao Cup upset
Last Updated: 20/12/17 11:41pm
Bristol City stunned Manchester United in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals, beating the title holders 2-1 at Ashton Gate with an injury-time winner.
Joe Bryan and Korey Smith were the heroes for the home side, with Smith prodding home in the 93rd minute after Zlatan Ibrahimovic had equalised.
Here, we look at the talking points from the match...
Brilliant Bristol City shock United
This was the kind of night those GIFs were made for. Bristol City - who have been tweeting funny clips of their goal scorers this season - saw their retweets rocket on Wednesday night as their players defeated Manchester United in dramatic style to reach the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup.
Lee Johnson's men are in fine form and third in the Championship but despite Jose Mourinho attempting to talk up United's opposition before the game, the holders were clear favourites to progress to the final four.
No one told the packed house at Ashton Gate, who roared their team through the 90 minutes, nor the Robins' players, who showed no fear against the Premier League giants.
Mourinho's lower league defeats
Bristol City are only the second lower league side Jose Mourinho has lost to as a manager in England, after Bradford in the 2014-15 FA Cup with Chelsea.
While they rode their luck at times - Nathan Baker deflected onto his own bar before Marcus Rashford crashed against a post - Bristol City showed intent and, crucially, the cutting edge required to seize their moments.
"This club is going to the Premier League, you can just sense it," said Sky Sports pundit Phil Neville, as the home side's supporters celebrated the biggest success their recently redeveloped stadium has seen. "This club is going places."
Two goals to remember
"I can't even remember it," said Joe Bryan when asked by Sky Sports about his stunning opener. The boy from Bristol, who worked his way through the club's youth system, will certainly enjoy watching it back.
After flicking the ball over Daley Blind in the Bristol City half, Bryan played the ball forward to Marlon Pack and ran through into the United box to pick up the return pass and fire a stunning strike into the top corner. United's 'keeper Sergio Romero had no chance. "You'll not see a better strike this weekend in football," said Neville.
But it will be Korey Smith's 93rd-minute poke past Romero which will be rolled out for years to come. The goal sparked wild celebrations at Ashton Gate, as manager Johnson took off down the touchline and swung a ball boy round in delight.
What went wrong for United?
"I don't want me saying they are lucky to be the main thing of it. The main thing of it is that they won," Mourinho told Sky Sports, having spent much of his post-match interview explaining how Bristol City had been fortunate to survive a couple of strikes against the woodwork and score their winner at the death, when United were in their "best moment".
It wasn't just bad luck which undid United at Ashton Gate, though.
Some will point to the 10 changes Mourinho made from United's Premier League win over West Brom at the weekend. But a team containing Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Zlatan Ibrahimovic should have the tools to beat a Championship side. "In the final third they were sloppy," said Neville afterwards.
Bristol City follow Southend's lead
Bristol City became only the second lower division side to knock Man Utd out of the League Cup as holders, after Southend United in 2006-07.
The application of the defending champions appeared to be the concern for Mourinho. "In the first half we lacked intensity. And when I say intensity I mean not just physically but mentally," he explained. "For some of us it was like one more day in the office, probably a day for some of them where they don't even want to come to the office."
One positive United will take from the defeat will be the return of Zlatan Ibrahimovic to the starting line-up. The Swede marked his first start since injuring his knee in the Europa League quarter-final win over Anderlecht eight months ago with a fierce free-kick equaliser.
While there were understandable signs of rustiness from the 36-year-old - including a wild blast over the bar when well-placed just before half-time - his rifled set-piece, which clipped Smith on its way in, was a reminder of his ability to deliver a decisive moment.
"There's a slight doubt about the foul that led to the goal. I don't think it was a foul. But that was a brilliant strike," Neville told Sky Sports. "He can produce good moments like that. United needed it. They didn't have enough moments like that."
City v City in the semis
So what next? Can Bristol City knock a FIFTH Premier League side out of this competition? To do that they'll have to beat Pep Guardiola's Manchester City over two legs. It doesn't get any tougher than that.
While a much-changed Manchester City only squeezed past Leicester City on penalties on Tuesday night, Guardiola will have his side fired up for the next round, with his first final as City boss within touching distance.
Bristol City's four top tier scalps
Bristol City became the first lower league team to knock four top tier sides out of this competition in a row, having despatched Watford, Stoke and Crystal Palace
But Bristol City have earned their right to dream of the ultimate upset, after their quarter-final heroics.