Man City book spot in Capital One Cup final at Everton’s expense
Holly Thackeray | January 27, 2016
Manchester City 3-1 Everton (4-3 aggregate)
- Barkley hit the opener to put Everton ahead
- Fernandino scored a first-half equaliser for City
- Substitute De Bruyne put City ahead on the night
- Aguero nabbed the winner from De Bruyne delivery
- De Bruyne injured late on
Man City to meet Liverpool in Capital One Cup final
Manchester City are through to the Capital One Cup final, where they will contest Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool at Wembley Stadium, after second-half goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero saw them beat Everton 4-3 on aggregate.
The Toffees arrived in Manchester with a semi-final first leg lead and went ahead through Ross Barkley, but Fernandinho found the equaliser, before City (4/9 to next beat Aston Villa in the FA Cup) sealed this riveting Northwest derby, and their final place, with two strikes.
Barkley brilliance breaks deadlock
Proceedings at the Etihad began as fans may have expected, with City stroking the ball around comfortably, while Everton attacked on the counter through delightful Gerard Deulofeu, who skinned defender Martin Demichelis only for his delayed decision to cross see the ball deflected out for a corner.
Still, it was a sign the Toffees were not going to sit back on their slender first leg lead, and it took just 17 minutes for Roberto Martinez’s men in navy to find a way through the Sky Blue rearguard.
It just had to be Barkley who, after shouts for a foul on Sergio Aguero at the other end, burst from deep midfield yet again to put his boyhood club ahead 1-0 on the night, and 3-1 on aggregate, slotting home a vital away goal. The England international surged at Man City’s sloppy and exposed defence, dodging several attempts at tackles before dispatching low and left past Willy Caballero.
Citizens strike back
Around six minutes later, Manuel Pellegrini’s side found a fortunate equaliser through Brazilian midfield shield Fernandinho, whose sucker punch strike took a generous deflection off Leighton Baines on its way into the net.
Visiting Everton then received a few slices of luck themselves as Pablo Zabaleta’s sweeping ball almost unleashed Aguero through on goal, with Joel Robles forced to jostle with the alert striker to save.
While, Robles was also forced into a crucial stop moments after as first a sudden burst of acceleration by Aguero saw the Argentine rattle the post, within inches of pulling his team level on aggregate. David Silva popped up to follow up on the rebound, but the Toffees stopper clung to the ball and spared Gareth Barry’s blushes after a poor clearance had allowed the Spaniard to sneak in.
Navas a nifty addition, Silva almost finds gold
Barkley began the second-half where he left off, with another determined dash from deep putting the Mancunian’s on the backfoot, though Deulofeu shot straight at Caballero.
While, Everton were similarly let off at the other end, as Spanish substitute Jesus Navas sought out Aguero in the box only for the South American to wildly scuff his shot.
Cute combination play between Navas and Zabaleta pinned back the Toffees on the right, before the Argentine’s delivery picked out Silva, whose headed effort pinged back of the post with Yaya Toure unable to connect with the rebound, once again handing Everton a reprieve.
City’s renewed determination and added threat down the wing were warning signs for their guests, however, with suddenly alive Sterling also forcing some diligent defending.
Martinez shuffled his pack accordingly, bringing on both Arouna Kone and a returning James McCarthy on for wide pair Leon Osman and Deulofeu. Though, Pellegrini was able to call on a dangerous response himself in the form of Belgian playmaker Kevin De Bruyne for Toure, in an attacking switch with clear intent.
Sterling supplies decisive De Bruyne
The switch proved inspired after just seconds, as an up until then quiet Sterling sped away from John Stones to pick out De Bruyne in the box, with the Belgium international bagging with a fine finish to level on aggregate. Though, replays showed supplier Sterling’s run appeared to carry the ball over the line before his cross.
However, there was nothing lucky about Man City’s next strike to cement their lead, as De Bruyne was once again pivotal, helping Pellegrini put one foot in the Wembley final. The Belgian pumped a ball into incisive Aguero, and the centre forward showed no mercy, his bullet header rippling Everton’s net and leaving Robles no chance.
City’s celebrations were soon cut short, however, as difference-maker De Bruyne was brought down by Funes Mori late in the match, and forced to leave the pitch through injury, leaving the Mancunians to see their win out with 10 men.
The Sky Blues will await news on their brilliant Belgian with bated breath, while Everton will head the short distance home aggrieved about the goal which changed the game.