The two Manchester sides battled it out in the semi-final of the EFL Cup for the second year in succession. The constraints caused due to the pandemic however meant that this time, it would only be a one-legged affair.
The teams both came in with 4 wins out of 5, making the prospect of a match up all the more enticing. The game started frantically, as VAR intervened to deny both sides (rightfully) a goal within the first 6 minutes. Both sides' stars, Fernandes and De Bruyne came close to the opener. They were denied by a spectacular save and the framework of the goal respectively. The first half showed warning signs for United, but the game went in level at half-time.
The second half began with both sides coming out unchanged, and Manchester City picked up right where they left off, showing more impetus and taking it upon themselves to open the scoring. John Stones was the man who did so, as he managed to get the ball across the line with his thigh after Mahrez couldn't get on the end of Phil Foden's cross. Manchester City got the second of the night through Fernandinho, who volleyed home a poor Wan-Bissaka clearance late in the game to kill the contest.
Manchester City vs Manchester United: 5 Talking Points
#5 An Enthralling Showdown decided:
Guardiola will now have to navigate past the Portuguese tactician to get his hands on the EFL Cup again, and will no doubt be looking forward to the opportunity to get one over him. Mourinho will share that sentiment with him as he hopes to have his squad fit and firing during the business end of this season, unlike last year.
Fans will no doubt be licking their lips at the prospect of these sides facing off at full strength, and Manchester United's stutter before the finish line means that they have now fallen at the semi-final stage 2 years in a row
#4 Unlikely scorers help Manchester City advance:
Manchester City had two of the most unexpected goalscorers helping them advance past their neighbors tonight. John Stones scored his first goal in over 3 years as City took the lead in the 50th minute. He put in one of his best performances defensively in a long time as well to go along with the goal.
Along with him, Fernandinho scored his first goal in 2 years, hammering a volley past a motionless Manchester United goalkeeper, Dean Henderson. The Englishman was a mere onlooker as Wan Bissaka's clearance fell straight into the path of the Brazilian, who made no mistake drilling in the corner to make it 2-0 and job done.
The writer would also like to give a special mention to Ruben Dias, who was absolutely immense at the back today along with Stones, letting nothing go past him and dealing with everything Manchester United threw at him last night.