Nemanja Matic‘s first-half strike was enough for Manchester United to seal a 1-0 win against bitter rivals Manchester City in the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup at Etihad Stadium on Wednesday. However, what it couldn’t prevent was the safe passage of City to the final at Wembley who won the two-legged tie 3-2 courtesy their 3-1 win at Old Trafford in the first leg.
However, the hopes of a comeback were burning bright for United following their first-half goal. However, it took a massive dive when Matic was sent-off with 15 minutes left on the clock after his second yellow card.
City manager Pep Guardiola urged his men to take lessons from that defeat despite booking a third successive League Cup final appearance. “In 180 minutes we were better than United,” Guardiola said. “We created chances to score a lot of goals and didn’t convert. We need to learn to be more clinical.”
City were on the mark from the outset with David de Gea working overtime to keep them from scoring. However, it was United who converted their first attempt at the goal when City failed to clear a free-kick in the box with Matic firing home.
City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne couldn’t believe they lost the tie despite being the side who dominated the clash. “I can’t really comprehend how we lost this game,” De Bruyne said. “I think we got sloppy. For me Manchester United didn’t have one chance today.”
Despite their exit, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praised his players. “I’m so proud of these players. They’ve beaten City now twice at their place. They’ve given us everything,” he said.
Defending champions City will face Aston Villa in the summit clash on March 1.