Sergio Aguero stepped off the bench to score a last-gasp winner as Manchester City beat Bristol City 2-1 in the first leg of their EFL Cup semi-final at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday.
Manchester City 2 Bristol City 1
- De Bruyne twice denied by Fielding
- Reid penalty puts Robins ahead
- De Bruyne draws Citizens level
- Aguero heads home late winner
Pep Guardiola’s side were pushed all the way by their Championship counterparts, who took a 1-0 lead into the break courtesy of Bobby Reid’s 44th-minute penalty.
City had plenty of chances to get on the scoresheet before Kevin De Bruyne equalised early in the second half, and substitute Aguero completed the comeback win at the death.
The visitors caused City numerous problems in an action-packed first half, but Frank Fielding was required to make a save after just five minutes when he dived at full stretch to keep out De Bruyne’s cross-shot from a short corner.
Lee Johnson’s men would threaten six minutes later as the ball dropped to Jamie Paterson inside the area, but his half-volley struck John Stones in the face and the danger was cleared.
The Citizens then went close on the quarter-hour mark when Leroy Sane picked out Bernardo Silva with a square pass on the left, but the Portugal international’s shot was deflected just over the crossbar by the foot of Nathan Baker.
Claudio Bravo had to be alert to keep out Joe Bryan, who looked to repeat his feat against Manchester United in the quarter-finals, only too see his 20-yard strike take a deflection on its way to the keeper on 17 minutes.
Silva was unable to steer the ball on target from Raheem Sterling’s square pass in the 21st minute, while Fielding pulled off another outstanding save to deny De Bruyne five minutes later.
Bravo was called into action again on 34 minutes as he caught Marlon Pack’s drilled half-volley from 25 yards out, after Oleksandr Zinchenko failed to deal with a cross from the left when the Robins broke upfield.
The hosts weren’t far away from opening the scoring two minutes later from another short corner, which saw Eliaquim Mangala divert Ilkay Gundogan’s shot just wide of the post from eight yards out, and Silva should have done better soon afterwards when he fired wide of the target in space 10 yards out.
— Bristol City FC (@bcfctweets) January 9, 2018
Those missed chances quickly came back to bite them as Reid opened the scoring from the penalty spot on 44 minutes, after a rash challenge from Stones on the forward inside the box.
It was so nearly 1-1 at the break, but for the timely intervention of Aden Flint, who headed the ball over the bar after Sterling had lobbed the advancing Fielding as he attempted to cut out Silva’s pass.
Both teams continued to attack in the second half, with Sane found in space by De Bruyne on 51 minutes, but the German winger lashed his shot wide of the target.
Flint wasted a good opportunity to double the Robins’ lead two minutes later from a corner when he missed the target with a header from point-blank range, and a counter from City resulted in Sterling failing to beat Fielding one-on-one.
But De Bruyne spared his blushes by restoring parity on 55 minutes. Bravo started the move as he fed the Belgian midfielder, who surged forward and picked out Sterling on the right before receiving the return pass and hammering home from 12 yards out.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) January 9, 2018
De Bruyne looked to turn provider on 69 minutes as he found Sterling six yards out, but once again Fielding was on hand to make the save.
Late drama was to come, though, following chances at both ends. De Bruyne beat two players before seeing his effort deflected narrowly wide of goal on 86 minutes, while Liam Walsh could only find the side-netting with an angled shot after the ball fell to him inside the area two minutes later.
But just when Bristol City thought they had the job done on the night, Aguero popped up in the second minute of stoppage time to head Silva’s cross from the right past Fielding to hand the Citizens a 2-1 advantage.