Manchester City reached the EFL Cup final after they recorded a dramatic 3-2 win over Bristol City in the semi-final, second leg at Ashton Gate on Tuesday.
Bristol City 2 Manchester City 3 (3-5 on agg)
Aguero hits the crossbar early on
Sane breaks the deadlock just before HT
Aguero doubles City’s lead after the break
Pack pulls one back for Robins
Flint and De Bruyne score in added time
Pep Guardiola’s side were made to work for their victory on the night, having let slip a two-goal lead to see the Championship outfit draw level before Kevin De Bruyne struck at the death to book their place in the final at Wembley.
The hosts never really looked like they would overturn the 2-1 deficit from the first leg, but resolute defending kept a dominant City at bay for the majority of the first half.
The Premier League leaders enjoyed all of the ball in the opening stages, but they only threatened the opposition goal for the first time on 13 minutes when Sergio Aguero’s cross-shot from the left clipped the crossbar following a swift counter.
John Stones then missed the target with a header under pressure from his marker as he connected with a free-kick moments later, before Luke Steele was called into action for the first time on 28 minutes when he got a strong hand to David Silva’s driven effort.
The Spaniard caused problems for the Robins two minutes later with a surging run that started inside his own half and ended up with him dragging a shot well wide of the goal from the edge of the area.
Claudio Bravo was required to make a save on 37 minutes as he claimed Aden Flint’s flicked header under his crossbar following a long-throw-in from Hordur Magnusson, while Kevin De Bruyne was wayward with a strike from the edge of the box two minutes later after playing a one-two with David Silva.
— Leroy Sané (@LeroySane19) January 23, 2018
Lee Johnson’s men had held out until the 55th minute in the first leg and they were finally breached just two minutes before half-time on this occasion. Magnusson attempted to shepherd the ball out of play instead of clearing it and was dispossessed by Bernardo Silva, who picked out Sane to fire home from eight yards out.
Aguero drew a save out of Steele with a deflected shot right from the restart after the home team gave the ball away, but the Argentine ace found the back of the net five minutes later with a clinical finish from inside the area on the right as City sprung a killer counter.
Steele was tested again soon afterwards by De Bruyne from 18 yards out following a strong run from the Belgian midfielder, while Sane failed to hit the target with an ambitious volley from range on the left in the 54th minute.
Famara Diedhiou sent a warning to the visitors with a venomous strike from the edge of the box that was gathered by Bravo at the second attempt three minutes later, and Bristol City halved the deficit from their next attack on 64 minutes.
Bobby Reid fed Jamie Paterson on the left after robbing Stones of possession and the winger’s cross was headed across Bravo into the back of the net by Marlon Pack.
The Citizens almost restored their two-goal lead on 71 minutes when David Silva’s effort hit Sane, whose shot on the turn from close range landed on the roof of the net via a deflection.
Diedhiou was unable to hit the target with an overhead-kick from Josh Brownhill’s long throw-in three minutes from time, before Danilo drilled a shot inches wide of the left post after being played in by David Silva on the counter in the final minute.
There was late drama to come however, when the Robins equalised in the fourth minute of stoppage time as Flint converted Reid’s knockdown header, but City clinched victory with the final kick of the game through De Bruyne, who had the simplest of finishes following another devastating counter-attack.