Relive Manchester City's 3-1 victory over Everton at the Etihad Stadium as the hosts overturn a first-leg deficit to book their place in the League Cup final.
By Barney Corkhill, Assistant Editor Filed: Wednesday, January 27, 2016 at 18:44 UK
Last Updated: Thursday, January 28, 2016 at 09:34 UK
Manchester City confirmed their place in the League Cup final courtesy of a come-from-behind 3-1 victory in their semi-final second leg against Everton at the Etihad Stadium this evening.
The hosts trailed 2-1 after the first leg at Goodison Park, and that deficit grew even further when Ross Barkley gave the Toffees an 18th-minute lead on the night.
Fernandinho quickly restored parity, however, and goals from Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero in the space of seven second-half minutes completed the turnaround for City to set up a Wembley showdown with Liverpool.
Find out how all of the action unfolded courtesy of Sports Mole's live minute-by-minute coverage below.
6.45pmGood evening! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for the last of the League Cup semi-final matches as Manchester City host Everton at the Etihad Stadium. The visitors hold the advantage at the halfway stage of the tie courtesy of their 2-1 win in the first leg at Goodison Park earlier this month, and anything other than a defeat tonight would see them reach the final for the first time in 32 years. A match against Liverpool at Wembley on February 28 is the prize for the winners, so there is plenty at stake for both sides here. Let's start with a look at the two teams...
6.49pmEVERTON SUBS: Howard, Coleman, Oviedo, McCarthy, Lennon, Pienaar, Kone
6.51pmWhat can we make of those two sides, then? Well, as promised Manuel Pellegrini has once again opted for Caballero ahead of Joe Hart in goal for the cup, which has been the case for the majority of not just this season, but the Chilean's entire reign at City. Hart drops to the bench, and it will be interesting to see whether the England number one would also miss out at Wembley against Liverpool if City are to book their place in the final this evening.
6.53pmThere is one change at the back for City, with Pellegrini's hand still rather forced through injuries to Kompany, Mangala and Kolarov. Bacary Sagna is the man to drop out for the weekend draw with West Ham, with Zabaleta returning to the starting XI in his place. Otamendi and Demichelis continue their partnership at the heart of the defence due to the aforementioned injury problems, while Gael Clichy is once again in at left-back.
6.55pmIncluding Caballero and Zabaleta, Pellegrini had made four changes to his side for this match, including the interesting decision to drop De Bruyne to the bench. He is replaced in the starting lineup by Raheem Sterling this evening, while on the other side of that attacking trio Silva is expected to play in a slightly wider role. Yaya Toure could be pushed further up the pitch in support of the attack as Fernandinho, who replaces Navas despite the Spaniard's goal in the first leg, comes in alongside Delph.
6.57pmLeading the line once again is Sergio Aguero, who seems to be back on top form now following a rather slow return from his latest injury. There was never any doubting the Argentine's quality, but he lacked his usual sharpness for a few weeks. He seems to have that back now, scoring both of his side's goals in the draw with West Ham having also notched a brace in the match before that against Crystal Palace.
6.59pmEverton also make a change in goal for tonight's match, and it is another expected one as Joel Robles replaces Howard in the starting XI. Howard has been criticised by his own fans so far this season and was once again at fault in the weekend defeat to Swansea, giving away the penalty that provided the visitors with their first goal. There may be a chance for Joel to muscle his way in to Martinez's thinking, so he will be extra keen to impress here.
7.01pmThere is a return for Jagielka in defence after he was rested at the weekend, and that should give Everton a big boost. Interestingly, though, Stones and Funes Mori, who scored in the first leg, also start, which is likely to see the former play at right-back. Coleman has only recently returned from injury and is perhaps not yet deemed fit enough to start such a big tie by Martinez, while Oviedo is also on the bench.
7.03pmJust as with City, Everton make two changes in midfield, both of which have been enforced. Besic and Mirallas picked up injuries in the weekend defeat and miss out this evening, which paves the way for Cleverley and Osman to come into the side. There are options on the bench in Lennon, Pienaar and Kone if Everton find themselves needing more an an attacking threat behind the striker, though, while McCarthy is also among the subs having once again been deemed not yet fit to start following his recent groin injury.
7.05pmEverton's main threat will come from Romelu Lukaku, however, with the Belgian enjoying a very productive season for the most part. He scored the winning goal in the first leg to give his side the advantage at the halfway stage of the tie, and that made it four goals in his five League Cup appearances this season. With Man City's centre-back pairing having looking shaky at times this season, Lukaku will fancy his chances of getting what could be an all-important goal this evening.
7.07pmLukaku may have put the tie in Everton's hands at the halfway stage, but Man City are far from out of this. In fact, they will go into this match feeling very confident that they can book another trip to Wembley. A 1-0 would be enough for them to progress when the away goals rule comes into play after extra time, and they are certainly more than capable of getting that result in front of their own fans.
7.09pmThey need to score, then, but the fact that they only need one will ease the urgency to flood forward and look for that goal - it does usually come at home, after all. Indeed, over the last 12 months Man City have failed to score in just one of their 26 competitive outings in all competitions. The only problem with that for tonight's hosts is that the exception in that run came against Everton just a couple of weeks ago.
7.11pmThe defensive aspect is just as important as the attack this evening, though, and that is what has let them down a lot this season. There are no problems at the business end of the field, with City boasting the Premier League's best attack, but too often they have given away goals that have cost them this season - a factor largely down to the absence of Kompany. That has improved of late, it must be said, but there is still a question hanging over this City defence. Anything conceded tonight would eliminate their away-goal advantage.
7.13pmThey don't come into this match in the best of form either. It is by no means a terrible run of results, but City have won just four of their last nine matches in all competitions, which is worse than would usually be expected from a side with ambitions of claiming a clean sweep of trophies this season. They have not won consecutive matches since early December, and haven't done so domestically since November-December.
7.15pmThe big plus for City in this tie is having the second leg at home. Of course, their loss at Goodison Park earlier this month was a setback, but as Pellegrini said in his pre-match press conference, they should be able to overturn a one-goal deficit in front of their own fans. They are in splendid form at the Etihad too, winning six and losing none of their last seven games here in all competitions, and only losing one of their last 13.
7.17pmThey have won 11 of those 13 games, but by a strange quirk both of the matches that they have failed to win in that time have come against Merseyside opposition. The only points that they have dropped from the last 21 available at home were against Everton in a goalless draw a couple of weeks ago, while their solitary defeat since September was that 4-1 drubbing by Liverpool. On a brighter note, though, they have kept clean sheets in their last two home games after going 13 matches without one.
7.19pmThey are particularly deadly at home in this competition. They have won five of the last six League Cup matches at the Etihad, which in itself is not particularly spectacular for a side like City, but in that time they have scored a staggering 27 goals - an average of 4.5 per game. The only side not ruthlessly put to the sword in that time was Newcastle, who ran out 2-0 winners here in the last 16 last season.
7.21pmThose statistics may worry Everton fans, and for good reason. They have not exactly been known for their defensive stability this season, and with Aguero also coming into form of late, there is a recipe for goals tonight. The Toffees have conceded 34 times in the Premier League this season - no team outside the bottom five have let in more - and they have kept just one clean sheet in this competition so far too.
7.23pmSuch a large amount of goals being conceded in the main reason behind Everton sitting 12th in the table despite possessing one of the most exciting squads in the league, and in recent history for the club. They have a number of attacking players who have been in fine form this term, scoring 40 goals in 23 games, yet they find themselves a full 13 points adrift of fourth place and only eight clear of the relegation zone.
7.25pmIt is highly unlikely that Everton will be dragged into a relegation battle - if only for the amount of goals that they are capable of scoring - but it also appears increasingly unlikely that they will challenge for Europe this term either. In addition to the goals being conceded, that is largely because of the number of games Everton have drawn this season. Their tally of 11 is the most in the Premier League and represents far too many dropped points to really challenge for the upper echelons of the division.
7.27pmOf course, a draw would suit them just fine this evening, and the fact that they are away from home may even help in that regard. The Toffees have a better away record than they do at home this season, picking up 13 points in front of their own fans compared to 16 on the road. They also have a substantially better defensive record on the travels, conceding 12 times away from home and 22 at Goodison Park. It hasn't exactly been good for their league position, but that could come in handy this evening.
7.29pmThey are unbeaten in their last seven away games in all competitions, drawing five of those, while they have lost only one of 14 all season, with that coming at the Emirates. Of their 11 Premier League away matches this season, seven of them have ended in draws, including one already at the Etihad Stadium, and that is all Everton need to do again this evening to book their place against Merseyside rivals Liverpool in the final next month.
7.31pmThere is a bit more concern when it comes to their away form in this competition, though. They may have already won three League Cup games on the road this season, having not managed once since 2009 before that, but they all came against lower league teams. They have lost five of their last six League Cup games on the road against fellow Premier League sides, with the only exception in that run being a 4-0 thrashing of Hull City back in September 2009.
7.33pmIn terms of general form things haven't been great either. They come into this game with only one win in their last 10 Premier League outings and only three wins in their last 11 games in all competitions, one of which came against Dagenham & Redbridge. However, the defeat to Swansea at the weekend was also their first loss in six games, and once again all they need to do this evening is avoid defeat.
7.35pmPREDICTION: We're 10 minutes away from kickoff at the Etihad, which means that it is time for a prediction! This one is quite a tough one to call considering Everton's decent away record - at least decent enough to get what they need here. Man City's home record cannot be ignored either, and nor can their greater experience of these situations. An all-Merseyside final would certainly be good, but I'm going to go for Man City to win this one 2-0 tonight and go on to Wembley.
7.37pmMan City have only ever overturned a first-leg semi-final deficit once before, with that coming in 1976. They also trailed by one goal at the halfway stage of the tie on that occasion, but a 4-0 rout of Middlesbrough in the second leg booked their place in the final, which they went on to win. Everton, meanwhile, have only held a first-leg semi-final lead once in this competition, but they did reach the final on that occasion with victory over Aston Villa.
7.39pmMan City have never lost a home match against Everton in cup competition before, winning three of their four meetings, although the last of that did come in March 1981, when they met in the FA Cup. City also boast the greater pedigree in this competition as a whole having won it three times, the last of which came in 2013-14. By contrast, and somewhat surprisingly, Everton have never lifted this trophy before and have not reached the final in 32 years. They lost to Liverpool on that occasion in 1984, while in 1977 they were also beaten in their only other appearance in the League Cup final.
7.41pmThey have work to do in order to reach their third final, but the advantage is at least in their favour following the first leg. Funes Mori gave the Toffees the lead right on the stroke of half time at Goodison Park, but it appeared as though City might get what would have been a good draw when Jesus Navas finished off a counter-attack to level things up. That lead lasted just two minutes before Lukaku scored the winner, however. These two have met since that game too, playing out a goalless draw just a week later.
7.43pmRight, we're just a couple of minutes away from kickoff now! The teams are just about ready as they prepare for arguably their biggest game of the season so far. Last night's semi-final went all the way to penalties, and that is a very real possibility again tonight, but it could be the case that either Manchester City or Everton are just 90 minutes away from booking a ticket to Wembley to face Liverpool on February 28.
1 minKICKOFF: Here we go then! Everton get us underway at the Etihad as they look to join their Merseyside rivals Liverpool in the League Cup final.
3 minCity have made a good, positive start to this match. They are looking to get on the front foot early and having seen plenty of the ball inside the Everton half.
4 minEverton have their first chance to break and Deulofeu does brilliant to burst past Demichelis, who can do nothing against such blistering pace. Deulofeu reaches the byline and has teammates in the box, but he holds on to it for just too long and Everton only win a corner from a very promising situation.
6 minWe expected Toure to be pushed further up this evening, but it looks as though Delph is the man to be playing in a more advanced role if anyone. The trio in midfield aren't venture particularly far forward, though, so it may be more of a 4-3-3 formation for the hosts.
8 minFrom that deeper position, Toure looks to send a ball over the top for Sterling to race on to. However, this one is just too long and bounces through to Joel.
10 minEverton won't be too worried about City having most of the ball as they are set up to play on the counter, but the areas in which the hosts are enjoying possession will be a concern. A lot of it is coming inside the Everton half, and the pressure is building already.
12 minPellegrini, meanwhile, will be encouraged by what he has seen from his side so far. If it carries on this way then City look capable of scoring the goal they need.
14 minAnother good, slick passing move from City takes them in to the Everton area down the left, but Silva's cross deflects into the arms of Joel. City have had 64% of the ball so far, and if anything it's a surprise that it isn't more.
16 minOtamendi takes a break from the patient passing build-ups from Man City to have a go from a long way out, but his effort is blocked and Everton are immediately on the counter. The ball arrives in from the right and it is the correct idea, but it is a couple of yards too far in front of Lukaku.
18 minHaving soaked up all of the pressure so far, it is Everton who take the lead! Funes Mori starts the move with a strong challenge on Aguero, for which the City striker wants a foul but gets nothing. Once again Everton are quick to break, and Barkley does brilliantly to drive forward when the space opens up for him. He carries the ball to within shooting range without being closed down and thumps a low effort into the bottom corner.
20 minSAVE! Sterling looks to come up with an immediate reply, cutting inside from the right and curling one towards the bottom corner, but Joel is down to make a comfortable save, and the ball was going wide anyway.
22 minImportant goalkeeping from Joel as he comes racing off his line to nod a ball clear after a long pass over the top had Jagielka in a bit of trouble with Aguero breathing down his neck.
23 minSHOT! City threaten again here as Zabaleta gives the ball inside for Silva, who taps it back into the path of Toure. The angle is against the midfield, who moves it a yard before curling one over the near post.
24 minCity equalise on the night, but they get a big stroke of luck in doing so. The initial defending from Everton isn't the best as Aguero races in behind the back four. He cuts back inside and sees his shot blocked by Jagielka, but it only falls as far as Fernandinho. He blasts a first-time shot goalwards, and it takes a big deflection off Baines to take it past a helpless Joel.
26 minThat is a big goal for City, who have responded well to the setback of going behind. They remain behind on aggregate, but are now just one goals away from forcing extra time. A 2-1 home win is also the only scoreline that would result in penalties.
28 minBrilliant challenge from Otamendi as he brings a halt to Stones's gallop out from defence. Stones was allowed to carry the ball a long, long way until Otamendi leapt in with a perfectly-timed tackle.
30 minWe're half an hour into this second leg now, and the match is still very finely poised. City are still on top, but Everton do look dangerous on the break too.
33 minIt is another lightning break from Everton as Barry wins the ball back and Deulofeu strokes it forward for Barkley down the left. He has space to run into and Lukaku in support, but his pass towards the striker is cut out. That was a very good platform wasted.
34 minAnother good challenge from Otamendi here, this time for his own mistake. He slipped while playing the ball forward, gifting possession to the visitors, but he then made a fine sliding challenge to win it back off Lukaku.
36 minOFF THE POST! Oh my word, City are so close to getting that second goal! Aguero picks the ball up on the left and cuts inside before unleashing a thunderbolt of an effort from 25 yards that cannons back off the post. The ball bounces to Barry, who takes a touch in his own area and has the ball stolen off him by Silva, but Joel is in the right place to make a crucial stop.
38 minFree kick in a perfect position for Man City here as Delph goes down rather dramatically under a challenge from Cleverley. Toure and Silva standing over it...
39 minIt is Silva who goes for it, but it flicks off Barry in the wall and goes behind for a corner.
40 minThe resulting corner is played short to Sterling, but his cross comes to nothing and once again Everton break in numbers. Even Jagielka is up there as Lukaku carries the ball down the right, but the Belgian's cross is intercepted.
42 minSHOT! Everton have a free kick in a good position this time, and Deulofeu tries a dipping effort Ronaldo-style that flies a couple of yards over the crossbar.
44 minEverton are finishing the half the stronger here, but they lose possession and this time it is City's turn to break. The ball is played forward towards Aguero, but Funes Mori does enough to see the ball back to Joel.
45 minThere will be one additional minute at the end of this first half.
45+2 minHALF TIME: Manchester City 1-1 Everton (Everton lead 3-2 on aggregate)
8.40pmThe first half comes to an end at the Etihad, then, and the tie is still very finely poised. It is 1-1 on the night, making it 3-2 on aggregate to Everton, but both sides have looked capable of scoring more. City have been on top in terms of general play, but Everton have looked very dangerous on the break at times and will be relatively content with that first half.
8.42pmIt was the Toffees who scored the opening goal against the run of play, with Ross Barkley breaking the deadlock after 18 minutes. Funes Mori won possession deep in his own half with a challenge from behind on Aguero, but from there Everton still had a long way to go to score. Barkley collected the ball close to the halfway line, and the defence just opened up for him to carry it a long way before drilling his effort into the bottom corner.
8.44pmThings were level just six minutes later, however, as Fernandinho restored parity on the night with a deflected effort. Aguero's initial shot was blocked by Jagielka and fell to the City midfielder, whose first-time strike took a big deflection off Baines, which saw it fly over a helpless Joel.
8.46pmAguero has been the most dangerous player on the pitch, with his movement causing all sorts of problems for the Everton defence. The Argentine came within inches of giving his side the lead on the night and levelling things up on aggregate when he drove a powerful strike towards the far corner that beat the keeper but slammed against the post. Silva almost followed up having nipped in when Barry took a touch, but Joel was there to make a crucial save.
8.48pmThat was a big warning shot towards Everton as to how finely this match is balanced. One more goal for City would put it on course for extra time, and the hosts certainly look capable of that and more. However, City's defence is not exactly looking completely solid itself, and the visitors also look like scoring whenever they launch a quick counter. I would be very surprised if we had seen the last of the goals here.
46 minKICKOFF: Man City get us back underway for the second half here, and the first thing to tell you is that the hosts have made a change at the break, with Jesus Navas replacing Delph.
48 minCHANCE! Big chance for Everton early in the second half! It is poor from Silva as he gives the ball away cheaply in the Everton half, allowing the visitors to break. Barkley leads the charge once more before finding Deulofeu in the left channel, but his curling effort is parried away by Caballero and Fernandinho completes the clearance.
50 minCHANCE! Big chance for City at the other end this time! It is patience build-up play from the hosts as they work it from left to right before Navas feeds a low cross into the box. Aguero has found a yard of space in the box and looks certain to fire it home, but he mis-kicks it and the chance goes begging!
52 minSterling looks to inject a bit of pace into the attack, bursting down the left, but he slices his eventual cross straight out of play.
53 minEmbarrassing from Deulofeu as he gets dispossessed by Demichelis and throws himself to the floor in dramatic fashion, claiming that he got a blow to the face. Fernandinho is straight across to admonish him.
54 minOFF THE POST! The woodwork comes to Everton's rescue again! This time it is Silva who hits the post, and in unlikely fashion as he climbs highest in the area to plant a header towards the bottom corner from a Zabaleta cross. The ball bounces back into a dangerous area, but it is just behind Toure and Everton scramble it away.
56 minCity won't come much closer than that to getting a second goal, and Everton may just be beginning to feel that luck is on their side this evening. They have escaped by the skin of their teeth on two occasions now.
58 minThe pressure is relentless from City now. Everton are being reduced to simply hacking the ball clear in order to relieve some of it, but it is coming straight back at them.
59 minCHANCES! Some more last-ditch defending keeps City at bay here! First Sterling's low cross is just too far in front of Aguero, before Sterling himself sees a shot blocked by blue shirts flinging themselves in the way.
60 minEVERTON SUBS: Double change for Everton here as Deulofeu and Osman are replaced by Arouna Kone and James McCarthy.
62 minEverton are, understandably, taking their time over restarts now, and it is starting to irk Pellegrini. The referee is aware of it too, so don't be surprised to see a card dished out for time-wasting sooner or later.
64 minBetter from Everton as they get their foot on the ball and keep possession for a decent period of time. They have stemmed the pressure for now and are looking a little more comfortable than they were a few minutes ago.
66 minMAN CITY SUB: This is a very interesting change as Kevin De Bruyne is introduced in place of Toure, who hands the armband to Silva.
69 minThere are just over 20 minutes remaining in this match now, and as things stand it is Everton going through. This one is by no means over though. Both teams still look capable of scoring.
70 minGOAL! Man City 2-1 Everton (Kevin De Bruyne)
70 minWe're all square on aggregate, but my word will Roberto Martinez have something to say about this goal! Sterling races down the left to the byline and cuts the ball back into the middle that De Bruyne, only just on as a sub, sweeps home. However, the replays show that the ball had run out of play before Sterling played it back into the middle, so it should have been a goal kick for Everton.
72 minAs things stand, then, we are heading for extra time and penalties. It is worth noting that City immediately grabbed the ball and wanted to restart the game after that goal, though, so they are keen to grab a winner before the added 30 here.
74 minImportant defending from Funes Mori as he gets across to make a well-timed sliding challenge on Sterling after De Bruyne's flick had released the former Liverpool man.
75 minMan City have another free kick in a very good position here, and once again it is Cleverley who gives away the foul, this time on Fernandinho. De Bruyne is interested...
76 minOnce again, though, the free kick hits the wall. The rebound falls to Fernandinho, whose effort is deflected behind for a corner, which comes to nothing.
77 minWell, the first delivery from the corner comes to nothing, but City come straight back at Everton and Aguero gives them the aggregate lead! De Bruyne whips a cross into the box from the right, and the Argentine glances a brilliant header into the bottom corner. City are ahead in the tie for the first time!
78 minEVERTON SUB: The visitors make their final change of the match in the aftermath of that goal, with Stones being replaced by Seamus Coleman.
80 minMAN CITY SUB: Another change for the hosts as Fernando comes on for Silva. Zabaleta is the latest to be handed the armband.
82 minEverton have just eight minutes left to save this one now. They have carried a threat on the break for much of the evening, but now the onus is on them to take the game to City. As things stand, they are out of the League Cup.
84 minYELLOW CARD! The first card of the night finally arrives, and it is Cleverley who goes into the book for a frustrated foul on Fernandinho.
85 minYELLOW CARD! Otamendi quickly follows him into the book for a reckless challenge on Kone. That also gives Everton a free kick in a very good crossing position...
86 minBaines swings it into the middle, but Fernandinho is there to deal with the danger.
88 minCHANCE! Aguero looks to kill the game off once and for all as De Bruyne whips a brilliant corner into the middle that the Argentine glances wide. He'd have expected to score that!
89 minYELLOW CARD! Baines is the latest player to pick up a booking for a poor challenge on Navas. No complaints there.
90+1 minThere will be five minutes of stoppage time at the end of this match. Can Everton turn this around? Meanwhile the stretcher is on for De Bruyne, and it looks to be a bad one for the Belgian, whose leg got caught underneath him as he went down.
90+3 minMan City will finish this game with 10 men, then, as De Bruyne is carried off with a leg brace to boot. That looks like it could be ligament damage, which may be the rest of the season on the sidelines for De Bruyne.
90+5 minMartinez has thrown Funes Mori up front in the closing stages, and we can expect a biut more stoppage time than initially scheduled due to that injury to De Bruyne. Still time for Everton to force extra time!
90+8 minFULL TIME: Manchester City 3-1 Everton (Man City win 4-3 on aggregate)
90+8 minMANCHESTER CITY ARE IN THE FINAL OF THE LEAGUE CUP!
9.48pmManchester City hold out with 10 men, then, and set up a League Cup final showdown with Liverpool at Wembley on February 28. They came into tonight's match trailing by two goals to one in the tie, and things got even harder when Barkley gave Everton the lead on the night. However, goals from Fernandinho, De Bruyne and Aguero completed the turnaround and denied Everton an all-Merseyside final and a rare trip to Wembley.
9.50pmThat is all we have time for this evening! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for tonight's match as Man City book their place in the final of the League Cup courtesy of a comeback victory over Everton. I will leave you with our match report, and be sure to stick around for reaction from both camps. From me, though, it is goodbye for now!