Saturday 21 September 2019

City quadruple quest still on after penalty drama

Leicester City 1-1 Manchester City (Manchester City win 3-1 on penalties)

Manchester City players celebrate with goalkeeper Arijanet Muric (centre) as they win 3-1 in the penalty shoot out. Photo: PA
Manchester City players celebrate with goalkeeper Arijanet Muric (centre) as they win 3-1 in the penalty shoot out. Photo: PA

Sam Wallace

Pep Guardiola's quest for a quadruple of trophies remains a possibility after his Manchester City team reached the League Cup semi-finals via a penalty shoot-out that Leicester City conspired to blow, having fought their way back into the game over 90 minutes.

Claude Puel risked alienating senior players and fans by making seven changes from his Premier League team for the game against Crystal Palace. Having fallen behind, he saw his team salvage a penalty shoot-out with a second-half equaliser from Marc Albrighton.

But, from there, his team embarked on a disastrous run of spot-kicks, with Christian Fuchs, James Maddison and defender Caglar Soyuncu all failing to score.

Harry Maguire aside, it was a bad night for English penalty-takers, with Steve Holland and Gareth Southgate watching from the stand and also witnessing a botched panenka from Raheem Sterling during the shoot-out.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola celebrates after the match. Photo: Action Images via Reuters
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola celebrates after the match. Photo: Action Images via Reuters

Oleksandr Zinchenko struck the decisive spot-kick - only Manchester City's fourth of the regulation five.

City's line up included Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero and John Stones, who was played as a holding midfielder in front of a central defensive pairing of Nicolas Otamendi and Eric Garcia, a towering 17-year-old centre-back.

It was Garcia's first senior start having joined the club from Barcelona last summer and it was not hard to see why Guardiola was prepared to start the Spain underage international.

He also gave starts to Phil Foden, Brahim Diaz and the 20-year-old Kosovan goalkeeper Arijanet Muric and, as usual, the league champions had much more of the ball.

De Bruyne, back in the starting line-up for the first time since November 1, put them ahead after 14 minutes, stepping inside on to his right foot beautifully before letting fly with a shot that took a deflection on its way past Danny Ward.

Leicester pressed better in the second half and, by the time their goal came on 73 minutes, it was not undeserved.

The pass into the right channel came from Wilfried Ndidi and Albrighton, who had replaced the less effective Vincent Iborra, took one touch with his right to bring it down and another to dispatch it past Muric.

Telegraph.co.uk

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