Manchester City will get the chance to defend their EFL Cup title in the final against Aston Villa after beating Manchester United 3-2 on aggregate, despite Nemanja Matic – who was also sent off – inflicting a 1-0 defeat in Wednesday’s second leg.
City produced a wonderful display in the first meeting at Old Trafford and were arguably unlucky to only win 3-1, though it proved to be enough to send Pep Guardiola’s men to Wembley even though they failed to meet expectations at home.
Despite finding themselves under extreme pressure at times in the first half, United managed to go into the break ahead thanks to Matic’s satisfying strike in the 35th minute, casting some uncertainty over City’s command of the tie.
But United were unable to use that goal as a launchpad, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men failed to craft further meaningful chances and Matic’s late dismissal for a second booking effectively ended their hopes.
City looked eager to kill off United’s chances as early as possible, with Sergio Aguero and Riyad Mahrez forcing David de Gea into fine saves in the first seven minutes.
United weathered that storm and took the lead just past the half-hour mark – Matic slamming a crisp half-volley into the bottom-right corner after Fred’s delivery was only partially cleared.
Raheem Sterling seemingly erased United’s lead just before half-time when he turned Bernardo Silva’s pass home, but the England international had strayed offside.
Sterling had another opportunity in the 58th minute when he was played through on goal, but after checking back to evade Victor Lindelof and then De Gea, he blazed his effort over from 12 yards.
United were reduced to 10 men 14 minutes from time when Matic cynically tripped Ilkay Gundogan to halt a counter-attack, and City had little difficulty seeing out their aggregate win from there despite Aguero’s late strike being disallowed for offside.