Manchester City won their third consecutive Carabao Cup, and their fifth in seven years, with a tense 2-1 victory over Aston Villa at Wembley.
A much-changed City fully deserved to win, although Rodri’s decisive goal came in controversial circumstances.
Pep Guardiola made eight changes from the team that beat Real Madrid in the Bernabeu, but City still controlled the game and dominated possession throughout.
Sergio Aguero gave them the lead in the 20th minute after a good move involving Rodri and the impressive Phil Foden.
Rodri headed the second from a corner 10 minutes later, though replays showed it should have been a goalkick to Villa.
It looked like City would run riot at that stage, but Ally Samatta brought Villa back into the game just before half-time with a flying header after a laughable mistake from John Stones.
Villa struggled to get the ball in the second half, but they kept the score at 2-1, all the while hoping for one chance. It came in the 88th minute, when Bjorn Engels’ header was shovelled onto the post by Claudio Bravo.
It was a noble defeat for Villa, though that will be little consolation in the immediate aftermath of the game. For City and Guardiola, it was yet another successful trip to Wembley.
Jack Grealish of Aston Villa is consoled by Aston Villa manager Dean Smith during the Carabao Cup Final between Aston Villa and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on March 1, 2020 in London, England.
Image credit: Getty Images
TALKING POINT - City score from the corner that wasn’t
VAR was being used in the Carabao Cup final, which made it harder for Villa to accept the mistake that led to City’s second goal from Rodri. But VAR is never used on restarts, and those in charge will surely look at whether there is a practical solution to a loophole that helped decide such an important match.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Rodri
A masterclass in midfield domination, with and without the ball. Everything went through him when City were in possession, and he also had time to score the second with an emphatic header.
Aston Villa: Nyland 7, Guilbert 6, Engels 7, Mings 7, Targett 6, Douglas Luiz 7, Nakamba 7, Elmohamady 7, Grealish 7, El Ghazi 7, Samatta 7. Subs: Trezeguet 6, Hourihane 7, Davis 6.
Manchester City: Bravo 7, Walker 7, Stones 5, Fernandinho 8, Zinchenko 6, Rodri 9, Gundogan 7, Foden 8, D Silva 6, Sterling 7, Aguero 7. Subs: De Bruyne 6, Bernardo 7, Jesus 6.
Phil Foden of Manchester City and Pep Guardiola, Manager of Manchester City pose with the trophy following their sides victory during the Carabao Cup Final between Aston Villa and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on March 01, 2020 in London, England.
Image credit: Getty Images
20’ GOAL! Aston Villa 0-1 Manchester City (Aguero) City take the lead with an excellently worked goal. Rodri curled an angled pass over the defence to Foden, who headed it down into the path of Aguero on the six-yard line. He twisted his body to hit a first-time shot that took a slight deflection off Mings and beat Nyland.
30’ GOAL! Aston Villa 0-2 Manchester City (Rodri) City score from a wrongly awarded corner. That's surely a killer blow. It's really harsh on Villa, but their defending at the corner wasn't good enough. Gundogan's simple outswinger was met by Rodri, who got in front of Guilbert and planted an accomplished downward header into the net.
41’ GOAL! Aston Villa 1-2 Manchester City (Samatta) Villa are back in it with a fine goal! John Stones made another mistake, falling over and giving the ball to El Ghazi. He headed the ball into space down the left and curled a terrific half-volleyed cross into the middle, where Samatta powered a diving header past Bravo. That was a brilliant finish.
74’ Good save from Nyland! De Bruyne's deep corner was headed down by the unmarked Rodri, who plunged to his left to make a smart save. That was almost a second goal from a corner for Rodri.
88’ Engels hits the post! Targett's inswinging corner was headed towards goal by Engels on the six-yard line, and the diving Claudio Bravo pushed it onto the inside of the post. It went through his hands a little bit, but it was still a priceless save.
- Man City are just the second side to win three consecutive League Cup titles after Liverpool between 1980-81 and 1983-84 (4 in a row). Indeed, only Liverpool (8) have won the competition more times than Man City (7).
- Only Arsenal (6) have finished runners-up more often in League Cup history than Aston Villa (4 – level with Liverpool, Man Utd, Spurs).
- Man City manager Pep Guardiola has now won the League Cup on three occasions (2018, 2019, 2020) – only Alex Ferguson (4), Brian Clough (4) and Jose Mourinho (4) have won the competition more often amongst managers.
- Man City boss Pep Guardiola has won 21 of his previous 25 finals as a top-flight manager, including all six with City (2 Community Shields, 3 League Cups, 1 FA Cup).
- Aston Villa have scored 20 League Cup goals this season, the last side to net 20+ in a single EFL Cup campaign were Manchester City in 2013-14 (22).
- Man City’s Sergio Agüero has scored 10 goals in his last six starts against Aston Villa, while the Argentine has been directly involved in eight goals in 10 appearances at Wembley.
- Since his League Cup debut in November 2011, Man City’s Sergio Aguero has scored more goals in the competition than any other player (11).
- Aston Villa’s Mbwana Samatta became the fifth different African player to score in a League Cup final, after Didier Drogba (four), Joseph-Désiré Job, Obafemi Martins and Yaya Touré.
- Rodri has scored two goals in his last four games for Man City, the same total as he registered in his other 33 games for the club this season.
- Manchester City’s Phil Foden has been directly involved in nine goals in his 10 starts in all competitions this season (2 goals, 7 assists).