MANCHESTER CITY HAVE booked their place in a third successive League Cup final, but made hard work of disposing of Manchester United 3-2 on aggregate after losing the second leg of their semi-final 1-0 at home on Wednesday.
City enjoyed the vast majority of the chances but could not find a way past the inspired David de Gea and went behind to United’s first attempt on goal 10 minutes before half-time when Nemanja Matic fired home.
However, United’s hopes of completing a miraculous comeback were extinguished when Matic was then sent-off 15 minutes from time and City held on to face Aston Villa at Wembley on March 1.
United had a mountain to climb after losing the first leg 3-1 at home three weeks ago and were without top scorer Marcus Rashford, who played a big part in the Red Devils’ victory when they last visited the Etihad in December.
City started like they did in racing into a 3-0 lead within 38 minutes at Old Trafford as they swarmed all over the visitors, who had De Gea to thank for keeping them in the tie.
Sergio Aguero was first to threaten with a diving header that the Spaniard parried to safety before using his legs to repel Riyad Mahrez’s effort.
Bernardo Silva flashed a shot across goal before more De Gea acrobatics denied Aguero again at his near post.
United had not even mustered a shot in anger for the first 35 minutes, but suddenly the tie was back in the balance when Matic connected sweetly from the edge of the box after City failed to clear a free-kick into the box.
The hosts did have the ball in the net before half-time when Raheem Sterling finished off a flowing team move, but the England international was denied his first ever goal against United by an offside flag.