Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are still in the hunt for every piece of silverware available to them at the start of the season, having advanced to the semi-finals of the EFL Cup with a penalty shootout win over Leicester City.
Bernardo Silva had given City a first-half lead and the Premier League leaders looked to be heading straight through only for Leicester to be awarded a contentious penalty in stoppage time, which Jamie Vardy duly converted.
Extra-time soon followed, with Leicester coming closest to stealing victory. Riyad Mahrez testing Claudio Bravo and Vardy unlucky not to be awarded another penalty following a clumsy tackle from Danilo. It finished 1-1 and the tie was to be settled from the spot.
Following the ABBA system, Christian Fuchs stepped up to fire Leicester in front, before Ilkay Gundogan and Yaya Toure put City into a 2-1 lead. Harry Maguire and Vicente Iborra coolly responded for the Foxes, before City debutant Lukas Nmecha made it 3-3.
Vardy then stepped up with his second penalty of the evening but fired wide of the left-hand post, allowing Gabriel Jesus the chance to restore City’s advantage, which he took with ease.
Mahrez was then tasked with scoring and hoping Ben Hamer would save to bring it to sudden death, but the Algerian’s spot-kick was stopped by Claudio Bravo and City progressed to the semi-finals having won 4-3 on penalties.
The result means City have now twice required spot-kicks to see them through in the EFL Cup, having beaten Wolverhampton Wanderers on penalties earlier in the season. The Blues remain unbeaten domestically this season, with a Champions League defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk the only minor blemish on an otherwise faultless campaign.
City’s young guns – Oleksandr Zinchenko, Nmecha and Phil Foden – all impressed on the night, and while the stars continue the steal the headlines, Tuesday’s hard-fought win also shows that the future is bright at the Etihad.
Jordan Norris, Pundit Arena