Soccer-Man City win record-breaking fourth League Cup in a row, per Reuters

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© Reuters. Soccer Soccer – Carabao Cup Final – Tottenham Hotspur v Manchester City

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By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) – Manchester City claimed a fourth consecutive League Cup triumph, tying the record, as late header Aymeric Laporte sealed a deserved 1-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

Spurs had absorbed intense pressure from City for most of the game to remain in contention at Wembley Stadium.

But City finally made the breakthrough in the 82nd minute from an unlikely source as defender Laporte met Kevin de Bruyne’s free kick and passed goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

A combination of Lloris, last-minute defense and a poor finish from City had kept the 8,000 spectators spellbound, but in the end Pep Guardiola’s side got their payoff.

They have now equaled Liverpool‘s feat of winning the competition for four consecutive seasons and have also joined Liverpool with the most League Cup wins out of eight.

Tottenham, who had rookie manager Ryan Mason on the sideline after Jose Mourinho’s sacking last week, produced a disappointing performance and their wait for a first trophy since the 2008 League Cup victory continues.

Following City’s FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea last weekend, they scored the first part of what they hope will be a hat-trick, with the Premier League title nearly in the sack and a semi – Champions League final to come against Paris St Germain. .

THE JOY OF GUARDIOLA

Although the League Cup was lower than Guardiola’s priorities, there was nothing to hide his joy as he became the first coach to win the League Cup in four consecutive seasons.

This had added further significance as the final was played in front of the largest crowd since Britain entered a first COVID-19 lockdown last March – one of the government’s test events to bring fans back to safety in places while restrictions are simplifying.

“It’s not full, but it was a big noise,” said Guardiola, who has now won 30 trophies as a manager since joining Barcelona in 2008.

“Today we’re incredibly happy to have four in a row in this competition. We tried to win the game, we created a lot of chances. They had a few chances on the clock but overall, we had a good game. “

City’s 2,000 licensed fans serenaded their squad at the end with the club’s Blue Moon anthem, though they would have had a more relaxing afternoon in the sun had their side turned their overwhelming first-half dominance into goals.

How the final reached halftime still at 0-0 was mysterious with Phil Foden shooting at close range then seeing another effort deflected off the post.

Raheem Sterling tormented Tottenham’s defense and he was denied when his shot on goal was stopped by the desperate blocking of Toby Alderweireld.

Riyad Mahrez sent a superb incline practice of agonizing breadth although it wasn’t until the first half timeout that Lloris made his first save, diving down to claw the curler Joao Cancelo.

Tottenham improved slightly after the break with England striker Harry Kane declared ready to leave after an ankle injury that put his place in doubt, eventually entering the game.

Giovani Lo Celso almost gave Spurs an unlikely lead when he picked his spot, but City’s Zack Steffen lived up to his effort, pushing the ball around the post.

The zipper strayed slightly from City’s attacks, but Lloris was still a busy man, hampering the efforts of City skipper Fernandinho and Mahrez and skipper Fernandinho.

Tottenham rookie manager Mason sent Gareth Bale around 25 minutes to go and the stage looked set for the Welshman to produce an unlikely turn.

But justice was served in the end when Laporte found a space to direct De Bruyne’s perfect delivery into the net for just his second goal of the season.

Tottenham’s only gripe was that Laporte may have been lucky enough to escape punishment for a tackle in the first half and was then booked in the second half.

In truth, however, they were by far the second best.



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