Aymeric Laporte’s header from a Kevin De Bruyne free-kick won the cup for Manchester City
Aymeric Laporte’s late header earned Manchester City their fourth Carabao Cup final victory in a row thanks to a 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur, whose 13-year wait for a major trophy goes on.
Pep Guardiola’s side dominated the first half with their possession, passing and movement, but were unable to turn their control of the final into a half-time lead.
Raheem Sterling had a goal-bound shot from eight yards blocked by Eric Dier, before Toby Alderweireld somehow deflected a close-range effort from Foden onto the post.
Spurs had few opportunities to attack, with Harry Kane largely a spectator, and were thankful to come into the break level. Ryan Mason’s side were more competitive after half-time, with Giovani Lo Celso forcing a good stop out of Zach Steffen.
City had fewer chances after the break and looked to be running out of ideas when Laporte rose highest to head in Kevin De Bruyne’s free kick from six yards.
Here are the player ratings from Wembley Stadium.
Zach Steffen, 7: City’s stand-in goalkeeper was a spectator for most of the first half, but made an important punch from Spurs’ first corner of the match, with Son looking to challenge the rookie goalkeeper with an in-swinging delivery early on. The American had to be sharp after the break to tip Lo Celso’s shot around the post, in what was a good save low down.
Kyle Walker, 6 : A quiet display, given that most of City’s play came down the left and when it was switched to the right, it went to Mahrez. Did a solid job of keeping Son quiet.
Ruben Dias, 8: Another commanding display from the City defender. Was harshly penalised for a sliding tackle on Kane, with replays showing that he had superbly won the ball.
Aymeric Laporte, 8: The centre-back won the cup for City with a towering header from a De Bruyne free kick in the 81st minute. He had a shaky first half in which the defender was caught out twice by Lucas Moura. He should have been booked for the first challenge on the Brazilian, when he hauled Lucas down after he had been caught in possession, but he didn’t get away with it the second time and was booked shortly before half-time.
Joao Cancelo, 7: Integral to City’s dominance due to his positioning high up on the left wing. He pinned Lucas back, beating the forward with a lovely step-over early on. Also dropped into midfield at times to allow Gundogan license to push forward. Tested Loris with a shot from the edge of the box on the stroke of half time, and beat Aurier for fun with a dribble into the box after the break.
Fernandinho, 7: The veteran directed City’s early dominance, with one defence-splitting pass to Sterling opening the Spurs defence up. Was booked for stopping a Spurs counter attack after the break, got onto the end of a De Bruyne cross but was unable to steer his header across goal.
Ilkay Gundogan, 6: Got plenty of touches in and around the Spurs penalty box, and went close with a back-post header following a typical late run into the area, but this wasn’t the City midfielder’s most influential display. Had another chance with a left-foot volley from Sterling’s pull-back, but missed the target.
Kevin De Bruyne, 7 : Almost provided the breakthrough pass with an unbelievably accurate ball from deep that beat Dier’s jump but just evaded Sterling, but had a quiet first half in which he also wasted a free-kick from outside the box by hitting the wall. In the second half his delivery was largely hit-or-miss. This wasn’t a vintage display from the Belgian, but when it counted most, he did deliver, producing a pin-point cross for Laporte to attack and give City the lead.
Riyad Mahrez, 8: The winger was quiet until bursting into life with a curling shot from the angle that whistled past the far post, after showing superb technique to bring the ball and down and beat Reguilon. Fired another shot wide from a more central position moments later, and went close again in the second half when he forced Loris into a diving save.
Phil Foden, 7: Another superb display from the emerging star. Foden was everywhere early on, causing havoc for Spurs in a number of areas. The pace and direction of his dribbling was mesmerising, with one turn-and-go early in the first half impressing in particular in which he left Lo Celso and Reguilon in his dust. Had two chances from inside the six yard box, one was just wide and the other was blocked by Alderweireld. Faded slightly after the break, but still produced moments of quality.
Raheem Sterling, 7: Looked back to his best on the left wing, constantly looking to go past his closest defender and often succeeding. Beat Aurier twice on the left byline before finding Foden with a cut-back, which the England international was unable direct on target. Went close with a header soon after, and almost produced a stunning chip to beat Loris at a tight angle. Continued to be direct after the break, but was unable to find the end product to match the build up.
Bernardo Silva, N/A: Saw plenty of the ball after his late introduction.
Rodri, N/A: Helped City control the final stages.
Hugo Loris, 7: The Spurs captain was under pressure from the opening minute, but the Frenchman was up to the challenge and kept City out until Laporte’s late header. The pick of his saves was a diving stop to deny a curling Mahrez shot from the edge of the box, and he couldn’t do anything to step his compatriot’s header.
Serge Aurier, 6: The right back was often overwhelmed by Sterling, but he made a couple of important recovering tackles on the England winger, notably after Son’s loose back-pass early on.
Eric Dier, 5: Denied Sterling with a vital block from close range after 13 minutes, swivelling his body to make the stop with his leg, but gave the ball away in a dangerous area following a wayward run into midfield. Got bailed out by Alderweireld who made another crucial block to keep City out.
Toby Alderweireld, 6: With Spurs’ backs to the wall, the Belgian somehow diverted Foden’s shot from inside the six yard box onto the post, after failing to clear De Bruyne’s cross from the right. He had Spurs’ first shot of the game when he dragged an effort wide following a corner.
Serge Reguilon. 4: Looked flustered early on as Spurs tried to deal with City’s pressure, even before his wild challenge on De Bruyne earned him a booking on 26 minutes. Struggled to stop Mahrez cutting onto his left foot, and the City winger had the beating of his full-back.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, 5: Had a lot of defensive work to do in the right channel, which was a constant area of concern for Spurs with Sterling, Cancelo and Foden combining, but was unable to affect the match with his work on the ball. He had an excellent chance after the hour mark after being slipped in by Kane on the counter attack, but he elected to try to pass the ball to Reguilon instead of shooting at goal. It was a waste.
Harry Winks, 4 : Back in the fold following the sacking of Jose Mourinho, the midfielder struggled to get his foot on the ball in the first half as Spurs were overwhelmed and starved of possession. Replaced by Sissoko after 65 minutes.
Giovani Lo Celso, 5: The Argentinean was completely ineffective with Spurs on the back foot in the first half, but emerged from the interval to produce his team’s best effort on goal with a curling effort that Steffen had to tip around the post.
Lucas Moura, 7 : After spending much of the first half on the back foot, he gave Spurs some time to breathe by breaking forward on a couple of occasions. He robbed Laporte of possession and was hauled to the Wembley turf before he was again brought down by the Frenchman, which this time was enough for a booking. Looked to be Spurs’ best outlet on the right wing but was brought off after 65 minutes.
Heung-min Son, 5: Put his side in danger after a misplaced back-pass inside the opening five minutes, and things didn’t get much better for the South Korean. He was kept quiet by Walker and was unable to affect the match on the counter attack.
Harry Kane, 5: After the big build up as to whether he was fit enough to play, it was hard to tell if he was actually on the pitch in the first half. Kane was more involved in the second half, but didn’t see much of the ball in dangerous positions, often having to drop into the 10 position to receive it. Spurs had little possession and were forced to defend for much of the final, so even if Kane was fully fit there is an argument to say that he wouldn’t have seen much of the ball anyway, but it’s hard to avoid comparisons to the 2019 Champions League final where Kane was rushed back from injury and also looked off the pace.
Moussa Sissoko, 5: Looked to win the ball back and spring the Spurs counter-attack, which he did after stealing the ball from De Bruyne, but Spurs were wasteful. Allowed Laporte to get a run on him for the match-winning goal.
Gareth Bale, 5: Ineffective after coming on to replace Lucas.
Dele Alli, N/A: Was brought on with Spurs 1-0 down and it was too late to make an impact.
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