London, 8 January 2020 (dpa/MIA) – Manchester City have one foot in the final of the League Cup after they won 3-1 against their neighbour team Manchester United in the first leg of the semi-final on Tuesday.
Bernardo Silva, Riyad Mahrez and an own goal from Andreas Pereira were enough to give City a big advantage.
“The first minutes were tight but then we had an outstanding goal and we played really good,” City manager Pep Guardiola said.
“It’s not over because it is United, they are able to score goals but hopefully we can reach the final again.”
Guardiola left Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Gabriel Jesus on the bench, fielding an extra man in midfield without a recognized striker.
The move paid off as City dominated the first half, taking the lead in spectacular fashion after 17 minutes when Bernardo Silva cut in from the right and unleashed an unstoppable shot into the top corner.
Mahrez doubled their lead on 33 minutes and an own goal from Pereira made it 3-0 seven minutes before half-time.
United produced a vastly-improved performance after the break and Rashford gave them a glimmer of hope with a goal on 70 minutes.
But Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will need a near-miracle to overturn the deficit at The Etihad stadium on Jan 29.
“In the second half they changed their shape and we struggled a little bit to keep the ball,” Guardiola said.
“It is hard to control Rashford because he is so fast.”
“We play United, what do you expect, a 7-0 win? In general it was an incredible performance at Old Trafford.”
Solskjaer admitted that his side were unable to cope with City in the first half.
“A good reaction second half, but first half until they scored it was back and forth,” he said. “We didn’t cope with the setback well enough.
“We didn’t deal with their system well enough, we know they can play that way. They played that way last season and beat Chelsea 5-0.”
But Solskjaer said Rashford’s goal, and the club’s history, gave them hope.
“We’ve shown before we have been down from a home tie and turned it around. PSG (in the Champions League last season) is the latest example and we have to believe that we can put on a performance.”
Leicester City play Aston Villa in the first leg of the second semi-final on Wednesday.