With Villa, Leicester, City and United going head to head, it really is all to play for…
Carabao Cup semi-final second legs, from Tuesday 28 January, Sky Sports Football/HD (CH 513/503)
Congratulations, you’ve almost made it through to the end of January! Your reward? Two nights of unmissable Carabao Cup semi-final action, live and exclusive on Sky Sports.
With the first legs done and dusted, the drama continues when Aston Villa host Leicester City and Manchester City entertain rivals United in a pair of massive second-leg encounters. But who is ready to take a step closer to getting their hands on the season’s first major piece of domestic silverware?
There’s only one way to find out, of course, but if these classic semi-final second legs from the tournament’s recent history are anything to go by, we suggest you fasten your seatbelt…
A thriller at the Villa (2010)
Aston Villa’s semi-final against Blackburn started with a whimper. The Villans won the first leg 1-0 at Ewood Park, thanks to a James Milner penalty. Yeah, you get the idea. The second leg? Well, that’s when it all went bonkers. With both defences forgetting everything they had learned in that week’s training, a giddy clash containing no fewer than ten goals saw the hosts win 6-4 on the night and 7-4 on aggregate. This was one of those games where a kind of collective madness takes over, allowing both teams to produce something wildly memorable – and offensive to the eyes of purists everywhere.
An old boy haunts City (2012)
Ding-dong battles between Liverpool and Manchester City aren’t just the preserve of the last few seasons. Back in 2012 (that’s eight years ago, people!), these rivals gave us an electric encounter at Anfield. City headed to Merseyside 1-0 down after the first leg, only for the tie to be level at 2-2 on aggregate with just over 20 minutes to go in a pulsating second. That would have been enough to put Roberto Mancini’s men through on away goals. But a lot can happen in just over 20 minutes at Anfield. Former City striker Craig Bellamy scored the decisive goal for Liverpool, sending Kenny Dalglish’s Reds through to the final with a 3-2 aggregate win.
The Bantams banish the big boys (2013)
No strangers to a spot of giant-killing, Bradford City became the first fourth-tier side in over 50 years to reach the League Cup final after seeing off the Premier League’s Aston Villa in 2013. While the Bantams won the first leg at home 3-1, it was the return encounter that really cranked up the drama. The Villans clinched a 2-1 victory following the nerviest of finales, but it was Bradford who scraped through with a 4-3 aggregate triumph. Then they got battered 5-0 by Swansea in the final. Oh, football. You cruel mistress.
So near yet so far for Bristol (2018)
Having memorably knocked out Manchester United in the 2018 quarter-finals, surely Bristol City weren’t about to go one better and dump out Manchester City in the semis? The short answer is no, but it very nearly happened. Sergio Agüero’s injury-time winner helped the Premier League titans to a 2-1 victory at the Etihad in the first leg, before a five-goal thriller went the visitors’ way in the second. Pep Guardiola’s superstars were made to work for it in the West Country, with Kevin De Bruyne’s late goal putting the final nail in the Championship side’s coffin.
Carabao Cup semi-final second legs on Sky Sports
Aston Villa v Leicester City, Tuesday 28 January, 6.45pm, Sky Sports Football/HD (CH 513/503)
Manchester City v Manchester United, Wednesday 29 January, 6.45pm, Sky Sports Football/HD (CH 513/503)
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