Report: Manchester City 2-1 Bristol City
Tuesday, January 9th 2018
Bristol City are far from done in their Carabao Cup semi-final, despite a Sergio Aguero goal at the death in the first-leg clash against Manchester City.
The Robins went head to head with their Premier League opponents at the Etihad Stadium and were in dreamland at the end of the first half.
Bobby Reid scored from the spot - an away goal for Lee Johnson’s side - after he was fouled by John Stones, while Kevin De Bruyne rifled the home side level not long into the second half.
The Robins performed valiantly but Aguero’s last-gasp header completed the 2-1 scoreline.
Head coach Johnson made eight changes to the side which were knocked out of the FA Cup last week, notably Frank Fielding returned to the starting XI with new signing Liam Walsh named among the substitutes.
City arrived at the Etihad knowing it would take another inspired performance to beat England’s best.
They would also have expected their hosts to have a lot of the ball - and they certainly did just that.
DOMINANT WITHOUT PROGRESS
But Manchester City, undefeated in all domestic competitions so far this season, were wasteful with their chances, with a number of attempts failing to even hit the target.
De Bruyne went closest for the hosts after just five minutes, when his cross-come-shot was tipped over the bar by Fielding, as it looped towards the top right corner.
Bernardo Silva was another in among the chances; Sane led a charge into the box, he squared a pass to Silva via a flick by Sterling, but the attacker’s effort deflected wide.
The Robins warmed into the tie though and Joe Bryan, who won goal of the previous round, unleashed a fierce drive which was fumbled by Claudio Bravo.
Johnson’s side then had Fielding to thank as he blocked a Sane cross, before tipping another curling De Bruyne effort over the bar.
At the other end, Paterson unleashed Bryan down the left wing and his cross landed at feet of Marlon Pack, whose fierce, low effort was held by Bravo.
FIRST BLOOD TO BRISTOL CITY
But City led from the spot after John Stones dived in on Bobby Reid as he chased a Josh Brownhill pass. The Robins’ top scorer added to his tally by calmly slotting the ball into the bottom left corner just minutes before half-time.
Man City could have equalised before the break and as Sterling prepared to celebrate after lobbing Fielding, Aden Flint raced back to head the ball for a corner from under his own crossbar.
CITIZENS DRAW LEVEL
The home side appeared to notch their game up a gear after the restart and were level ten minutes into the second half, courtesy of De Bruyne. Fielding had denied Sterling 1v1 but could do little to stop the Premier League’s assist king from scoring not long after. Bravo’s clearance found the Belgian international who drove at the City defence, played an exchange with Sterling before striking first-time beyond the Robins' keeper.
The Robins were looking agitated, their hosts still enjoying possession in abundance and looking to capitalise on that but City weathered the storm and soon settled once more.
But Fielding was still called into action to produce a fantastic reaction save to deny Sterling from close range, before Leroy Sane drilled another low-shot wide of goal and De Bruyne poked another effort beyond the post.
Substitute Walsh struck agonisingly wide of the upright as the minutes ticked by and just when it looked as if they would take 1-1 back to the Gate, up popped the Argentine Aguero.
Guardiola’s City were passing neatly on the edge of the box and when Silva finally crossed into the middle, his teammate rose highest to nod the ball beyond Fielding.
The goal gives Manchester City a 2-1 aggregate lead heading into the semi-final second leg at BS3 in two weeks’ time.