Match report: Man City 0-0 Wolves AET (4-1 on penalties)
- City through to the Carabao Cup quarter-finals
- Tough result to take for Wolves and their 6,000 travelling fans as Claudio Bravo's heroics see City scrape through
Manchester City are through to the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup following their penalty shoot-out victory against a valiant Wolverhampton Wanderers side.
Despite the victory, it was far from plain sailing for City with extra-time and penalties needed for them to finally see off the Championship’s table toppers. Wanderers and their strong travelling contingent of over 6,000 fans will have been left thinking what could have been after they fluffed several good chances which could have seen them through in normal time.
As was expected, City enjoyed the bulk of the game’s possession but Wolves always looked a threat on the counter-attack. Both sides were far from full strength on the night but Pep Guardiola still managed to squeeze a few of City’s big guns into his starting line-up, including the likes of Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus and Yaya Toure.
Aguero looked as busy as ever and enjoyed the first good chance of the game when he hit a rasping shot from just outside the area only to be denied well by Wolves’ keeper Will Norris. Unusually Aguero struggled to find his shooting boots on the night and missed a couple more chances just a few minutes later. The Argentinian striker first put the ball wide after being played in by Raheem Sterling and shortly after blazed a shot over the bar after connecting with a powerful volley from the edge of the box.
While City were enjoying sustained pressure, Wolves were still giving as good as they got when given the opportunity to attack. Defender Ryan Bennett was the first Wolves player to test the gloves of Claudio Bravo – a man who would later prove to be City’s hero on the night – when he tried to convert home with his head but was denied.
Bright Enobakhare was one of several Wolves players to cause City’s defence problems but like Aguero and the Manchester City attack, he could not quite find the finishing touch needed to see the ball into the back of the net.
City continued to press after the half-time break but Wolves and their proverbial brick wall of a defence remained strong. Chances came and went for both sides and as the game wore on it looked increasingly likely that either side could snatch it with a solitary goal.
Like City, Wolves themselves continued to look increasingly dangerous and gradually came into the game more and more backed by their vocal away support which seemed to get louder and louder as the game progressed. Helder Costa came close on 65 minutes but was denied by City’s last line of defence, Bravo.
The final chance of the game fell to Wolves’ Enobakhare in injury time but once again, to the agony of the Wolves fans, Bravo saved well.
Extra time was a similar story to normal time with the introductions of Leroy Sane and Kyle Walker unable to change anything for the Premier League hosts. The likes of Aguero, Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne continued to pepper Wolves’ goal but they stood tall and forced the game to penalties.
It was City who came out on top 4-1 in the shootout as they converted every penalty they took and Bravo saved, first from Alfred N’Diaye and then Conor Coady. Despite not being able to score within normal time, Aguero got the final say as his cool ‘Panenka’ penalty won the game for City and saw them through to the quarter-finals.
The result could have been very different had Wolves taken their three or four good chances within the game and defeat will be a little bit of a bitter pill to swallow. However, they go out of the Carabao Cup with their heads held high after not conceding a goal in the competition and after a spirited performance which saw them become the first team this season to stop Man City scoring in a game.
As for City it was far from convincing but they are now 14 games unbeaten this season and are just are two games away from the Carabao Cup final as they go into the hat for Thursday’s quarter-final draw.