Carabao Cup: Sergio Aguero gives Man City a late win against Bristol City
Premier League leaders will take a one-goal advantage into the semi-final second leg
Manchester City 2 Bristol City 1
The comeback kids did it again last night, fighting back from a half-time deficit to emerge victorious at the end of a hard-fought Carabao Cup semi-final first-leg.
It’s the sixth time this season that City have scored a late winner. Sergio Aguero’s stoppage time goal broke the hearts of the Bristol City faithful who for nearly an hour believed their boys might be the first to win at the Etihad this season.
Bobby Reid put the Championship side ahead with a first-half penalty after he was brought down by John Stones. Bristol City clung on to their lead until ten minutes into the second period.
Kevin de Bruyne levelled for the Premier League leaders after a neat one-two with Raheem Sterling, but Bristol City dug deep for the rest of the match in the hope of starting the second leg at Ashton Square all-square.
But two minutes into injury time, up popped substitute Aguero to head home Bernardo Silva’s cross.
“Without that spirit you can’t win trophies in any competition in the world,” said Pep Guardiola, when asked about his side’s string of late winners.
“It is easy in the good moments to handle the situation but it is even better in the bad moments when you find out how you react to those situations, and we try until the last minute.
“That is why we succeed so much... and that is going to be really important, I would say essential, in competitions like the Champions League.”
Nonetheless the City manager was full of praise for his Championship opponents. “Both teams tried to play,” he said. “I have a lot of respect for what they have done... they had courage to play and that is why I think the game was really good for both sides.”
Guardiola had a brief chat with Lee Johnson after the game, which the Bristol City manager described as “an interesting conversation… that I can pass on to the players.” Johnson also said he would pass on the “credit and the kudos that he has given our football team for coming here and trying to play our way”.
Despite conceding a second goal late on, Bristol City are still very much in the tie. Johnson says they’ll go into the second leg on 23 January with confidence.
“There was some really good play and some really good individual performances and I think that the world has seen what Bristol City are about,” he said.
“It is half-time and we have got the away goal and that is important. We are still in the tie, the buzz continues and the build-up to the game will be very exciting.”