City came into their Capital one cup semi final with a one goal deficit after Everton won 2 – 1 at Goodison Park in the first leg through goals from Funes Mori and Lukaku and will meet Liverpool at Wembley on the 28th of February.
There were early warning signs for City as Gerrard Diolefeu exposed the lack of pace of Martin Demichelis. The Spaniard left the Argentine for dead but could not get a telling cross into the box. City grew into the fixture and asserted their dominance with Everton seeming content to sit back and let City have the ball before launching counter attacks of their own. This was perfectly illustrated when Ross Barkley picked the ball up and drove into the heart of the city midfield in the 18th minute after what seemed to be a foul on Agüero and unleashed an unstoppable shot into the bottom corner of City’s goal.
It was merely six minutes later when in the 24th minute, City went on a raid of their own and Fernandinho unleashed shot from the edge of the box which took a wicked deflection off Leighton Baines and past a hapless Joel. One all the scoreline and City were right back in it. Game on!
Barkley was free’d up once again in the 31st minute and attempted a pass across the face of goal to Lukaku but it was intercepted. Another indicator that City were vulnerable to balls in behind and Everton were going to try to exploit that with the pace of Diolefeu and Barkley. The game was heating up as Agüero picked up the ball just outside the box and struck a thunderous shot which whistled past Joel and cannoned onto the upright. This was swiftly followed by an Everton counter attack off the resultant corner but Lukaku couldn’t find his man and City escaped again in what was an exciting first half of cup football.
Everton, in keeping with their counter attack theme from the first half, almost grabbed a second as Diolefeu sprinted down the left and again exposed City’s lack of pace at the back but couldn’t beat Willy Cabarello who made a good save. City responded with an attack of their own when Zabaleta clipped a cross into the box which was met by David Silva but the diminutive Spaniard directed his header onto the post. A lucky escape for the toffees in what was becoming a steady tide of City attacks on the Everton goal.
That Manchester City pressure would eventually tell as Kevin De Bruyne who came off the bench to replace Yaya Toure, finished off a sweeping move when he equalized for City. The goal should not have stood as the ball was out of bounds when Raheem Sterling played the pass that led to the goal in what was a piece of shocking officiating. To add insult to injury, De Bruyne then produced a moment of magic with a delicious cross onto the head of Sergio Agüero who glanced his header into the net to take City 3 -1 up on the day and crucially 4-3 up on aggregate.
Roberto Martinez was furious as refereeing mistakes once again spoiled a good game as it was the De Bruyne goal. Everton had been dangerous on the counter attack but that goal took the wind out of their sails as City advanced to the final. They lost De Bruyne to what looked like a serious injury in the later stages of the game as the Belgian was stretchered off clutching his knee (update on Kevin de Bruyn injury). In the end City were the better team for large periods and created more chances but the spotlight will be on the ref and his assistant who made a glaring error in allowing the De Bruyne goal to stand.