Thursday, 28 January 2016

Capital One Cup Semi Finals Review

After the first legs were both settled by a single goal advantage, the 'Road to Wembley' was far from completed as the four sides faced off in the second legs across Tuesday and Wednesday.

Tuesday night saw Liverpool host Stoke City at Anfield with the Reds looking to reach a 12th League Cup final while the Potters needed to overturn a 1-0 deficit to avoid an exit at the penultimate stage. The Reds look to have completed the first half still ahead in the tie but Stoke had other ideas as Marko Arnautovic put the visitors ahead on the night and levelled the tie at 1-1 on aggregate. The 1-0 lead for Stoke lasted until the end of the 90 minutes meaning a period of extra time which saw the sides remain level going into a penalty shootout.

Both sides made mixed starts but Jon Walters, Glenn Whelan, Ibrahim Affelay, Xherdan Shaqiri and Marco van Ginkel were all on target for Stoke, while Adam Lallana, Christian Benteke, Roberto Firmino, James Milner and Lucas were successful for Liverpool but the crucial spot kick came from Joe Allen who sealed a 6-5 win in sudden death. 

Wednesday night saw Manchester City host Everton at the Etihad Stadium with City hoping to overturn the Blues' 2-1 advantage from the first leg. The Toffees doubled their aggregate advantage as early as the 18th minute as Ross Barkley bemused the home defence to slot in for 1-0 and 3-1 overall. Fernandinho levelled the score on the night just six minutes later to make it 3-2 overall. The visitors were looking good as their advantage continued deep into the second half but they were soon behind on the night and controversially as Kevin De Bruyne scored from a cross that had come from the ball being out of play and City wrapped a 3-1 win and 4-3 aggregate success in the 76th minute with a Sergio Aguero strike.