Guardiola denies Tottenham much-desired title
London, Apr 25 (EFE).- Tottenham Hotspur will have to endure another year without winning the EFL Cup after Manchester City’s Aymeric Laporte knocked in a header just eight minutes before the whistle for the 1-0 final win on Sunday.
Man City coach Pep Guardiola said after the match that he enjoyed the win much more with some 8,000 fans in the stands at Wembley Stadium, taking home the League Cup – otherwise known as the Carabao Cup, for sponsorship reasons – for the fourth year in a row.
The Spurs, on the other hand, have gone 13 years without winning a trophy.
This was the first time in 13 months that fans from both teams were allowed inside a stadium in England, although the 90,000-seat venue was far from filled even as coronavirus gathering restrictions are being gradually eased.
Although Harry Kane was back on the pitch after an ankle injury, Tottenham has emerged from a week of chaos during which coach Jose Mourinho was sacked on Monday – replaced with Ryan Mason on an interim basis – and, together with Man City and four other English football clubs, the team withdrew from a proposed European Super League in a whirlwind of anger from fans.
And in the wake of the turmoil, the Spurs were fully outgunned by City’s clearly superior organization and play.
“It’s difficult to take for everyone associated with the football club,” said Mason, a former Tottenham midfielder, after the match, adding “It hurts. I know that feeling and it is normal that they are hurting. This group of players care deeply about this football club. We tried, it wasn’t enough today and it’s tough to take.”
Tottenham tried to play the same kind of defensive game Chelsea mounted a week ago in eliminating City from the FA Cup semifinals, but the Spurs’ defense was much worse than Chelsea’s and they have a midfield lineup that’s much less impressive.
During the first half, Hugo Lloris defended superbly in Tottenham’s net, with good luck to boot, as Raheem Sterling’s drive was blocked by Toby Alderweireld and then the netminder made a fabulous save when Phil Foden fired a blast from point-blank range.
Sterling tried again, firing wide, and Riyad Mahrez got off two great shots that, despite the clear chances, missed by just inches.
Tottenham couldn’t mount any threat worthy of the name until just after play resumed after the break Giovani Lo Celso got a good shot off that Zack Steffen saved in fine style.
Most of the shots on goal were sent netward by City and it was only a matter of time until one found the mark, with Laporte leaping above everyone else to head in a free kick by Kevin De Bruyne.
Mahrez had a goal ruled out for City on an offside call in stoppage time.
The win puts the Manchester squad even with Liverpool in notching eight EFL Cup wins, with three-quarters of them coming in just the past eight years.
Guardiola has accumulated 25 titles and has now gotten the first of a potential threesome – still looking for the Premier League title and the ever-difficult Champions League.
Manchester City: Steffen; Cancelo, Laporte, Dias, Walker; Gündogan, Fernandinho (Rodri, m.84), De Bruyne (Silva, m.87); Foden, Sterling and Mahrez.
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris; Reguilon, Dier, Alderweireld, Aurier (Bergwijn, m.90); Lo Celso (Sissoko, m.67), Hojbjerg (Alli, m.84), Winks; Son, Kane and Moura (Bale, m.67).
Referee: Paul Tierney showed yellow cards to Laporte (m.45) and Fernandinho (m.59) for the local squad and to Reguilon (m.27) the visitors.