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Carabao Cup: Sergio Aguero pounces to give Manchester City edge into 2nd leg

The Sky Blues were made to work hard for the win at the Etihad Stadium!

SNS | New Delhi |

Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero came off the bench to score a 92nd-minute winner as the Sky Blues edged Bristol City 2-1 in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final at the Etihad Stadium.

Pep Guardiola sprung a surprise with his team selection, opting to send out the Premier League leaders without a recognised striker as winger Raheem Sterling lead the line in a ‘false-nine’ role.

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Bristol, who had stunned the mighty Manchester United in the previous round, managed to keep City from scoring in the first-half.

A mighty feat, but one made even more special due to the fact that the brave Robbins held a slender lead courtesy of Bobby Reid’s penalty a minute from half-time.

John Stones had brought down Reid in the box and match referee Anthony Taylor correctly pointed to the spot and the dreadlocked striker put the ensuing spot-kick in the back of the net, despite City keeper Claudio Bravo managing to get a hand to the ball.

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City, unsurprisingly, dominated the possession stats, with Bristol threatening on the break and via set-pieces.

Kevin De Bruyne twice, from a near-identical position on the pitch, forced Frank Fielding to scramble and tip the ball over the bar. Ilkay Gundogan and Bernardo Silva came close too, but neither midfielder was at their clinical best while Bravo made a couple of smart stops to deny the visitors.

Bristol were braced for a City onslaught in the second-half and De Bruyne was the man who would finally end their stubborn resistance with a fine finish after Sterling set him up in the 55th minute.

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With over half an hour to play, it seemed inevitable City would find a second and perhaps, a third, but the Robbins’ rearguard stymied their fancied opponents time and again.

Pep Guardiola sent on Aguero to find a way to break the impasse and the striker would do as his manager asked deep in injury-time.

Bernardo Silva’s delightful cross into the box was met by the head of City’s all-time top scorer to break Bristol City hearts and give the Citizens a slender but important lead going into the second leg.

The two sides will face-off in the return leg on January 23rd at Ashton Gate while Arsenal take on Chelsea in the first leg of the second second semi-final at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night.