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Carabo Cup: Bristol City stun holders Manchester United

An upset of seismic proportions took place at Ashton Gate on Wednesday night!

SNS | New Delhi |

Championship side Bristol City scripted a massive upset at Ashton Gate as they stunned holders Manchester United 2-1 in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals, setting up a two-legged semi-final with Manchester City in the process.

Wednesday’s shock result was the perfect riposte for those questioning the importance the tournament, for the fact that a lower-league side will has made the top four along with Premier League giants such City, Chelsea and Arsenal is the story of the English football season surely.

As expected, Jose Mourinho made several changes to his side and with the likes of Scott McTominay partnering Daley Blind in central midfield as Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera were rested.

Up top, Zlatan Ibrahimovic started for the first time since suffering a serious knee injury in April, with Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba for company.

Bristol City had been impressive in the Championship of late and with their fans cheering them on, gave as good as they got from the off.

United keeper Sergio Romero was called into action on a number of occasions but the first real chance came to United when Martial found Ibra in the box with a cross at the far-post but the Swede’s volleyed effort came off the crossbar, much to the relief of the home support.

Rashford let fly from outside the box and the forward was unlucky not to score with a dipping effort that cannoned off the post in the 21st minute as United began to exert control over proceedings.

Bristol fullback Hordur Magnusson stung Romero’s palms’ with a fierce volley from distance as the hosts continued to threaten on the counter but there was to be no goal in the first 45 minutes, despite concerted efforts from both teams.

United started the second period in the ascendancy, with Rashford coming close to opening the scoring via a deflected effort but Brighton keeper Luke Steele was equal to the task.

It was to be the hosts who would score the opener and what a goal it was.

Marlon Pack released Joe Bryan on the left wing and the winger sent in a thunderous effort that flew into the top corner in the 51st minute to stun their fancied opponents.

United responded by putting the hosts under the pressure and were level within six minutes of conceding. Pogba won a free-kick on the edge of the box and Ibrahimovic scored from the ensuing set-piece to register his first goal of the season.

While the momentum had swung in United’s favour, they were still struggling to be clinical in front of goal.

Romelu Lukaku was brought on by Mourinho after the hour-mark and Henrikh Mkhitaryan soon after but the Red Devils were restricted to half-chances by a dogged Bristol defence.

And as full-time neared, the hosts launched one final attack and were rewarded for their pluck as midfielder Korey Smith neatly turned after controlling an aerial ball and beat Romero to score a memorable 93rd-minute winner to send the home fans into a frenzy.

In the other quarter-final of the night, Chelsea edged Bournemouth 2-1 thanks to Alvaro Morata’s injury-time winner and the subsequent draw pitted the Blues against their arch-rivals Arsenal in the semi-finals while Bristol take on Manchester City.

The Carabao Cup semi-final ties will take place over two legs with the first matches scheduled to be played the week commencing 8th January 2018, and the reverse fixtures the week commencing 22nd January 2018.