Manchester City continued their imperious stranglehold over the League Cup with a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa in the final last Sunday as goals from Sergio Aguero and Rodri secured the trophy for a third straight season.
City, who have now won the competition in five of the last seven campaigns, dominated much of the Wembley clash and should have been home and dry when they took a 2-0 lead after half an hour with Aguero’s strike in the 20th minute and a Rodri header.
Yet Tanzanian striker Mbwana Samatta headed home for Villa just before halftime, following a bizarre slip from City defender John Stones, to fuel their hopes of a comeback.
The second half failed to live up to the first, however, with few clear chances until City keeper Claudio Bravo pulled off a remarkable save to push Bjorn Engels’ header against the post and out in the 87th minute.
City are the first side to win the competition for three seasons in a row since Liverpool claimed four straight titles from 1981 to 1984. City has won it seven times and trail record-holders Liverpool who has lifted the trophy on eight occasions.
“Three times in a row is a big success. It’s the consistency, incredible,” said City’s Spanish coach Pep Guardiola.
“It was awesome. We struggled in the first minutes and the last ones. They had two clear chances in the first minutes but we played really well, especially in the second half.”
The victory dispelled some of the disappointment that has hung over the club after they were hit by a two-season European ban for allegedly flouting UEFA’s financial rules.
While City’s Premier League title defence is in tatters, as they trail leaders Liverpool by 22 points, Guardiola’s side remains in the hunt for a treble which would be the envy of most clubs, with the FA Cup and Champions League still up for grabs.