Manchester City defeated Chelsea 2-0 at the Etihad Stadium to progress through to the round of 16 of the Carabao Cup.
Second-half goals from Riyad Mahrez and Julian Alvarez were enough for Pep Guardiola’s side to secure a deserved victory but they had to rely on second-choice goalkeeper Stefan Ortega making two superb saves from teenager Lewis Hall to preserve their two-goal cushion.
On a satisfying night for the City supporters – who welcomed Raheem Sterling back to the stadium as a Chelsea substitute – it was another player coming on who received the bigger ovation as Kalvin Phillips featured for the first time since September on the eve of the England World Cup squad announcement.
Both managers made seven changes from the weekend but the circumstances felt rather different. It is now two wins in seven for Chelsea under Graham Potter. They will be looking to regroup during the break. Manchester City march on in all competitions.
Ortega and Grealish star for Man City
There are bigger priorities for these two teams right now – and that is before considering the fact that many of these players have a World Cup around the corner – but Jack Grealish was in the mood to entertain from the start, running at the Chelsea defence with real purpose.
The problem for Manchester City was that Chelsea’s deep defence managed to restrict them to longer-range strikes in the first half. Ilkay Gundogan curled a free-kick just over the bar and Grealish had a shot saved by Edouard Mendy. It was Chelsea who had the best chance before the break.
Playing largely on the counter-attack, it fell to Hall after the young wing-back did superbly to engineer the space for himself inside the City box. He found the target with his shot but also found the outstretched right foot of goalkeeper Ortega. It was a warning for City.
They heeded it by upping the tempo after the interval with Grealish again to the fore. The opener came after a period of play in which he tested Mendy to the limit. The goalkeeper was up to those challenges, saving to his left and right, but was motionless as Mahrez’s free-kick passed him.
Source: Sky Sports