Willy Caballero was Manchester City’s hero as they beat Liverpool on penalties to win the Capital One Cup at Wembley,reported the BBC.
The 34-year-old Argentine goalkeeper spectacularly rewarded the faith of manager Manuel Pellegrini with saves from Lucas, Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana in the shoot-out after he was selected ahead of first-choice Joe Hart.
Fernandinho put City ahead just after the break after an error by Liverpool’s otherwise heroic keeper Simon Mignolet. But two glaring misses from former Liverpool forward Raheem Sterling opened the door for Coutinho’s late leveller.
In the shootout, Fernandinho hit a post with City’s first kick, but Jesus Navas and Sergio Aguero were on target as Caballero made his decisive saves, allowing Yaya Toure to convert the winning penalty.
Pellegrini’s loyalty rewarded
Manuel Pellegrini has won three trophies since arriving at Manchester City in June 2013
Pellegrini made a huge call in selecting the veteran Caballero ahead of Hart, particularly in the light of his dreadful display in the 5-1 FA Cup fifth-round defeat by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge a week earlier.
City’s manager has always trusted the keeper he coached at Malaga before bringing him to Manchester – and it was repaid with interest as Caballero made a magnificent stop from Divock Origi’s header before defying Liverpool in the shootout.
The temptation would have been to reinstate Hart after Caballero’s struggles last Sunday but Pellegrini kept to his tried and trusted policy in this competition – and came out a deserved winner.
It ensured at least one trophy for the Chilean coach in his final season before Pep Guardiola takes over, with success in the Premier League and Champions League still a possibility.
in the Premier League and Champions League still a possibility.
Mignolet’s mixed bag
Simon Mignolet was at fault for Manchester City’s goal, but later made some terrific saves
Liverpool keeper Mignolet showed the inconsistency that brings him as much criticism as praise.
The Belgian was badly at fault for letting Fernandinho’s shot slip under his body but redeemed hlmself – and more besides – with some stunning stops from Aguero, and also dived bravely into a six-yard box scramble to clear as City threatened once more.
This, it seems, will always be life with Mignolet in goal but Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp trusts the keeper the extent that he was recently awarded a five-year contract.
It still remains to be seen whether he is the long-term solution because he simply cannot eradicate important errors from his game.
Raheem Sterling has scored 10 goals for Manchester City, but only one in 2016
If Raheem Sterling joined Manchester City’s celebrations with even more gusto than his team-mates, it may have been through relief as much as joy.
This is because if City had lost, the forward who made an acrimonious £49m move from Liverpool in the summer would have carried a large portion of the blame.
Sterling was guilty of two dreadful misses when City were 1-0 up and seeking the second goal that would have eased their path to victory.
The England international steered wide of an open goal when it seemed so much easier to score, then was off target with another perfect opportunity after being set up by Aguero.
Sterling, whose every touch was jeered by Liverpool’s fans after the manner of his departure from the club, got away with it but this was further proof that the weaknesses that have lingered in his game, namely finishing and decision-making, still exist. A work in progress.
Man of the match – Vincent Kompany
Kompany was making his third start since recovering from a calf problem that had kept him out of the side since November
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp: “We feel down but now we have to stand up. Only silly idiots stay on the floor and wait for the next defeat.
“We will strike back. We have felt how it is to lose. It is not the best moment but on Monday morning maybe we can change everything.
“We will go on and we will get better. We have to work really hard, carry on and there is light at the end of the tunnel. This important.”
Man City boss Manuel Pellegrini: “I was concerned about the amount of chances we missed. After that we played better in extra-time.
“It’s a very important moment, and it’s always very special to win a title at Wembley.”