Kevin De Bruyne inspired Manchester City to the League Cup final as they came from behind to record a 4-3 aggregate win over Everton courtesy of a controversial 3-1 victory at the Etihad Stadium.
City had only once before managed to overturn a first-leg deficit in the tournament – way back in 1976, when they beat Middlesbrough before going on to lift the trophy – and their task of emulating that feat was made all the more difficult by Ross Barkley’s fine opening goal.
Manuel Pellegrini’s men responded six minutes later through a deflected Fernandinho effort and the hosts twice hit the woodwork inside the first hour through Sergio Aguero and David Silva, while Everton themselves wasted a great chance to regain the lead through Gerard Deulofeu.
The 2013-14 winners controlled the majority of the play without causing undue trouble for Joel Robles, but substitute De Bruyne scored the goal to level the tie just minutes after coming on – though Everton were furious that a goal kick had not been awarded in the build-up.
De Bruyne turned provider six minutes later for Aguero to head in City’s third and secure their place at Wembley, where they will face Liverpool, who edged past Stoke City on penalties on Tuesday.
A fine comeback finished on a worrying note for City when De Bruyne left the field on a stretcher in stoppage time with what looks like a serious knee injury.