LEICESTER CITY 1, MANCHESTER CITY 3
Manchester City strolled to a morale boosting rare away victory in the Capital One Cup as they smashed the Foxes 3-0 to earn themselves a place in the Semi Finals. Aleksandar Kolarov’s free kick and two Edin Dzeko goals saw off a Leicester side looking to earn promotion from the Championship. Victory came at a cost, however, as Pablo Zabaleta succumbed to an early hamstring injury and had to come off just as his fellow right back Micah Richards did a week ago in Munich.
There had only been three survivors from last weekend’s Arsenal game as City Manuel Pellegrini shuffled his squad – captain Vincent Kompany, Zabaleta and David Silva fielded against a virtually full strength Leicester side but Zabaleta lasted only ten minutes before succumbing to a hamstring injury which left the Argentine visibly frustrated.
Kolarov had already put City into the lead in the eighth minute with an impeccably hit free kick, off a two stride run-up, which rose above the wall and dipped under the bar and just beyond the fingertips of Kaspar Schmeichel at full stretch.
With only six substitutes on a bench conspicuously missing Stevan Jovetic who fell ill an hour before the game, Pellegrini opted for Dedryck Boyata to replace the stricken Zabaleta and City’s threat going forward was only slightly blunted.
Indeed, it was former City ‘keeper Schmeichel who kept Leicester in the game for as long as he could. A brave save from a point blank Dzeko shot cheered the home support but the Bosnian was at it again as James Milner proved that his performance in Munich was no fluke and cunningly created space for another Dzeko effort that shaved the post.
Dzeko finally got his deserved goal with five minutes to go to half time. Milner unselfishly played in Dzeko with a chip with his left foot and his downward header bounced into the back of the net.
Joe Hart endured a quiet night, his first save from a toothless Leicester side coming in the second half from an Andy King chance which was easily dealt with by Hart.
Dzeko finished off the tie after just 53 minutes. James Milner cut the ball back from the byline and Dzeko found himself in acres of spaces and polished off the Foxes past a motionless Schmeichel and his statuesque defenders with a scrappy shot. It was his seventh goal in eight League Cup appearances for City and his ninth in all competitions this season. Job done, it seemed, and City started to relax.
Just when it looked like City were done and dusted, Leicester pulled a late goal back after Paul Konchesky’s cross teed up Lloyd Dyer and his left footed shot took a deflection off Vincent Kompany’s thigh and beat Hart. The Foxes barely deserved the goal and a section of their fans celebrated with a tribute ‘Poznan’ but it gave the last 13 minutes a frisson of concern for the travelling City fans.
City did wobble a couple of times in the closing stages but they held out for victory.