Moments after the delayed match at the Britannia Stadium saw Manchester United complete the competition’s last four, the League Cup’s semifinal draw kept the Red Devils separated from their Manchester rivals, City having made the penultimate round after defeating Leicester on Tuesday. Instead, the Premier League’s holders will face Sunderland in one of the competition’s two-leg semis, while Manuel Pellegrini’s quest for his first piece of English silverware continues against West Ham.
Sunderland advanced to the semifinals on Tuesday after their 2-1, extra time win over Chelsea, with Ki Sung-Yeung’s 118th minute goal vaulting the Black Cats past the Premier League’s second place club. On Wednesday, West Ham joined Sunderland as competition cinderellas, coming back for a 2-1 win over Tottenham at White Hart Lane.
Continuing those upset ways will prove more difficult for Sunderland and West Ham in the next round, and not merely because the competition may prove greater. As opposed to the FA Cup, the League Cup features home-and-away semifinals before its cup-decider at Wembley. The first legs will be played at the Stadium of Light and Etihad Stadium during the week of Jan. 6, while the return legs will begin two weeks later.
Whereas the draw could have pitted the tournament’s two remaining favorites against each other in the semis — a matchup we saw in 2010 when Manchester United eliminated City en route to a second straight title — we’re instead left with two ‘magic of the Cup’ draws. If, however, that magic dies out, the Manchester Derby will move east to Wembley on March 2, with one of England’s highest profile rivalries to be waged with silverware on the line.
First, however, the semis:
League Cup Semifinals
Leg One: Week of January 6
Sunderland vs. Manchester United
Manchester City vs. West Ham United
Leg Two: Week of January 20
Manchester United vs. Sunderland
West Ham United vs. Manchester City
This Week’s Results
Zlatan Ibrahimovic joined Paris Saint-Germain in 2012, and he is already the club’s all-time leading scorer.
After scoring both of PSG’s goals in a 2-1 win over Marseille today, Zlatan’s tally is up to 110 goals for the club, eclipsing Pauleta’s mark of 109. However, Pauleta needed 79 more matches to reach that number.
Zlatan has scored at a blistering pace since moving to Paris, having seasons of 35, 41, and 30 goals in his first three years at the club. Early into his fourth season with PSG, he has four goals through seven matches.
Not only has Zlatan achieved great success individually during his time at Parc des Princes, the club has dominated French football during his tenure.
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Since Zlatan moved to Paris in 2012, the club has won three consecutive Ligue 1 titles, two League Cups, and one French Cup. During that time, Zlatan was twice named Ligue 1 Player of the Year and won two Golden Boots as the league’s top scorer.
Zlatan’s contract with PSG is up at the end of this season, and it has been long suspected that he will move on and join a new club next summer. Despite turning 34 earlier this month, Zlatan has proven his is still one of the world’s elite goalscorers, and will have his choice of clubs should he leave PSG.
Luciano Vietto scored with less than ten minutes to play to earn a draw for Atletico Madrid against their crosstown rivals Real.
Karim Benzema had given Real Madrid an early lead, heading home a cross from Dani Carvajal in the ninth minute. While Cristiano Ronaldo may get all the headlines, Benzema has been superb for Real, scoring six goals in seven La Liga matches this season.
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Atletico had a golden opportunity to draw level in the 22nd minute when the hosts were awarded a penalty, but Keylor Navas made a brilliant save to deny Antoine Griezmann, keeping Real ahead.
Still trailing 1-0, Diego Simeone made a substitution for Atletico in the 58th minute, bringing in Luciano Vietto for some added strength on the attack. It was the 21-year-old’s first taste of a Madrid derby, and he proved to be ready for the pressure.
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With the clock winding down, Jackson Martinez played a cross in from the left wing, and after a slight scramble in the box, the young Vietto cleaned up the scraps to level the score in the 83rd minute.
The result leaves Real Madrid second in La Liga, one point behind leaders Villarreal, while Atletico sits fifth, three points off the leaders.