After knocking off Everton in late, dramatic fashion (FULL RECAP) on Wednesday, Manchester City are off to Wembley, where they’ll face Liverpool on Sunday, Feb. 28 for the 2015-16 League Cup trophy.
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Wednesday’s triumph and subsequent place in the League Cup came at a price, though, as Man City manager watched helplessly from the sideline as Kevin De Bruyne, scorer of the semifinal-equalizing goal and assister of the semifinal-winning goal, was carried off on a stretcher after the Belgian’s knee buckled underneath him during second-half stoppage time.
After the game, Pellegrini gave a brief update but cautioned that a further examination will be required to realize the full extent of the injury — quotes from the BBC:
“It is difficult to know. He is with the doctor, it could be the medial ligament. Tomorrow we will have more news but it is not a nice injury.”
The good news here is that Pellegrini claims De Bruyne damaged his medial collateral ligament (MCL), rather than his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). The latter typically carries a much longer recovery time — measured in months, rather than weeks — than the former. There is perhaps a slim chance De Bruyne could be back in action for the showdown at Wembley in 32 days’ time.
That the Sky Blues are currently neck and neck with Leicester City and Arsenal for the Premier League title (three points back of Leicester and level with Arsenal), is the real cause for concern; De Bruyne has been sensational in his first season in Manchester, chipping in with five league goals and nine assists in 19 appearances.
As for the final, the accomplishment and sense of occasion isn’t lost on Pellegrini, who led Man City to League Cup triumph in 2014. Speaking after the game, the Chilean was beaming with pride at reaching his second Wembley final in just his third season in charge at the Etihad Stadium — quotes from the BBC:
“We have one month to think about the final. It will be a tough game and we are optimistic we will win the cup.It is important for the team to win a cup in February, it gives you a lot of trust.
“Wembley is a special stadium.”
“We deserved to be in the final, we had just one defeat — that was against Everton with a clear penalty.
“They scored at 1-0 and it was a clear foul. If you think because of that ball [Sterling to de Bruyne], that is not why we won.
“We won because we scored three goals and Everton had just one chance.”