As far as formalities go, Manchester City’s task of seeing a nine-goal advantage over the line against Burton Albion in Wednesday’s League Cup semifinal second leg might be best describe as overkill.
The defending Premier League champions completed their rout of the League One side, 1-0 on the day and 10-0 on aggregate, to reach what will be the club’s fourth League Cup final in six seasons on Feb. 24. They have lifted the Cup on each of their previous three trips to the final.
Man City will face the winner of the other semifinal, set to be decided on Thursday. Tottenham Hotspur’s slim 1-0 lead will be put to the test by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Despite his side’s 9-0 lead following an overwhelming demolition job in the first leg, Pep Guardiola named a handful of first-team regulars and fringe players in Wednesday’s team. Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez and Fabian Delph were picked for the starting lineup.
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For 25 minutes, City enjoyed a three-quarters majority of the ball and did little more than roll it around Pirelli Stadium. While it took the PL giants longer to open the scoring on Wednesday than in the first leg (five minutes), it didn’t take too terribly long for Aguero to break the deadlock and threatened to reopen the floodgates in the 26th minute.
Burton came closest to a consolation goals in the 70th minute, when they won possession in the middle third of the field and quickly countered. Goalkeeper Arijanet Muric had been beaten, but 18-year-old defender Eric Garcia was perfectly positioned to clear the ball off the line.