Manchester City won the League Cup for a record-equaling fourth time in succession with a deserved victory over a disappointing Tottenham Hotspur side at Wembley.
City defender Aymeric Laporte, arguably fortunate to be on the pitch after escaping a yellow card in the first half before being cautioned after the break, rose above Spurs substitute Moussa Sissoko to head home Kevin de Bruyne’s free-kick eight minutes from time.
It was appropriate reward for City creating a host of chances and dominating Spurs, who did not enjoy any sort of positive reaction from sacking manager Jose Mourinho on Monday and replacing him with caretaker Ryan Mason.
The final was played in front of 8,000 supporters, including 2,000 from each club – and it was a delight to hear noise inside Wembley’s vast arena once more.
City’s victory equalled Liverpool’s achievement in the early 1980s of winning the competition four years in a row, as well as matching the Reds’ overall tally of eight triumphs, and manager Pep Guardiola said his players are motivated by such milestones.
“That is what these players give for the future generations of this club. It is not winning [just] one title,” Guardiola told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“This team in the last decade was the team in England – since Roberto Mancini won the Premier League, this team wins a lot of times in England.
“It’s nice, four Carabao Cups in a row, it means consistency in the team to be there. We beat Arsenal and Manchester United on the way so we can say we deserved to win this competition.
“The way we played was fantastic and it’s nice when you win a title. The most impressive thing is in the last 33 games we won 30.”
City start their silverware collection
Guardiola’s face was a picture of happiness at the end of a week that saw Manchester City heavily criticised as one of the Premier League clubs involved in the ill-fated and quickly abandoned European Super League.
No-one can begrudge City or Guardiola this moment of joy and piece of history, with Laporte’s winner finally making the breakthrough that their performance – top class in so many areas apart from end product – merited.
Riyad Mahrez was outstanding while Raheem Sterling was tireless – even if his finishing touch still eludes him.