West Ham's fine season continues as they knock out Carabao Cup holders Man City on penalties

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West Ham's fine season continues as they knockout Carabao Cup holders Man City on penalties - AFP
West Ham's fine season continues as they knockout Carabao Cup holders Man City on penalties - AFP

The remarkable rise of West Ham United under David Moyes continues as they became the first team to beat Manchester City in the Carabao Cup in more than five years – in 1,827 days, to be precise – stretching over 21 ties. It took a raucous penalty shoot-out to do it, with Phil Foden missing from the spot before Said Benrahma scored the decisive kick, but there will be a new name on the League Cup for the first time since 2018.

As Benrahma’s effort hit the net, despite goalkeeper Zack Steffen getting a hand to it, and he sprinted into the crowd amid chaotic scenes, Moyes modestly raised his arm in celebration before going over to shake Pep Guardiola’s hand. It was incredibly understated but maybe showed just how focused the West Ham manager is at present.

“He drives this football club on a daily basis and anyone approaching 1,000 matches has to be taken seriously,” Stuart Pearce, Moyes’s assistant, said. “We feel we are on a building process and hard work underpins everything we do. He is developing this club and growing this club.”

Moyes certainly is and Guardiola was generous in his praise. “Fantastic team, fantastic manager,” he said and West Ham – up to fourth in the Premier League and with a 100 per cent record in the Europa League, and having beaten Manchester United in the previous round – have now earned a place in the last eight and will fear no one. They are a resolute, resilient, dangerous team and although City spurned the better chances and dominated possession, with 64 per cent, it was far from a one-sided contest. West Ham had two very good opportunities of their own.

Both teams made wholesale changes – eight by West Ham, topped by City’s nine – but these were no callow line-ups and both managers made multiple substitutions, eight in all, as they chased the breakthrough. Nevertheless, Moyes took the biggest gamble and rested his two most important players, with Declan Rice and Michail Antonio not even in the squad.

West Ham's fine season continues as they knock out Carabao Cup holders Man City on penalties - GETTY IMAGES
West Ham's fine season continues as they knock out Carabao Cup holders Man City on penalties - GETTY IMAGES

City started with 19-year-old Cole Palmer playing as a “false nine” but by the end they had Foden, Jack Grealish and Gabriel Jesus on the pitch and had kicked off with Kevin De Bruyne, who nevertheless appears short of fitness, Riyad Mahrez, Raheem Sterling et al. Make no mistake, this was a cup they wanted to win for the fifth time in a row and they set about West Ham with that intent.

“An incredible run but one day it should finish,” Guardiola said. “We finish in a good way in terms of performance and we created enough chances against a team that defends so deep and so well.”

And yet it was not until close to half-time that they fashioned their first clear opportunity. Yes, West Ham were pushed back, yes they defended in their own penalty area on occasions – too deep at times, with Mark Noble stretching out his arms in desperation as he had no one to pass to – but they are drilled and determined and Issa Diop, Craig Dawson and the impressive full-backs Aaron Cresswell and, in particular, Ben Johnson got their bodies in the way. Time and again. That was until Mahrez picked out Nathan Ake from a free-kick and six yards out the centre-half headed wide when he had to score. Ake puffed out his cheeks in disbelief.

Perhaps mindful of the let-off, West Ham were more adventurous in the second half and especially when Moyes made a triple substitution. But, before that, City could have ended it. Ilkay Gundogan dragged a shot wide from a tight angle after being put through by Cole, goalkeeper Alphonse Areola reacted sharply to push De Bruyne’s shot out for a corner and then excelled as he dived to his left to beat away John Stones’s close-range header. That was a superb save; the save of the match.

West Ham also threatened. There were groans as Andriy Yarmolenko was ponderous and, only four yards out, allowed Oleksandr Zinchenko to block his shot after Steffen had palmed Arthur Masuaka’s effort into the air, before Tomas Soucek side-footed wide from Nikola Vlasic’s cut-back when the goal beckoned.

Soucek skipped in the air in disbelief – as did Cole when he combined with Sterling only to slash the ball over the bar. Substitute Foden dribbled into the area and his shot deflected into Gundogan’s path only for the ball to ricochet off the midfielder. Areola kicked it away, before he was almost caught out by Zinchenko with a fierce drive.

There would be two final opportunities. Soucek was once more holding his head after he was picked out by substitute Pablo Fornals only to curl his shot woefully over. Then, deep into injury time, Sterling met a cross unmarked. Would this be the late breakthrough? Instead he headed straight at Areola.

And so to the shoot-out. All five West Ham kicks were converted and Noble roared in relief – having recently failed against United with his first touch after being brought on as a substitute – as he scored the first. Foden then squandered City’s first, missing the goal completely in fact, and all the other kicks were successful. “He had the courage to be the first taker but unfortunately he missed it and when you live this kind of experience then next time it will be better,” Guardiola said.

But, for now, City are out of a competition they had made their own.

Leicester squeeze through to quarter-finals on an emotional night at King Power

by Jim White at the King Power Stadium

On a night of real emotion, Leicester progressed in the Carabao Cup with a perfectly executed penalty shoot-out win against Brighton.

It was a victory achieved on a poignant anniversary, the third since the club’s benefactor, Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, and four others were killed when his helicopter crashed at the King Power. Before kick-off a minute’s silence was impeccably observed, a mark of how much he is revered for what he delivered hereabouts.

“We had a lunch yesterday to celebrate his life, some stories of what he brought,” said Brendan Rodgers of Vichai. “Actually, the modern day Leicester City is what he brought. Purely through him is where we stand now.”

Ahead of the silence, a banner had been flourished in the home end reading “1964, 1997, 2000”, the years the League Cup was won. This might be a club with pedigree in this competition, but still Rodgers was never going to play his first-choice team here, not with Europe on his schedule. He had, he pointed out to balance things. He gave starts to four academy graduates and a sprinkling of fringe players. Graham Potter too took it as an opportunity to test the strength of his Brighton squad.

At least it meant the Leicester faithful had the chance to see Patson Daka, the Zambian signed from RB Salzburg, who had scored four in the Europa League away victory over Spartak Moscow, in action on home soil. They must have liked what they saw.

Barely five minutes had elapsed before he chased a long ball from Luke Thomas. Such was his turn of pace, he got there before Shane Duffy. Jason Steele’s cleared as he bore down on goal, but Harvey Barnes snapped in ahead of Adam Webster, snaffled the ball and scored. Even Vichai’s memory seems to engender success.

But Potter’s side is not built to crumble. Gradually they worked their way back into contention. Shane Duffy sent a sharp header into Danny Ward’s arms, Pascal Gross just failed to connect with Joel Veltman’s urgent cross, then, in an eventful period of added time at the end of the first half, Alexis MacAllister had a swerving shot brilliantly tipped over by the keeper.

From the resulting corner, the ball landed at the feet of Webster, who seized redemption for his earlier error by sweeping home. Parity did not last long, however. Barely a minute in fact, before a horribly under-hit back pass from Jeremy Sarmiento was seized upon by Ademola Lookman who scored with ease.

Inevitably, however, Brighton began the second half creating chances. Caglar Soyuncu just got in ahead of Jurgen Locadia and the substitute Enock Mwepu had a shot deflected behind. Rodgers had seen enough. He sent on James Maddison in order to secure progress.

Potter too decided to go first choice, bringing Lewis Dunk, Neal Maupay and Yves Bissouma into the fray, the latter’s every touch booed to the rafters, a reflection of the dismay at his recent personal activities. But it was Marc Cucurella who really made the difference. His first excursion after coming on the pitch resulted in a characteristically precise cross from which the excellent Mwepu headed home the equaliser.

Both sides tried to avoid the shootout. Leicester almost did it when Daka’s shot was scrambled clear by Duffy. But it went to penalties. And, after all, their strikes found the net and Danny Ward saved Iwepu’s tame effort, Leicester’s League Cup collection remains on course for being enlarged.

“Now we’re three games from picking up a trophy,” said Rodgers, “you’d like to do that.”

Match details

Leicester City (3-4-3): Ward 6; Vestergaard 5, Soyuncu 7, Bertrand 6 (Mendy 58); Daley-Campbell 6 (Pereira 72), Choudhury 7 (Soumare 65), Dewsbury-Hall 6 (Maddison 58), Thomas 6; Barnes 7, Daka 7, Lookman 6 (Iheanacho 72)
Subs not used: Amartey, Castagne, Jakupovic, Marcal-Madivadua

Brighton and Hove Albion (4-4-2): Steele; Burn 5 (Mwepu 46), Webster 6 (Bissouma 62), Duffy, Veltman 6 (Dunk 62); Gross 6, MacAllister 7, Roberts 6 (Cucurella), Sarmiento 5 (Maupay); Locadia 6, Connolly 5
Subs not used: Scherpen, Leonard, Tsoungui, Offiah

Referee: J Gillet

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