London (AFP) – Holders Manchester City will face Manchester United in the semi-finals of the League Cup after both sides saw off lower league opposition to make the last four on Wednesday.
Raheem Sterling’s second half double ensured City warded off a shock to win 3-1 at League One Oxford, while United ended fourth-tier Colchester United’s fairytale run with a 3-0 win at Old Trafford.
Leicester set up a semi-final meeting with Aston Villa after the Foxes survived a second half fightback from Everton to secure their place in the last four 4-2 on penalties after a 2-2 draw at Goodison Park.
City have won this competition for the past two seasons with Pep Guardiola’s only defeat in the League Cup coming to United three years ago.
Guardiola’s men will have a chance to avenge their 2-1 Premier League defeat to the Red Devils when the sides clash over two legs in January.
City made eight changes for the trip to Oxford, but still named a strong side and went ahead through Joao Cancelo’s first goal for the English champions midway through the first half.
However, Oxford went toe-to-toe with their illustrous visitors all night and levelled through Matty Taylor a minute into the second half.
Oxford even had more attempts on target than City, but did not have the predatory instincts of Sterling on their side as the England international twice tapped home from close range to spare City’s blushes.
“It was a tight game with the wind making things difficult but we did well,” said Guardiola, who was accompanied by assistant Mikel Arteta despite speculation suggesting he is set to be announced as Arsenal’s new manager.
“We suffered a lot in the second half. At 2-1 they play long balls with throw-ins, corners and we struggled but it’s okay.”
– United patience pays off –
Manchester United had to be patient before seeing off Colchester, who had beaten Tottenham and Crystal Palace to make the last eight.
Marcus Rashford was guilty of missing a host of chances in a goalless first half.
However, the England forward made amends six minutes into the second period with a calm finish to register a career-best 14th goal of the season.
Rashford was also the creator of United’s other two goals as Ryan Jackson turned a cross into his own net before Anthony Martial stretched to convert at the back post.
Leicester’s brilliant season continued as they held their nerve from the spot after blowing a comfortable lead at Everton.
The Foxes travel to City in the Premier League on Saturday, but Brendan Rodgers still named a near full-strength side and was rewarded when James Maddison and Jonny Evans struck in five first half minutes to give the visitors a 2-0 half-time lead.
But Everton are made of sterner stuff under caretaker manager Duncan Ferguson.
Ben Davies gave the Toffees hope 20 minutes from time and a sensational long-range strike from Leighton Baines sent the game to penalties.
Maddison then saw his spot-kick saved to start the shootout, but Kasper Schmeichel was Leicester’s hero with saves from Cenk Tosun and Baines before Jamie Vardy scored the decisive penalty.
200+ Channels With Sports & News
- Starting price: $33/mo. for fubo Latino Package
- Watch Premier League, World Cup, Euro 2024 & more
- Includes NBC, USA, FOX, ESPN, CBSSN & more
Live & On Demand TV Streaming
- Price: $69.99/mo. for Entertainment package
- Watch World Cup, Euro 2024 & MLS
- Includes ESPN, ESPN2, FS1 + local channels
Many Sports & ESPN Originals
- Price: $6.99/mo. (or get ESPN+, Hulu & Disney+ for $13.99/mo.)
- Features Bundesliga, LaLiga, Championship, & more
- Also includes daily ESPN FC news & highlights show
2,000+ soccer games per year
- Price: $4.99/mo
- Features Champions League, Serie A, Europa League & NWSL
- Includes CBS, Star Trek & CBS Sports HQ
175 Premier League Games & PL TV
- Starting price: $4.99/mo. for Peacock Premium
- Watch 175 exclusive EPL games per season
- Includes Premier League TV channel plus movies, TV shows & more
- Rangers and Frankfurt roll back the years for retro Europa League final
- Klopp confident Salah, Van Dijk fit for Champions League final
- Newcastle blow up Arsenal’s Champions League dream
- Clint Dempsey joins FOX Sports for World Cup 2022 coverage
- Newcastle blow up Arsenal’s Champions League dreams
- Chiellini says goodbye to Juve fans as last-gasp Lazio make Europa League
- Blackpool’s Daniels ends 32-year wait for gay UK male footballer to come out
- Liverpool assess Salah, Van Dijk ahead of Southampton clash
- African players in Europe: Mane has last laugh on Mendy
- Anti-homophobia group demands PSG explain Gueye absence