Aguero's goal leads Manchester City by Everton, into League Cup final
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Sergio Aguero clinched Manchester City a place in the English League Cup final by scoring the decisive final goal in a 3-1 win over Everton on Wednesday, sealing a 4-3 victory on aggregate.
Protecting a 2-1 lead from the first leg, Everton went further ahead on aggregate in the semifinal when Ross Barkley scored from long range in the 18th minute.
City responded immediately in an end-to-end game through Fernandinho's deflected strike and substitute Kevin De Bruyne leveled up the semifinal in the 70th minute.
The match was heading for extra time, only for Aguero to head in a cross from De Bruyne in the 76th and set up a match against Liverpool at Wembley Stadium on Feb. 28.
De Bruyne proved instrumental in City's turnaround with his goal and assist, but ended a riveting match being carried off on a stretcher, with his right leg in a brace.
It was the only negative on the night for City, which is still chasing trophies on four fronts domestically and in Europe. City will seek a fourth League Cup title, most recently winning it in 2014.
Aguero has now scored 16 goals in another injury-hit season. Back to full fitness after six weeks out before Christmas, the Argentina striker has scored seven goals in his last seven games in all competitions.
City would be lost without him.
As for Everton, fingers will be pointed at manager Roberto Martinez, who is coming under some pressure as results continue to go against his side. The visitors will be aggrieved that De Bruyne's goal was allowed to stand, with the ball appearing to be out of play when Raheem Sterling crossed from the left.
Everton was dangerous on the counter-attack all game, with Barkley seemingly finding space every time he was on the ball. For his goal, he picked up the ball unmarked, drifted past a weak attempted challenge from Nicolas Otamendi, surged at the heart of City's defense and drilled a low shot into the corner.
City now needed two goals to stay alive and the first came within six minutes, Fernandinho running onto the ball after a shot was deflected into his path and driving in a low shot that ricocheted off Leighton Baines and over goalkeeper Joel Robles.
The game was open and exciting, as good as the Liverpool-Stoke second leg on Tuesday was bad. Aguero rifled a 25-yard shot against the post before halftime and Robles saved on the rebound from David Silva. Silva then glanced a header against the post in the 54th, soon after Aguero miskicked.
Everton looked just as likely to score at the other, with Gerard Deulofeu curling weakly at Joe Hart in a one-on-one chance.
De Bruyne came on for Yaya Toure—to cheers from City fans—and levelled up the semifinal within four minutes by sidefooting home the cross from Sterling.
Aguero had the final say, once again.