Defending champion Manchester United is out of the League Cup after succumbing to Championship side Bristol City in stunning fashion.

By 90Min
December 20, 2017

Bristol City progressed through to the semifinals of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday after beating Manchester United 2-1 at Ashton Gate. 

Joe Bryan opened the scoring for the Robins in the 51st minute with a thunderous strike, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic equalised just five minutes later with a low driven free-kick, before Korey Smith smashed in the winner 10 seconds from time. 

Amid a flurry of festive fixtures, Jose Mourinho made a number of changes to his side - with Marcus Rashford the only survivor from United's 2-1 win over West Brom at the weekend. Zlatan Ibrahimovic came back into the starting lineup, as did the previously suspended Paul Pogba. The two were joined by Sergio Romero, Matteo Darmian, Victor Lindelof, Marcos Rojo, Luke Shaw, Daley Blind, Scott McTominay and Anthony Martial.

Bristol City, who currently sit third in the Championship table after a remarkable revival over the last 12 months, made just the one change from the team who beat Nottingham Forest 2-1 at the weekend; with Luke Steele replacing Frank Fielding in goal.

Bristol City had the first real opportunity of the half in the sixth minute. The Robins' high press was causing United problems, and after Pogba had lost the ball midway in his his own half, the midfielder hauled down Marlon Pack. Magnusson took the resulting free-kick, his effort from 30 yards out was straight at Romero however, and United's keeper managed to tip it over for a corner. 

Despite their slow start, United came closest to scoring five minutes later. After skipping past a challenge, Martial whipped in a cross which found Ibrahimovic, the striker's deflected effort looped off the top of the City crossbar. 

United rattled the woodwork for the second time in the 20th minute. With Marcus Rashford given too much time and space outside the Robins' box; the youngster's ripping strike crashed against the post with Steele well beaten.

As the half entered its final 10 minutes, City started to push forward more and were nearly rewarded with the opening goal. The ball fell to Magnusson who brushed off Rashford's challenge before unleashing a shot from the edge of the box which Romero managed to push away.

City would have probably taken the lead in the 41st minute if it weren't for a last-gasp challenge from Daley Blind. Smith found himself in a great position inside United's box following a Patterson backheel, just as Smith looked to pull the trigger Blind slid in from nowhere to clear the danger.

Five minutes after the restart and Bristol City took the lead. A lovely ball from Pack sent Bryan away on the left, the left wing-back then released an unstoppable shot which thundered across Romero and into the top corner.

Their lead didn't last for long however, and just five minutes later Ibrahimovic grabbed his first goal of the season. The Swede lined up a free kick from 25 yards out before drilling it low and hard through the wall and past Luke Steele.

With Bristol City still proving to be more than a handful for United, Mourinho decided to change things up with both Lukaku and Mkhitaryan coming on for Ibrahimovic and Blind. 

Substitute Lukaku nearly made it 2-1 to United in the 72nd minute, the striker tiptoed to the edge of the box before he struck a powerful low shot which Steele did well to push away. 

The striker had looked lively since his introduction and went close again in the 75th minute. Once again Luke Steele did well as he stuck out an arm to deny Lukaku's glancing header. 

Steele made it a hat-trick of saves from Lukaku in the 83rd minute. The striker made his way into the box and drilled a low shot through a number of bodies and across goal, his shot looked to be heading for the bottom corner, until the excellent Steele once again managed to claw it away. 

Amazingly, Bristol City regained the lead in the last seconds of the game. A Taylor cross from the left found an unchallenged Smith, who had time to turn and plant his shot across Romero and into United's net, sending Ashton Gate into delirium.

The referee blew his whistle soon after to confirm Bristol City's shock win. It was a courageous performance from the Robins who caused United problems throughout the 90 minutes, both with their constant harrying and with some quality bits of play. United were perhaps a little unlucky in the first half, with both of their efforts striking the woodwork. Nevertheless, Mourinho only has his players to blame after they missed a number of chances in the second half. 

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