League Cup: Man City wins shootout, Arsenal rescued by teen
Claudio Bravo was a forgotten man at Manchester City. Even the most loyal Arsenal fan probably knew little about Eddie Nketiah.
On Tuesday, both players were showered with praise after match-winning performances in the English League Cup.
Bravo, now the second-choice goalkeeper at City after an underwhelming first season at the club, made crucial saves in normal time and in the penalty shootout as Manchester City ousted Wolverhampton Wanderers in a grueling last-16 match.
City won the shootout 4-1 — with Sergio Aguero deftly chipping the clinching penalty high into the net — after Bravo made flying saves from Wolves’ second and third kicks. The match was 0-0 after extra time, but only after the Chile goalkeeper came to City’s rescue in repelling a series of shots from counter-attacks by the second-tier leaders.
Nketiah, an 18-year-old striker making only his second appearance for Arsenal, entered as a substitute against Norwich and scored the equalizer within 15 seconds. His first touch of the ball took the game against another second-tier team to extra time, where Nketiah then grabbed a 96th-minute winner as Arsenal edged through 2-1 at home.
There were wins for Manchester United, Leicester and Bournemouth, but fellow Premier League team Crystal Palace came unstuck in losing 4-1 at second-tier Bristol City.
Here’s a look at Tuesday’s games:
THANKS TO BRAVO
Sergio Aguero might have scored the winning penalty in the shootout, but he still requires one goal to break City’s all-time scoring record, which he shares with Eric Brook on 177 goals.
Instead, this was a night to savor for Bravo, who was acclaimed by all four corners of Etihad Stadium as City’s players saluted the crowd after the match. Last season, City fans were heard sarcastically cheering the rare saves made by Bravo, who had the lowest save percentage in the Premier League and let in too many easy shots.
He is second choice, behind summer signing Ederson, but showed he can be called upon this season if required.
“I’m so happy for him,” City manager Pep Guardiola said. “Last season was not easy for him, but he is a goalkeeper of a high level. He deserved that performance.”
NKETIAH TO THE RESCUE
The home fans were chanting “Eddie, Eddie, Eddie” during extra time as Arsenal unearthed a potential new star.
“To hear the fans singing my name was an amazing thing for me,” said Nketiah, an England under-19 player who was released by Chelsea at under-15 level and has scored 48 goals in the last two seasons for Arsenal’s youth sides.
His only other senior appearance was as an 89th-minute substitute in a Europa League game at BATE Borisov last month.
Both of his goals came off corners as Arsenal struggled after making 11 changes.
LINGARD STARS FOR UNITED
Jesse Lingard is saving his best for the League Cup these days.
Four of the midfielder’s last five goals for Manchester United have been in this competition after he scored in each half of a 2-0 win over Swansea at Liberty Stadium — one a coolly taken, sidefoot finish and the other a header from just inside the area.
It was comfortable for the titleholders, who made seven changes from Saturday’s 2-1 loss at Huddersfield in the Premier League — the team’s first defeat of the season.
In what is already a tough season for Palace, there was further humiliation for the Premier League’s last-place side.
Palace manager Roy Hodgson made 10 changes from his last league lineup and it showed as Bristol City came from behind by scoring four times between the 34th and 66th minutes.
Palace has lost eight of its nine league games, scoring only two goals.
WINS FOR BOURNEMOUTH, LEICESTER
Callum Wilson converted a penalty in his first match in nine months to help Bournemouth clinch a 3-1 win over Middlesbrough. The striker has been out since February because of a second cruciate knee-ligament injury in the space of three years.
Leicester also won 3-1 against a second-tier team, Leeds, thanks to goals by Algeria teammates Islam Slimani and Riyad Mahrez after a first strike for the club by summer signing Kelechi Iheanacho.
The last 16 is wrapped up on Wednesday when Chelsea hosts Everton and Tottenham is at home to West Ham.
The draw for the quarterfinals is on Thursday.
Steve Douglas is at www.twitter.com/sdouglas80