The first of the two Semi-final second legs in the Carabao Cup take place this evening as Bristol City play host to Manchester City with their hopes of progressing to Wembley and causing a major upset still ones that are very realistic.
Not only that but they will be looking to complete a double Manchester scalp in this competition after already disposing of Jose Mourinho’s United men in the previous round. Lee Johnson‘s side come into tonight’s return leg with just the one goal deficit to their name and more importantly still a part of this tie.
If you had offered Bristol City a 2-1 scoreline at the Etihad in the first leg before kick off then they will have undoubtedly snapped you hand off but there will have been nothing short of frustration for the Bristolians as they had Pep Guardiola’s all star outfit on the ropes.
After going ahead before half-time they then had to deal with a barrage of City attacks and although the home side were level within 10 minutes of the restart, the EFL Championship were more than holding their own against a team who at that point had only lost once this season in all competitions.
Sergio Aguero made sure that City would end the game as winners but their opposition won the respect of many that night due to such a spirited performance. However it will not be respect that they are looking for tonight as they will look to complete the job at Ashton Gate.
A 1-0 lead for Bristol City would take the game to extra-time, the away goals rule only kicks in after 120 minutes in this competition. A rule that is somewhat archaic and has led to confusion in the past but if they can get ahead and this time keep the Premier League leaders quiet night then it will be they who advance to Wembley.
Of course at is easier said then done especially if the swathes of talent that the Premier League runaway leaders have at their disposal. This was no less evident then on Saturday when they made relatively light work of Newcastle thanks to a 3-1 home win.
Sergio Aguero went home with the matchball at the weekend after his hat-trick and Pep Guardiola will have to decide whether he will be included from the start this time around or left in reserve to do damage from the bench like he did in the first leg.
Manchester City were undoubtedly given a scare a fortnight ago at the Etihad but they eventually came out on top, they will have to deal with a hostile Ashton Gate this time around and will know that this crowd already helped dump Manchester United out of the competition, so they could be in for a long night.
However unfortunately for Bristol City I don’t think there will be any cup romance in the South West of England as Manchester City’s additional quality should give them the required edge tonight. An away win for Pep’s men and the hopes of a quadruple still very much alive.