Raheem Sterling scored the decisive penalty in the shootout (Picture: Getty)Manchester City completed the first leg of the quadruple following a dramatic penalty shootout win over Chelsea.
After a goalless 120 minutes, the game was decided from 12 yards with misses from Jorginho and David Luiz proving costly, allowing Raheem Sterling to clinch the first silverware of the season.
Having been thumped 6-0 by the same opponents a fortnight ago, Sarri opted to implement a more circumspect gameplan which saw Gonzalo Higuain dropped to the bench and Eden Hazard asked to operate in a false nine role.
Chelsea’s approach helped to negate City’s attack who scored four goals in the opening 25 minutes of the recent league meeting at the Etihad Stadium.
Sergio Aguero, who scored a hat-trick in that match, blasted a volley high over the crossbar in the early stages but that was as close as City came during an opening period during which Sarri’s side defended heroically.
At the other end, however, it took 42 minutes for Sarri’s side muster a shot on target through Eden Hazard who cut a particularly isolated figure.
Eden Hazard was a constant thorn in Manchester City’s side (Picture: Getty)City were forced into a change at the interval with Aymeric Laporte replaced by club captain Vincent Kompany but the match followed an identical pattern with Pep Guardiola’s side bossing possession and Chelsea looking to counter.
Aguero thought he had poked his side ahead in the 55th minute only for the goal to be ruled out for offside, a decision upheld by VAR, while a perfectly time Nicolas Otamendi tackle prevented Hazard from having a clear run on goal.
From a similar break moments later, Hazard skinned his international teammate Kompany and pulled the ball back for the onrushing N’Golo Kante but the midfielder failed to turn his effort on target after a lung-bursting run.
Sergio Aguero controversially saw a second half goal ruled out (Picture: Getty)As the match wore on it was the underdogs who carried the greater threat with Ederson forced to tip over a Willian free kick and a linesman’s flag robbing Hazard of the chance to snatch the winning goal in injury time after sublime turn and pass from substitute Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
An injury to Fernandinho saw Guardiola forced to bring on Danilo in an unfamiliar midfield role in extra time, while Higuain was belatedly introduced to Chelsea’s attack as two exhausted sides desperately sought a breakthrough.
City came closest to breaking the deadlock when Raheem Sterling skinned Emerson and pulled the ball back for Aguero who was denied a goal by a desperate Cesar Azpilicueta block inside the six-yard box.
The games’ biggest talking point came in the 120th minute when Kepa sustained a thigh injury, prompting his manager to ready substitute goalkeeper Willy Caballero only for the Spaniard to refuse to come off.
Sarri stormed off in protest before returning to his technical area having been completely undermined by the club’s record signing.
Kepa appeared to redeem himself when he saved from Leroy Sane, but David Luiz’s subsequent miss and Sterling’s successful conversion ensured City retained the trophy.
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