A charming post-match interview with 18-year-old Ian Carlo Poveda. He’s a little nervous, but his joy at making his Manchester City debut tonight is infectious. “I am buzzing,” he begins, smiling shyly. “I’m just grateful for the opportunity, I couldn’t have done it without the support of my family and my friends, and the fans also.” He’s asked what it was like to play alongside the likes of Aguero and De Bruyne. “I’m just speechless to be honest, it’s an amazing feeling, I have dreamt of this.” An evening to remember for the young man.
So City will play either Chelsea or Tottenham Hotspur in the Wembley final on February 24. We always knew this would be the case, after that first-leg rout, so there’s little in the way of the usual manic semi-final celebrations at the final whistle. Some muted clapping, and that’s about it. The managers Nigel Clough and Pep Guardiola shake hands warmly and share a smile, just as they did at the Etihad a fortnight ago. But this time Clough’s side have given a much better account of themselves. His players look understandably deflated, but they’ve restored much pride after the horrors of the first leg, and once the sting subsides, should feel pleased with their efforts tonight, a mid-table League One outfit holding the champions of England to a single goal.
FULL TIME: Burton Albion 0-1 Manchester City (agg: 0-10)
… that’s the final whistle! City have reached their fourth League Cup final in six seasons! And Burton Albion have restored some pride with a staunch second-leg display.
90 min +2: Danilo whips the free kick over the wall. It’s straight at Collins, who tips over with ease. The corner comes to nothing, and …
90 min +1: There will be two added minutes. In the first, McCrory races out of his own box and slams Jesus to the ground. A free kick, 25 yards out.
90 min: Hutchinson shows Foden a clean pair of heels down the left. But just as Burton start to dream about the cross that leads to that precious consolation strike, Hutchinson takes a heavy touch and runs the ball out for a goal kick.
88 min: Jesus dribbles into the Burton box in the style of Ricky Villa, but can’t finish his baroque ramble. His shot is smothered by Collins, and the resulting corner comes to nothing.
86 min: Nothing going on. Which explains why Kári Tulinius has started to concentrate on the pitchside advertising. “When I was a wee lad watching English football in Iceland, I would puzzle over the pitchside hoardings, trying to figure what the various exotic companies were selling. Pirelli Stadium is bringing me right back as I wonder what the heck Palletforce, Kestral and Russell are all about.” A timely email, because they’ve just this minute flashed up an ad for Don Amott caravans. Anyone who watched ATV back in the 70s and 80s will have enjoyed a Proustian rush.
84 min: Garcia slips over as City knock it back and forth around the back. Daniel nearly manages to latch onto a momentarily loose ball, but Garcia recovers just in time.
82 min: Harness is sent scampering into the City box down the right by Fox. He’s hassled by Mendy, then crashes into Muric, who has come out to smother. Harness wants a penalty kick, but that’s not forthcoming.
81 min: City continue to hog the ball in the sterile fashion.
79 min: City stroke it around, keeping warm their only concern. Can they find the two goals that would give them the all-time League Cup aggregate victory? Or is the ten-goal semi-final record enough to sate their desires?
77 min: Boyce is replaced by Daniel. Both teams have now made all their substitutions.
76 min: Templeton ambles down the left, and has Hutchinson on the overlap. He eventually finds his team-mate with a pass, after plenty of faffing about, but at this point Hutchinson is offside. The pair analyse the move in the full and frank style.
74 min: It’s a couple of degrees below zero now, and the pitch is hardening up. Pretty passing is at a premium right now, the ball bobbling around quite a bit. Burton will be happy enough, as it ensures City can’t be their usual fluent selves.
72 min: Nmecha goes down in the Burton area, barged by Harness as he chases a Jesus pass down the inside-left channel. It was a good old-fashioned shoulder-charge, though, and the referee’s not interested in awarding a penalty kick.
70 min: Burton come so close to that consolation! Sandler slips on the edge of his own box. Boyce steps into the area, but his heavy touch allows Muric to smother. The ball breaks to Miller, on the penalty spot. He slams low towards the goal, but Garcia is back on the line to spectacularly clear! Poor old Burton.
69 min: Mahrez finds himself standing in the Burton D. He considers shooting, but instead slides a pass wide right for Danilo, who instantly looks for Jesus in the middle. His ball, neither cross nor shot, flashes out to the left of goal.
67 min: City make their final change of the night, Zinchenko making way for debutant Felix Nmecha.
65 min: Harness busies himself down the right, and nearly slips Miller free in the City box. But Garcia has read the danger well, stepping in to shield the ball out of play for a goal kick. Burton are giving it their all in pursuit of this consolation goal.
63 min: Aguero has had a very strange evening indeed: some awful control, that dreadful miss, and the game’s only goal. A clinically brilliant one at that. He’s had a good run out, though, and now he makes way for Jesus. Meanwhile de Bruyne, also working his way back from injury, is replaced by Mendy, returning from a spell out himself. This is all great news for City, several of their stars sharpening up just in time for the big run-in.
61 min: What a miss! Aguero backflicks deliciously down the left to send de Bruyne into space. De Bruyne then slides a pass down the channel to release Foden, who tears clear into the box, then cuts one back for Aguero. He can’t miss, but does, sending his first-time shot wide right from 12 yards under no pressure whatsoever! Replays show Foden was well offside, so it’s probably for the best.
59 min: Templeton simmers down, and is again about his business, dribbling into the City box from the left again. But neither of his two attempts to cross low are any good, both blocked by his nemesis Danilo.
57 min: Templeton continues to argue the toss, chuntering on at whoever will listen as play continues. It still means something, ten goals down or not.
55 min: Templeton dribbles into the City box from the left and springs over Danilo’s leg. He’s livid. He’s after a penalty kick. But there was no contact, and Danilo did nothing wrong. The VAR folk – apparently working from a van in the car park, a pimped version of Andy Townsend’s old truck, perhaps? – double check, and we play on.
54 min: Danilo makes space on the right and swings a low cross to the near post, where Delph must surely score. But he takes a fresh-air swipe at the ball, which then bounces back towards him off Collins, offering a second bite at the cherry. He clanks that one out of play, wide right, for a goal kick. It should have been City’s 11th goal of the tie. Hey, if you’re going to miss a sitter, now’s the time to do it.
53 min: Foden probes down the City left; Mahrez has a go out on the right. Neither can work a clear route into the box.
51 min: Aguero dribbles down the right. He’s stopped by Wallace, who in turn is slide-tackled by … his own man, McCrory. Burton continue to give it their all despite the ludicrous scoreline, which is very much to their credit.
49 min: Garcia slips on the frosty turf and very nearly allows Boyce to race clear on goal. He does very well to recover and hack away from danger.
47 min: Mahrez glides in from the right but can’t release himself into the box with a one-two with Aguero. City will be in something of a rush themselves, needing two more goals to register the biggest aggregate win in all League Cup history.
45 min 21 sec. Burton have clearly come out with a flea in their ear, ordered to pick up the pace in search of this elusive consolation goal. They snap into a couple of challenges, and suddenly Templeton has possession 25 yards out. He creams a fine shot just over the bar. No time to waste.
Here we go again! Burton get the second half underway, having replaced Quinn with Fox.
HALF TIME: Burton Albion 0-1 Manchester City (agg: 0-10)
Burton were four down at half-time a fortnight ago, so this is a most acceptable improvement. The home side will be relatively pleased with their efforts so far … but what they’d give for a consolation goal in the second half, even if they end up shipping a few more themselves. Don’t go anywhere!
45 min: Both teams appear to be waiting for the half-time whistle. Not much going on. They’ll get their wish in two minutes.
43 min: Harness comes again down the right and whips a cross to the near post. But there’s nobody in yellow there, and Garcia is able to clear calmly.
42 min: De Bruyne hesitates 30 yards from his own goal and has his pocket picked by Harness. For a second, City are exposed, but de Bruyne ensures Harness can’t have a clear run on goal, making up for his mistake and putting a stop to Burton’s gallop.
40 min: Turner’s race is run. The big centre-half has picked up an injury, and he limps off sadly, to be replaced by Hutchinson.
38 min: Boyce is sent zipping clear down the inside left by a lovely Templeton defence-splitter, but Muric is out of his box quickly to batter clear.
36 min: De Bruyne loops the set piece to the far post, where Garcia should either score or roll a pass back across goal to invite a tap-in. He does neither, allowing Collins to claim. In the crowd, a clear “fackinell” pierces the white noise, life imitating the art of Father Ted.