Manchester City ended second-tier Bristol City’s memorable run in the English League Cup by winning the second leg of their semifinal 3-2 on Tuesday, advancing to next month’s final at Wembley Stadium 5-3 on aggregate.
Leroy Sane and Sergio Aguero scored in a seven-minute span around halftime to build on Man City’s 2-1 lead from the first leg two weeks ago.
Marlon Pack reduced the deficit in the 64th minute and even though Aden Flint equalized in the fourth minute of stoppage time, there was no way Bristol City was about to add the Premier League leaders to its list of top-flight scalps that already included Manchester United, Watford, Stoke, and Crystal Palace in this campaign.
Kevin De Bruyne scored with the last kick of the game to clinch victory on the night for the visitors.
Still chasing trophies on four fronts and a first piece of silverware under Pep Guardiola, Man City will play either Chelsea or Arsenal in the final on Feb. 26. They are tied at 0-0 from the first leg at Chelsea, with the second leg on Wednesday.
Bristol City was attempting to become the first team since Sheffield Wednesday in 1991 to win the League Cup from outside the top flight. Around 180 journalists, broadcasters, and photographers were at Ashton Gate, the club said, for a game being watched in more than 100 countries, putting the second-tier host in the global spotlight.
Having needed a late goal from Aguero to earn a first-leg advantage, Man City paid its opponent a compliment by fielding close to a full-strength team for the return match despite being in the middle of a busy period of domestic fixtures.
Bristol City bravely tried to press Guardiola’s team all over the field, and was starting to frustrate the Premier League side when Sane struck in the 43rd minute.
Hordur Magnusson tried to shepherd the ball out for a goal kick but Bernardo Silva battled to regain possession on the byline. He bundled the ball back to Sane, whose first-time shot with his right foot deflected into the net.
Fresh off a hat trick against Newcastle in the league at the weekend, Aguero put the match out of reach of Bristol City in the 50th with a clinical finish at the end of a counterattack.
De Bruyne was set free by Sane and the midfielder cut inside and curled a pinpoint pass forward to Aguero. The Argentina striker took one touch and buried a low, angled shot across goalkeeper Luke Steele.
City wobbled at the back to concede twice but De Bruyne stroked in Sane’s cross for the winner.
Man City is through to a third League Cup final in the last five years, having also won’s England’s second-tier cup competition in 2014 and ’16. Guardiola won European Cup finals at Wembley as a player with Barcelona in 1992 and as a coach with the same Spanish team in 2011.