LONDON, United Kingdom, Dec 19 – Holders Manchester City will face Manchester United in the semi-finals of the League Cup after both sides saw off lower league opposition to make the last four on Wednesday.
Raheem Sterling’s second half double ensured City warded off a shock to win 3-1 at League One Oxford, while United ended fourth-tier Colchester United’s fairytale run with a 3-0 win at Old Trafford.
Leicester set up a semi-final meeting with Aston Villa after the Foxes survived a second half fightback from Everton to secure their place in the last four 4-2 on penalties after a 2-2 draw at Goodison Park.
City have won this competition for the past two seasons with Pep Guardiola’s only defeat in the League Cup coming to United three years ago.
Guardiola’s men will have a chance to avenge their 2-1 Premier League defeat to the Red Devils earlier this month when the sides clash over two legs in January.
“You always want to win trophies. We’ve got a nice little draw coming up, it’ll be exciting times,” said United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. “We’ve shown before we can do well against City.”
City made eight changes for the trip to Oxford, but still named a strong side and went ahead through Joao Cancelo’s first goal for the English champions midway through the first half.
However, Oxford went toe-to-toe with their illustrous visitors all night and levelled through Matty Taylor a minute into the second half.
Oxford even had more attempts on target than City, but did not have the predatory instincts of Sterling on their side as the England international twice tapped home from close range to spare City’s blushes.
“It was a tight game with the wind making things difficult but we did well,” said Guardiola, who was accompanied by assistant Mikel Arteta despite speculation suggesting he is set to be announced as Arsenal’s new manager.
“We suffered a lot in the second half. At 2-1 they play long balls with throw-ins, corners and we struggled but it’s okay.”
– United patience pays off –
Manchester United had to be patient before seeing off Colchester, who had beaten Tottenham and Crystal Palace to make the last eight.
Marcus Rashford was guilty of missing a host of chances in a goalless first half.
However, the England forward made amends six minutes into the second period with a calm finish to register a career-best 14th goal of the season.
Rashford was also the creator of United’s other two goals as Ryan Jackson turned a cross into his own net before Anthony Martial stretched to convert at the back post.
Leicester’s brilliant season continued as they held their nerve from the spot after blowing a comfortable lead at Everton.
The Foxes travel to City in the Premier League on Saturday, but Brendan Rodgers still named a near full-strength side and was rewarded when James Maddison and Jonny Evans struck in five first half minutes to give the visitors a 2-0 half-time lead.
But Everton are made of sterner stuff under caretaker manager Duncan Ferguson.
Ben Davies gave the Toffees hope 20 minutes from time and a sensational long-range strike from Leighton Baines sent the game to penalties.
Maddison then saw his spot-kick saved to start the shootout, but Kasper Schmeichel was Leicester’s hero with saves from Cenk Tosun and Baines before Jamie Vardy scored the decisive penalty.