Soccer-Man City wins the fourth league cup in a row from Reuters

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© Reuters. Soccer Soccer – Carabao Cup Final – Tottenham Hotspur – Manchester City

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By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) – Manchester City scored their fourth straight league triumph as Aymeric Laporte’s belated header secured a deserved 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.

Spurs had been taking on the city’s heavy pressure for most of the game to somehow stay competitive at Wembley.

But City finally broke through an unlikely source in the 82nd minute when defender Laporte hit Kevin de Bruyne’s free-kick and passed goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.

A combination of Lloris, last ditch defense and a bad city finish kept the 8,000 spectators in suspense, but in the end Pep Guardiola’s team got their reward.

They now have Liverpool’s feat of winning the competition four seasons in a row, joining Liverpool with the most league cup wins out of eight.

Tottenham, who had rookie manager Ryan Mason on the sidelines following Jose Mourinho’s sacking last week, put in a disappointing performance and the wait for a first trophy since winning the 2008 League Cup continues.

After losing to Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-final last weekend, they tripled the first part of their hopes. The title of the Premier League is almost in the pocket and a semi-final of the Champions League against Paris St. Germain is imminent.

GUARDIOLAS JOY

While the League Cup is lower in Guardiola’s priorities, his joy could not be disguised as he was the first manager to win the League Cup in four consecutive seasons.

It had gained momentum as the final was played in front of the largest audience since the UK put an initial COVID-19 lockdown in March last year – one of the government’s testing events to get fans back into the venues safely as the Limitations ease.

“It’s not crowded but there was a lot of noise,” said Guardiola, who has won 30 trophies as manager since taking over in Barcelona in 2008.

“Today we’re incredibly happy to have four in a row in this competition. We tried to win the game, we created a lot of chances. They had some chances on the counter, but generally we had a good game.”

City’s allowed 2,000 fans ended up singing their side with the club’s Blue Moon anthem, though they would have had a more relaxed afternoon in the sunshine if their side had turned their overwhelming dominance into goals in the first half.

How the final came 0-0 at halftime was a mystery when Phil Foden shot from close range and then deflected another attempt on the post.

Raheem Sterling tormented Tottenham’s defense and he was turned down when his shot on goal was stopped by Toby Alderweireld’s desperate block.

Riyad Mahrez sent a great, angled drive agonizingly far, although Lloris did not rescue for the first time until after the break in the first half and dived to scrape away Joao Cancelo’s curlers.

Tottenham improved slightly after the break with English striker Harry Kane, who was declared ready to go after an ankle injury, questioning his spot and eventually getting into the game.

Giovani Lo Celso almost gave Spurs an unlikely lead when choosing his spot, but City’s Zack Steffen pushed the ball around the post.

The zipper came out easily from City’s attacks, but Lloris was still a busy man keeping the efforts of City skippers Fernandinho and Mahrez and Skipper Fernandinho away.

Tottenham’s rookie manager Mason dispatched Gareth Bale within 25 minutes and the stage seemed ready for the Welshman to take an unlikely turn.

But in the end, justice was done when Laporte found space to bring De Bruyne’s perfect performance for his second goal of the season into the net.

Tottenham’s only criticism was that Laporte might have been a little lucky to avoid punishment for a tackle in the first half and then get booked in the second half.

In truth, however, they were by far the second best.

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