Arsenal 0 Manchester City 1: Late Aguero strike downs Gunners

Sergio Aguero scored an 84th-minute winner as Manchester City booked their place in the Carling Cup semi-finals at The Emirates

Carling Cup, 29 November 2011, Emirates Stadium
team1
Arsenal
0 - 1
team2
Man City

Sergio Aguero finished a brilliant counter-attack to secure Manchester City’s passage into the semi-finals of the Carling Cup with a narrow victory over Arsenal.

A young Gunners side had largely kept the visitors quiet until the 84th minute, when City broke at speed following an Arsenal corner and Aguero slotted home after a flowing move by the visitors.

Arsenal had looked the brighter going forward but were unable to find a way past Costel Pantilimon in the City goal, with Park Chu-young and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain coming closest to finding the net.

And last season’s runners-up were made to pay for not converting their chances as Aguero netted to send City through to the last four.

The game had started quietly and after a cagey opening few minutes, Johnson had Arsenal goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski scrambling with a dipping left-footed effort from the edge of the box that flew just over the crossbar.

The Gunners could have taken the lead moments later when Francis Coquelin’s searching low cross found Chu-Young at the far post – but the South Korean’s effort was pushed wide by City goalkeeper Pantilimon.

The impressive Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain then tested Pantilimon from 30 yards with a fierce left-footed strike in the 28th minute, forcing a superb save from the Romanian shot-stopper.

City then began to take hold of the first half, partly aided by Aguero’s introduction for Aleksandar Kolarov, who had picked up a slight muscle strain, after just 32 minutes.

However, despite their dominance and enjoying almost 60 per cent possession, Mancini’s side were unable to conjure any real chances of note.

Oxlade-Chamberlain forced another save from Pantilimon shortly after the break, dancing through the City defence and unleashing a left-footed effort straight at the goalkeeper.

City chances were few and far between, but despite being kept at bay for most of the second half by a resilient Arsenal rearguard, the visitors grabbed the winner in 84th minute.

A poor Arsenal corner from Oxlade-Chamberlain afforded City the chance to break. In what was a lightning-fast counter-attack, Dzeko’s searching pass reached Adam Johnson, whose flick-on found Aguero on the edge of the box – and the Argentine slotted the ball past Fabianksi with consummate ease.

It was a cruel blow for Wenger’s men but City, despite really failing to click into gear in north London, once again demonstrated their expensively assembled side are capable of grinding out results regardless of the performance.

Arsenal: Lukasz Fabianski, Laurent Koscielny, Johan Djourou, Ignasi Miquel (Thomas Vermaelen, 80), Sébastien Squillaci, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Andrey Arshavin, 87), Francis Coquelin, Yossi Benayoun, Emmanuel Frimpong, Marouane Chamakh, Park Chu-Young (Gervinho, 68).

Manchester City: Costel Pantilimon, Nedum Onuoha, Stefan Savic, Pablo Zabaleta, Kolo Touré, Aleksandar Kolarov (Sergio Agüero, 32), Samir Nasri, Nigel de Jong, Owen Hargreaves (Abdul Razak, 79), Adam Johnson, Edin Dzeko.

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