Nemanja Matic scored the only goal of the game before being sent off for a second bookable offenceHolders Manchester City will face Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup final, advancing 3-2 on aggregate despite losing a tense second leg to neighbours Manchester United.Leading 3-1 from the first leg at Old Trafford, City pushed forward in search of a goal to put the tie to bed but could find no way past an inspired David de Gea.Instead, United put things back in the balance before half-time when Nemanja Matic put them ahead on the night with their first effort at goal.United had created nothing in open play but City could only half-clear Fred’s free-kick and Matic swept a powerful first-time strike past Claudio Bravo.De Gea, who had brilliantly denied Sergio Aguero and Riyad Mahrez in the opening minutes, was finally beaten when Raheem Sterling turned in Kevin de Bruyne’s cross, but the flag was already up for offside.The scoreline made for an anxious atmosphere at Etihad Stadium at the break and more United chances followed in the second half, with Harry Maguire heading over and Anthony Martial bringing a low save from Bravo.Sterling, still without a goal in 2020, had a chance to settle his side’s nerves and restore their two-goal cushion when he ran clear but dallied and eventually skied his shot.More wastefulness from the home side followed, notably when the ball broke to substitute David Silva in front of goal but he chose to square to Ilkay Gundogan rather than shoot.It was only when Matic was sent off for his second booking with 14 minutes remaining that City regained any sort of control of the game, and they were able to see out the remainder without any further scares to ensure their progress. Pep Guardiola’s side are into the final for a third successive year and will go for their seventh EFL Cup win when they face Villa in the final at Wembley on 1 March. Only Liverpool, who have won it eight times, have a better record in the competition.Plenty of positives for Man UtdUnited kept the tie alive until the very end, when Fred fired a free-kick into the City wall from a dangerous position, but still had the consolation of being able to claim their second win at Etihad Stadium this season.Their performance on this occasion did not repeat the attacking verve of their Premier League victory here before Christmas, when they repeatedly ripped apart City’s defence on the counter-attack, but there were still plenty of positives for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, other than the result on the night.The imminent arrival of Bruno Fernandes will bolster Solskjaer’s midfield options but, before his red card, Matic showed he still has plenty to offer in that department.As well as his fine finish, the Serb made several timely interceptions and, along with Fred, helped United stem the tide after City’s fast start.De Gea, too, has received plenty of criticism lately – so deserves to take credit here for helping United become only the second side to stop City scoring at Etihad Stadium this season.His instinctive stop from Aguero’s header was his best save of the night, but he was equal to whatever City could throw at him.Man of the match – David de Gea (Manchester United)
There have been calls from some quarters for Sergio Romero to replace him as Manchester United’s number one, but De Gea repeatedly showed his class hereWhat next?Both sides return to Premier League matters at the weekend, with United hosting Wolves on Saturday (17:30 GMT kick-off) and City away at Tottenham on Sunday (16:30).



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