United into quarters
28 October, 2016, 12:00 am
LONDON – Juan Mata swept home to steer Manchester United into the League Cup quarter-finals with a 1-0 win over holders and bitter local rivals Manchester City on Wednesday as Jose Mourinho got one over old adversary Pep Guardiola.
Mata rifled in a low finish past City keeper Willy Caballero early in the second half at Old Trafford on a night of few chances but plenty of derby fervour as United boss Mourinho won the tactical battle against Guardiola’s much-changed City side.
The result lifted some of the pressure off Mourinho following Sunday’s 4-0 defeat to Chelsea, but for his old sparring partner, Guardiola, it was a sixth successive game without victory, his longest winless streak as a manager.
West Ham United also moved into the last eight after they overcame Chelsea 2-1 in a London derby spoiled by ugly scenes of fan violence at the end of the game, while Southampton heaped more misery on struggling Sunderland with a 1-0 victory.
Recent results and the gathering pressure on both Mourinho and Guardiola ensured the clash at Old Trafford had all the usual spice of a derby encounter even if City made nine changes to their side against a virtually full-strength United team. City should have gone ahead after two minutes, but Kelechi Iheanacho darted in front of his marker to direct his header hopelessly off target from close range.
United offered little attacking threat, but gained control of possession as the match wore on and were the more dangerous side for most of the encounter.
It took until the start of the second half, however, for them to create a meaningful chance when Paul Pogba’s low shot was turned onto the post by Caballero, sparking an onslaught from the home side that ended with Mata’s opener on 54 minutes.