LONDON (AP) – A rare goal from Aymeric Laporte produced a familiar outcome: Manchester City winning the League Cup.
For the fourth successive season, Pep Guardiola’s side triumphed in the final of English football’s second-tier competition on Sunday with a 1-0 victory over Tottenham.
With Tottenham proving hard to find a way past despite City’s domination, it took the center back Laporte heading in his second goal of the season in the 82nd minute from Kevin De Bruyne’s free kick.
What was less familiar for the finalists was officially being allowed to play in front of supporters from both teams. That hasn’t happened since March 2020, but pandemic restrictions were eased to allow a crowd of 7,773 inside Wembley to see the first piece of silverware of the season handed out.
There was also an unfamiliar sight on the touchline, with 29-year-old rookie coach Ryan Mason managing Tottenham following Jose Mourinho’s firing on Monday. A change in manager couldn’t end Tottenham’s trophy drought since lifting this cup in 2008.
Defending the title completed the first part of a potential treble for Guardiola’s Premier League leaders with a Champions League semifinal match against Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday.
“We have to keep this rhythm, this way to win more titles,” Laporte said. “It’s never easy to play against a team like that … We are very happy to win today. So happy to see them (fans) here. I think we could (have had) more. Very happy to have the support. To have these beautiful fans.”
De Bruyne was among the City players to comfort a tearful Son Heung-min, who was also part of the Tottenham side that lost the 2019 Champions League final.
Tottenham didn’t even have a shot on target until the 20th minute, and only tested City goalkeeper Zack Steffen for the first time 80 seconds into the second half when Giovani Lo Celso produced a curling shot. It was goalkeeper Hugo Lloris that Tottenham relied on to keep the score level until the breakthrough came from the set piece.
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