Carabao Cup semi-final first leg Manchester City 9 Burton Albion 0
Burton Albion suffered a 9-0 slaughter at the hands of Manchester City last night in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final at the Etihad Stadium.
So great was the margin of victory that City manager Pep Guardiola dispensed with football tradition when asked if it was still all to play for in the second leg on 23 January.
Subscribe to The Week
Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.
“Of course we are already in the final,” he replied, although he added that the return fixture at Burton’s Pirelli Stadium will be taken “seriously”.
Guardiola took the first leg seriously enough, giving starts to Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Riyad Mahrez, Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus, while also using the opportunity to blood 20-year-old goalkeeper Aro Muric and 18-year-old Spanish centre-half Eric Garcia.
The result was a 9-0 thrashing, the most goals City have scored in a game since they demolished Huddersfield Town 10-1 in 1987. It also means that City have scored 16 goals in just four days, following their 7-0 spanking of Rotherham United in the FA Cup.
Not their night
Burton fans had got an inkling that it was not going to be their night when traffic congestion delayed all but one of their 31 supporters’ coaches heading for the Etihad.
Some fans were still taking their seats when De Bruyne scored the first of City’s nine goals after five minutes.
The Burton net remained busy for the rest of the match, with Jesus scoring four times while Oleksandr Zinchenko, Phil Foden, Kyle Walker and Riyad Mahrez also got in on the act against the League One side.
Burton, 51 places below City in the football league chain, were appearing in their first major cup semi-final - and it showed.
They had their chances, and who knows how it might have affected the final scoreline if Marcus Harness had buried a glorious chance shortly after De Bruyne’s opening goal.
As it was, City strolled into the final and are now waiting to find out whether it will be Chelsea or Tottenham they face at Wembley on 24 February, with Spurs holding a 1-0 advantage going into the second leg at Stamford Bridge on 24 January.
Tough on Clough
Guardiola was gracious in defeat, hailing Burton’s “incredible” cup run, which included wins against Premier League side Burnley and Championship clubs Aston Villa and Nottingham Forest.
“They have to be so proud, they did so well,” said the Spaniard, before heading off for a glass of wine with Burton boss Nigel Clough.
“I know how important his father [Brian Clough] was for English football, he was a genius. It will be a pleasure to share some minutes with him,” Guardiola added.
A dazed Clough told reporters that he was looking forward to a drink with Guardiola following the 9-0 nightmare. “He said he had some good bottles of Spanish red,” Clough muttered. “Hopefully, it’s more than a glass.”
Carabao Cup semi-final second-leg fixtures
- Wednesday 23 January: Burton vs. Man City (7.45pm; Agg 0-9)
- Thursday 24 January: Chelsea vs. Tottenham (7.45pm; Agg 0-1)
Create an account with the same email registered to your subscription to unlock access.