Man City lift League Cup

The Pak Banker - - MARKETS/SPORTS -

A week af­ter let­ting in five goals, Willy Ca­ballero made three saves in a penalty shootout against Liverpool to help Manch­ester City win the League Cup on Sun­day and claim its fifth ma­jor tro­phy since 2011.

Though the Ar­gen­tine goal­keeper is sec­ond­choice be­hind Joe Hart in the Premier League and the Cham­pi­ons League, he has been a reg­u­lar in the cup teams fielded by coach Manuel Pel­le­grini.

And Pel­le­grini's faith in the 34-year-old keeper was duly re­warded with a mem­o­rable dis­play in the penalty shootout af­ter the two sides had ground out a 1-1 draw af­ter ex­tra time at Wem­b­ley Sta­dium.

Ca­ballero stood firm dur­ing the shootout, opt­ing not to se­cond-guess which way the Liverpool play­ers would send their penal­ties. His de­ci­sion paid div­i­dends as the spot-kicks of Lu­cas Leiva, Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lal­lana were all saved - and Yaya Toure went on score the fi­nal penalty to give City a 3-1 vic­tory in the shootout.

"I watched a lot of penal­ties last night with Joe (Hart) and my goal­keeper coach," Ca­ballero said. "I tried to make good de­ci­sions and for­tu­nately God helped me a lot be­cause it was a re­ally, re­ally good night for me." Pel­le­grini held firm to his de­ci­sion to give Ca­ballero a fi­nal berth de­spite calls by some City fans to cat­a­pult Eng­land's num­ber one, Hart, into the side to face Liverpool.

"I pre­fer to lose the ti­tle than to lose my words," Pel­le­grini said. Ca­ballero's com­pa­triot, City de­fender Pablo Za­baleta, backed the de­ci­sion. "He was the hero of the day," he said. "It was one of those mo­ments where I think Willy de­served to be in goal to­day be­cause he'd been play­ing in this com­pe­ti­tion from the be­gin­ning and it was a great way for him to fin­ish to­day."

Pel­le­grini, who is in his fi­nal months at City fol­low­ing the club's an­nounce­ment ear­lier in Fe­bru­ary that Bay­ern Mu­nich coach Pep Guardi­ola is to join in the sum­mer, heaped praise on both his goal­keep­ers.

He said Ca­ballero "de­served this mo­ment" and that Hart's de­meanor over the de­ci­sion showed him to be "a very good per­son" in ad­di­tion to his traits as a top goal­keeper. Pel­le­grini faced a bar­rage of crit­i­cism a week ago when he put out an un­der-strength side in a fifth round FA Cup tie against Chelsea. Ca­ballero fea­tured in the sub­se­quent 5-1 de­feat, which came be­fore a cru­cial week that also saw City travel to Ukraine to meet Dynamo Kiev in the first-leg of the Cham­pi­ons League's round of 16, as well as the League Cup fi­nal against Liverpool.

Hav­ing won 3-1 against Kiev and de­feated Liverpool, Pel­le­grini felt his team se­lec­tion against Chelsea had been jus­ti­fied.

"I think that the de­ci­sion I took last week was very im­por­tant to win th­ese two games," he said af­ter lift­ing City's se­cond League Cup in three years and the club's fourth over­all.

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