Ca­ballero shoot-out hero for Manch­ester City in Cap­i­tal One Cup fi­nal

The Herald - Herald Sport - - FRONT PAGE - STEVE NAILOR AT WEM­B­LEY

MANCH­ESTER CITY man­ager Manuel Pel­le­grini saw his side win the Cap­i­tal One Cup fi­nal with a penalty shootout suc­cess over Liverpool – but in­sisted af­ter­wards his word was more im­por­tant to him than the re­sult.

Pel­le­grini had faced crit­i­cism when he con­firmed un­der­study goal­keeper Willy Ca­ballero would play at the Wem­b­ley show­piece in place of firstchoice Joe Hart, de­spite an un­sure dis­play in the FA Cup ham­mer­ing at Chelsea last week­end.

But, af­ter Fer­nand­inho’s opener for City was can­celled out by Philippe Coutinho, an en­ter­tain­ing cup fi­nal ended 1-1 af­ter ex­tra time and in the en­su­ing penalty shootout, Ca­ballero was to be­come the hero – sav­ing three Liverpool kicks as Pel­le­grini’s side took the tro­phy.

“I pre­fer to lose the ti­tle than to lose my word, there wasn’t any chance for Willy not to play,” he said. “Maybe your word is not im­por­tant, maybe the most im­por­tant thing is to win things, but I think my word is more im­por­tant than foot­ball.

“If you are sure you are go­ing to win it, I would want to win it in this way with Willy be­ing the hero.

“Willy is a very good goal­keeper. For­tu­nately for us he waited un­til the end and never tried to guess which side they were go­ing to shoot. That is why he saved those three penal­ties.

“I think we de­served to win the game be­fore the penal­ties with less work from Willy, he did not have to make a save in 90 min­utes.”

Pel­le­grini will leave the Eti­had Sta­dium at the end of the sea­son to be re­placed by Pep Guardi­ola, but the Chilean still has hopes of lift­ing two more pieces of sil­ver­ware be­fore he de­parts.

City are all-but in the Cham­pi­ons League quar­ter-fi­nals af­ter an im­pres­sive show­ing at Dynamo Kiev in mid­week and re­main out­siders to win the Bar­clays Premier League as they sit fourth.

“We have to play for an­other 36 points (in the league) yet so we are not go­ing to give up. We made a huge step for the Cham­pi­ons League and win­ning this ti­tle gives us a lot of trust,” he said.

“I’m very happy, not be­cause it is my fi­nal sea­son. I’m happy for the per­for­mance of the team, we played against a dif­fi­cult team in Liverpool, we lost to them at the Eti­had (4-1). I thought tonight we played very well. I’m very happy for Willy Ca­ballero, I think he de­served his mo­ment.”

Yaya Toure stroked home the de­ci­sive penalty kick af­ter City had missed their opener when Fer­nand­inho hit the post.

But, with Je­sus Navas and Ser­gio Aguero both con­vert­ing be­fore Toure, it was enough for City to lift the League Cup for a fourth time.

Liverpool’s first penalty was coolly scored by Emre Can but Ca­ballero then sprung into life to save from Lu­cas, Coutinho and Adam Lal­lana.

Liverpool boss Jur­gen Klopp ad­mit­ted he would be head­ing back to Mersey­side feel­ing “s***” but says his play­ers will pick them­selves up quickly – with a league clash against City at An­field on Wed­nes­day night.

“You have to feel a de­feat, you can’t say it is not im­por­tant. It is how it is. You know you can fall down but you have to stand up,” he said. “Only silly id­iots stay on the floor and wait for the next de­feat, we will strike back 100 per cent.”

IN SAFE HANDS: Willy Ca­ballero ex­celled in the penalty shoot-out, sav­ing three times to deny Jur­gen Klopp’s Liver­pool the tro­phy. Re­port.

THAT’S THE WAY TO DO IT: Wil­fried Bony hoists keeper Willy Ca­ballero aloft af­ter City’s dra­matic penalty shoot-out win

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