Sergio Aguero’s 83rd minute winner keeps Manchester City’s hopes of claiming their first Carling Cup since 1976 alive as they overcame Arsenal at The Emirates Stadium.
The Argentine, who replaced Aleksander Kolarov in the first half, produced the killer touch late on following a brilliant flick from Adam Johnson to cap a stunning City counter-attack
It was further proof of City’s squad strength, as 10 changes from the draw with Liverpool did little to disrupt their momentum.
The pre-match build-up had been dominated by Samir Nasri, who returned to Arsenal for the first time since leaving for the Etihad Stadium at the start of the season, while there was also a return to Kolo Toure, making just his third City start since his six month drugs ban.
Amid the incessant boos directed towards former-charge Nasri, it was the home side that were also making all the noise on the pitch, with Park Chu-Young and then Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain forcing Costel Pantilimon, one of City’s understated summer signings, into two brilliant saves to keep the scores level.
The visitors were a constant threat at the other end, particularly through Johnson, whose pace and tricky footwork provided some decent moments for City, however, they were unable to manufacture any clear-cut openings.
The second period panned out in a similar fashion, with both sides restricted to efforts from range, as Oxlade-Chamberlain and Edin Dzeko continued to be frustrated.
But with seven minutes remaining, City produced the clinical finish the contest required as Dzeko found Johnson, whose exquisite lay off to substitute Aguero, who provided the final touch The Gunners had been bereft of all evening, sent Mancini's men through to the last four.
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