Long to take shape, the victories of Manchester City and Liverpool allow the two teams to find themselves in the last four of the FA Cup.
English football fans will be treated to an epic double confrontation between Manchester City and Liverpool. Six days after a potentially decisive meeting in the Premier League (April 10), the two dominant teams across the Channel will meet in the semi-finals of the League Cup after their respective qualifications this Sunday.
Laborious but well-confirmed qualifications for these two teams. Starting with City. Less dominating for a few matches, Guardiola’s band still had to wait for the last quarter of an hour of their quarter-final to take off against the combative Saints. The match had two major turns in favor of the reigning English champion. The first, in the 11th minute, when a very fine play from Southampton resulted in a strike from Adam Armstrong on the post, before, a few seconds later, helped by a small deflection from Tino Livramento, Raheem Sterling opened the score (1-0, 12th).
The second, in the 73rd, saw Che Adams miss the equalizer at 2-2 before Phil Foden, barely coming on, scored the break goal with a very nice shot from the left (3-1, 75th ). Southampton had, of course, benefited from a bad reflex from Aymeric Laporte who had pushed a fairly innocuous cross into his own goal, to equalize (1-1, 45 + 1), and Ilkay Gündogan had also seen the post refuse him the 2-0 (27th). But the logic was finally respected thanks to a penalty converted by Kevin de Bruyne, who had restored the advantage to the Citizens (2-1, 62nd) and thanks to Riyad Mahrez who killed all suspense quickly after Foden’s goal (4 -1, 78th).
Liverpool get scared in Nottingham
Faced with Nottingham Forest (D2), who fell Arsenal and defending champion Leicester in the two previous rounds, Liverpool only owed their salvation to a goal from Diogo Jota a quarter of an hour from the end of the match ( 0-1). This poster is forever charged with emotion, since the last confrontation between the two teams had been a semi-final of the Cup on the occasion of the disaster of the Hillsborough stadium, in Sheffield, in April 1989, which left 97 people dead.
The Nottingham club had also symbolically left 97 empty seats under a white tarpaulin to recall the tragedy. But the two teams honored the memory of the victims by delivering an intense match, in the incandescent atmosphere of the City Ground. Forest have once again been able to raise their level to pose big problems for the second in the Premier League. His Danish striker Philip Zinckernagel is also likely to see in his nightmares for a long time the huge opportunity of the 76th minute when he crossed his recovery a little too much, a few meters from goal.
A few seconds later, Jota sprang to cut a cross from Konstantinos Tsimikas and give a fairly logical, but cruel qualification to the Reds (1-0, 78th) who will therefore find City at Wembley, mid-April, for the semi-finals.
Crystal Palace sink Everton
After the capital victory in the fight for the maintenance against Newcastle (1-0), Everton was plunged into its doubts by the promising youth of Crystal Palace (4-0). This game against the Toffees was another opportunity to see the progress during the season of the Londoners, led since this summer by Patrick Vieira, adored at Selhurst Park.
Having little more to hope or fear from the championship with their 11th place, the Eagles have shown that they can be outsiders to follow in this cup. In a Selhurst Park with a great atmosphere, they withstood a difficult first 20 minutes against the determined start of their opponents, before almost scoring on their first chance. On a corner from Michael Olise, Marc Guéhi, called up for England for the first time on Thursday, scored with a header, almost unopposed (1-0, 25th).
Olise, called up with the French hopefuls, while he is also courted by England, signed a second lucky « decisive pass », with a strike with a bizarre trajectory which hit the post before returning to Wilfried Zaha, who resumed victoriously (3-0, 79th). Meanwhile, a former French Espoirs, Jean-Philippe Mateta, had doubled the bet shortly before the break (2-0, 41st), while Will Hughes gave the score an unfairly harsh scale for Frank Lampard’s team, at the very end of the match (4-0, 87th). With Erebechi Eze (23), Conor Gallagher (22), on loan from Chelsea, or Odsonne Edouard (24), Vieira has a young group supervised by more experienced players like Zaha (29) or Cheikou Kouyaté (32) who joined Chelsea in the last four, qualified on Saturday by beating Middlesbrough (2-0).