SOUTHAMPTON 2-0 MANCHESTER CITY: Sekou Mara and Moussa Djenepo both scored during the first-half to help Nathan Jones’ side complete a big upset in the Carabao Cup
Manchester City are OUT of the Carabao Cup after suffering a shock 2-0 defeat to struggling Southampton on Wednesday night.
First-half goals from Sekou Mara and Moussa Djenepo saw the Saints establish a surprise lead at St Mary’s. City boss Pep Guardiola brought on the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Erling Haaland after the interval, but the changes failed to have the desired impact.
Southampton have now recorded back-to-back wins for the first time under Nathan Jones and will be confident of carrying their good form into the Premier League. They will face either Manchester United, Newcastle or Nottingham Forest in the semi-finals.
Here are the main talking points from St Mary’s…
Guardiola’s strong side
Jones wouldn’t have enjoyed reading City’s team sheet ahead of kick-off. Guardiola, who has plenty of reserves to call on, named the likes of Jack Grealish, Joao Cancelo, Phil Foden, Kyle Walker, Ilkay Gundogan and World Cup winner Julian Alvarez in his starting XI.
In comparison, Jones’ side contained a number of youngsters and unfamiliar names – led by skipper James Ward-Prowse. Their lack of experience is one of the reasons why they are rock bottom of the Premier League table and three points from safety. Their famous victory against Guardiola’s side, however, is an experience they will never forget.
Kit clash causes problems
Sky Sports viewers would’ve been forgiven for thinking Southampton were City during the opening minutes of Wednesday night’s game. That was mainly due to the two sides wearing very similar kits – but also because the hosts started on top.
Southampton took the game to their guests – playing positive, attacking football – although it left them vulnerable at the back. Cole Palmer nearly punished Jones’ side when he won possession and teed up Gundogan, but the German dragged his effort wide.
The Saints hit back moments later, as Duje Caleta-Car’s snapshot caught back-up goalkeeper Stefan Ortega by surprise. Ederson’s understudy did well to pull off a low save. All of a sudden, it seemed as if a famous cup upset might just be on the cards.
Saints stun City
That dream became more probable in the 23rd minute, as Mara belatedly opened his account in English football. The 20-year-old forward, who joined Southampton from Bordeaux last summer, got in front of Walker and whipped Lyanco’s low cross beyond Ortega.
The Saints doubled their advantage five minutes later through Djenepo’s vision. The Mali international spotted Ortega off his line and looped a curling effort over his head. Ortega will be disappointed with his poor goalkeeping, but take nothing away from Djenepo.
Substitutions speak volumes
Oh to be a fly on the wall of City’s dressing room at half-time…
Guardiola would’ve been furious with his team’s first-half display – evident by his three substitutions at the break. Walker, Palmer and Sergio Gomez were all hooked to make way for Nathan Ake, Manuel Akanji and Kevin De Bruyne.
City started the second half on the front foot, but they struggled to reduce the deficit. Alvarez missed a good opportunity shortly after the interval, while Grealish struggled to get on the end of some good crosses. It was obvious they needed Haaland.
Haaland fails to save the day
Guardiola brought his Norwegian talisman on just before the hour mark, although his introduction was hardly noticed. Southampton continued to frustrate City with a superb defensive effort and their hopes of a comeback dwindled with each passing minute.
The Saints even had the ball in the net again when Che Adams was penalised for an offside late on. As the game entered the 79th minute, City’s expectation turned into desperation.
In the end, Southampton held on to complete a memorable victory. City will not win a quadruple this season but – if Wednesday night’s evidence is anything to go by – Jones might just inspire his troops to Premier League safety. Enjoy your night, Saints fans.