Willy Caballero was Manchester City’s hero as they beat Liverpool 3-1 on penalties to win the Capital One Cup final at Wembley Stadium. The 34 years old Argentine goalkeeper was selected ahead of first-choice Joe Hart and he spectacularly rewarded the faith of manager Manuel Pellegrini with saves from Lucas, Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana in the shoot-out after the game ended 1-1 after extra time.
Fernandinho put Manchester City ahead in the beginning of the second half after an error by Liverpool’s otherwise heroic keeper Simon Mignolet. But two glaring misses from former Liverpool forward Raheem Sterling opened the door for Coutinho’s late leveller. In the shootout, Fernandinho hit a post with City’s first kick, but Jesus Navas and Sergio Aguero were on target as Caballero made his decisive saves, allowing Yaya Toure to convert the winning penalty.
Pellegrini made a huge call in selecting the veteran Caballero ahead of Hart, particularly in the light of his dreadful display in the 5-1 FA Cup fifth-round defeat by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge a week earlier. Manchester City manager has always trusted the keeper he coached at Malaga before bringing him to Etihad Stadium – and it was repaid with interest as Caballero made a magnificent stop from Divock Origi’s header before defying Liverpool in the shootout.
This was a victory of great significance for Pellegrini, not simply in the context of his forthcoming replacement by Guardiola, but also in the light of his selection policies in the past week. The Chilean can feel vindicated by success – with a League Cup won and City still in contention for the Premier League and Champions League. Manuel Pellegrini has now won three trophies since arriving at Manchester City in June 2013 with a league title and a Capital One Cup in his first season.
Curated from Liverpool 1-1 Manchester City (pens 1-3) – BBC Sport