UK – The EFL Cup returned with a five-goal thriller between Manchester City and Liverpool, Nottingham Forest heavily defeated Blackburn Rovers, whilst Charlton Athletic produced a shock result as they beat Brighton.
Manchester City and Liverpool have had a fierce rivalry in recent years, with both teams competing for the biggest honours in the English game. As domestic football returned, it was City who edged past the Reds in an epic encounter at the Etihad.
Pep Guardiola‘s side took an early lead when Kevin De Bruyne‘s cross was acrobatically turned in by Erling Haaland. The lead did not last long, just ten minutes later Fabio Carvalho slotted in the equaliser.
City regained the lead just two minutes into the second half as Riyad Mahrez cut in before firing his shot into the bottom corner. Jurgen Klopp‘s team responded again, with Mohamed Salah tapping into an empty net just a minute later.
The winner came from an unlikely source, Nathan Ake headed in from a De Bruyne free-kick, to take his side into the quarter-finals of the cup. City will travel to St Mary’s to face Southampton in the next round.
Blackburn Rovers had beaten West Ham United in the third round so were out to cause another upset. However, they were dismantled 4-1 by Nottingham Forest at Ewood Park.
Brennan Johnson gave Forest an early lead, placing his penalty high into the net. But Blackburn equalised just before the break, Adam Wharton‘s cross from a free-kick found his brother Scott Wharton who headed in.
The visitors started the second half much as they did in the first, Jesse Lingard‘s shot from outside the box took a deflection and trickled in. Lingard then turned provider as his through ball found Taiwo Awoniyi, who poked the ball past Aynsley Pears to make it three.
The rout was completed in added time when Johnson got his second goal of the game. The Welshman dribbled done the wing before slotting the ball into the bottom corner.
Charlton shock Brighton
Charlton Athletic who is currently 18th in League 1, caused the only upset of the round as they defeated Brighton of the Premier League.
The Addicks had just 23% possession but managed to keep the Seagulls at bay, the tie remained goalless at the end of the 90 minutes.
Adam Lallana had hit the crossbar in the first half, whilst Charlton’s goalkeeper Ashley Maynard-Brewer had an excellent game. Maynard-Brewer was to be the hero in the shootout also, as he saved Moisés Caicedo‘s effort, which gave Sam Lavelle the chance to win it.
Lavelle fired his penalty into the top corner, to send his side into the quarter-finals, where they will face Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Gillingham who is currently at the foot of League 2, produced one of the shocks of the third round as they beat Brentford on penalties. They took on another Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers, and come close to having the tie decided on spot-kicks.
The Gills defended well, but Wolves’ relentless pressure eventually paid off in the 77th minute, when Raul Jimenez slotted in from the penalty spot. It was a soft call to award the kick, and in added time the victory was secured.
Rayan Ait Nouri made it 2-0 as he fired into the bottom corner, which ensured a winning start for Julen Lopetegui‘s side. They will play Nottingham Forest in the next round.
The quarter-finals of the EFL Cup will get underway on the week of January 9.
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