Persistence pays off for Man City as Mahrez savours EFL Cup triumph

By Sports Desk April 25, 2021

Riyad Mahrez admitted he was "scared" Manchester City would be hit by a Tottenham sucker-punch before Aymeric Laporte's header secured EFL Cup final glory at Wembley.

A dynamic City performance lacked just one thing as the trophy match entered its last 10 minutes: a goal.

Then Laporte leapt to head Kevin De Bruyne's free-kick past the busy Hugo Lloris and all was well in City's world, a fourth successive EFL Cup triumph and the first part of a possible treble secured.

City had 21 goal attempts to earn a 1-0 win while Tottenham had only two, both from outside the penalty area. The return of Harry Kane meant Spurs could cling to the presence of their talisman, but they could not provide him with service in the penalty area.

With 62.2 per cent of possession, it felt inevitable City's pressure would pay off, and eventually that proved to be the case.

Mahrez told Sky Sports: "It was a tough game. We knew it was going to be tough. We stayed focused, we kept dominating, we kept passing the ball and then we scored and I think we deserved to win."

The prospect of Tottenham making City pay for their wasted chances was in the back of the mind though, as Mahrez admitted.

"Obviously you're always scared because it's a good team, but we were very confident again," he said. "It's a very good win. We get the trophy again and we're very happy.

"Just like the manager said, we focus on every competition we play. It was the final and in a final you have to win, whether you play good or not. I think we played good and we won."

City are now level with Liverpool as the most successful team in this competition's history, with eight triumphs.

They look bankers for the Premier League title and have the first leg of their Champions League semi-final against Paris Saint-Germain coming up on Wednesday. That is the title City want most of all.

Mahrez said having supporters at Wembley made a "massive difference" to Sunday's occasion. Only 8,000 were allowed into the stadium that can seat 90,000, as English football begins its slow crawl back to normality, with the COVID-19 pandemic having led to empty stands.

"It was so good to have the fans back," Mahrez said. "The atmosphere, even with 8,000, was amazing and we're looking forward to having more fans there."

Related items

  • Veteran coach Waite confident of turning things around at Jago Veteran coach Waite confident of turning things around at Jago

    Veteran Manning Cup coach Jerome Waite is confident of turning the St Jago schoolboy football program around in short order, having recently taken the reigns, after parting ways with Charlie Smith a team that he has been associated with for several years.

    Waite who has been associated with the school’s football program in some capacity since 1987 has been an unfamiliar sight on the bench of the Monk Street-based team this season.  After over 30-years at the Charlie Smith, however, he looks forward to a new challenge.  

    “After changing so many lives you just have to know that it’s time to move on to another region and see how many lives you can change there,” Waite said of the move, which occurred two seasons ago.

    During his time as part of the Charlie Smith coaching unit, Waite has managed to claim three Manning Cup titles and believes that some level of success could soon be replicated at St Jago.

    “It can happen in three years (competitive team) once we spend a lot of time to get them it will happen.  You would classify this as a crash program because Covid messed up the whole season, but you have to give ISSA some credit.”

    St Jago has never won the title but went to the final in 2003.

  • Schoolboy Football Recap:  Garvey Maceo, Vere Technical book spots in next round, JC hammer St. George's for second win Schoolboy Football Recap: Garvey Maceo, Vere Technical book spots in next round, JC hammer St. George's for second win

    Charlie Smith defeated Calabar High 1-0 in game one of a group A doubleheader at Stadium East as ISSA Digicel Manning Cup action continued today.

    Andre Gibbs got the goal for Charlie Smith in the fourth minute.

    Charlie Smith now have three wins in five games and join group leaders, Kingston Technical, on nine points.

    Jamaica College got their second win of the season in the second game of the doubleheader with a 6-0 thrashing of St. Georges College, who lost their second game in a row and are now in danger of missing out on qualification to the quarterfinals.

    Captain, Duncan McKenzie, got a hat trick for JC with goals in the 11th, 25th, and 39th minutes with the other goals coming from Marlon Pennicooke in the 15th, Dwight Merrick in the 52nd, and Tarick Ximines in the 63rd minutes.

    That win now moves JC to third in group A on seven points, one more point than St. Georges on fourth.

    Kingston High and Bridgeport played out a 0-0 draw in the third group A game of the day at the Spanish Town Prison Oval.

    In group C, Wolmer’s officially got their first points of the season with a 3-0 win over Clan Carthy at Jamaica College.

    They originally won their first game against St. Mary’s College 13-0 but that result was deemed null and void after St. Mary’s College withdrew from the remainder of the competition.

    They are now fourth in group C on 3 points with three matches left.

    In daCosta Cup action, Garvey Maceo and Vere Technical officially booked their spots in the next round from zone F.

    Garvey Maceo won five out of five for a perfect 15 points after beating Foga Road 3-1 at Foga Road in their 3:30 match.

    Earlier, at Foga Road, Vere secured their spot in the next round with a 3-1 win over Kemps Hill.

    Old Harbour beat Central High 3-1 in the other zone game at Garvey Maceo.

    Garvey Maceo topped the zone with 15 points and will be joined in the next round by Vere who finished second with ten points.

    In zone B, Mannings and Godfrey Stewart were both winners in a doubleheader at Llandilo.

    Mannings got by Petersfield 2-0 in the 1:15 pm game, while Godfrey Stewart beat Green Island 3-0 in the 3:30 pm encounter.

    Rusea’s beat Frome 1-0 at Wespow Park in the other zone game.

    Mannings lead zone B with 10 points followed by Frome on nine with Petersfield third on seven.

    Bellefield clipped Belair 1-0 at Manchester in zone D action.

    A beatdown at Kirkvine saw Manchester High put 12 past Alston while conceding none in their 3:30 pm fixture.

    Manchester now leads zone B with 10 points and are still yet to concede a goal in the group stage.

    Christiana are second in the zone, also with 10 points while Bellefield are third with eight.

    In the lone zone H match of the day, Brown’s Town beat St. Mary High 7-0.

     

     

     

  • Nani confirms Orlando City departure Nani confirms Orlando City departure

    Nani has confirmed he is leaving Orlando City after three years with the Florida side.

    The former Manchester United forward joined Orlando in 2019, having left Serie A club Lazio.

    Nani led the club to their first postseason appearances, while Orlando also reached the final of the MLS Is Back Tournament in 2020.

    The 35-year-old scored 12 goals in his first season with the Lions, a further nine in 2020 and 10 this season as Orlando lost in the first round of the playoffs, going down 3-1 to Nashville SC.

    He explained it was not his decision to leave, but rather Orlando choosing not to extend his contract.

    In a statement posted to his official social media channels, Nani said: "All good things must come to an end. After three amazing seasons, full of great moments, new friendships and sporting success, I am leaving Orlando City.

    "Orlando is a city I can call home, with great people and fantastic supporters, but my contract has ended and there was a decision by the club not to extend it.

    "It was an honour captaining the club for its first ever playoff appearances and reaching the final of the MLS Is Back Tournament.

    "I shall never forget how the fans and community supported me and my family ever since the moment we arrived in Florida. You will have in me a friend and a fan for the future. I wish you all the best."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.