BY VICTOR OSOWOCHI – Defending champions, Manchester City and their age-long rivals Manchester United will renew hostilities after being drawn together in the blockbuster match-up of this year’s Carabao Cup semi-finals.
The two local rivals will butt heads once again with the opportunity to face either Leicester City or Aston Villa for the prize at Wembley Stadium
With memories of their combative premiership league encounter that saw United claiming a 2-1 away victory at Etihad still fresh, both English giants will fight for a place in the tournament’s final against the winner of the other last-four fixture between Leicester City and Aston Villa..
Both Manchester sides got through to the semi-finals against plucky lower league oppositions, with the Red Devils grinding out a 3-0 win against League Two side, Colchester United while Raheem Sterling’s brace helped City to a 3-1 defeat of League One club, Oxford United
On their part, Leicester required a penalty shootout to progress past Everton, as Jamie Vardy converted the winning spot-kick after Leighton Baines’ dramatic stoppage-time equaliser ensured the match finished 2-2 at the end of 90 minutes.
For Aston Villa, their comfortable 5-0 win against a Liverpool side weakened by those missing on Club World Cup duty saw them booking a place in the last four on Tuesday.
United and Leicester will host the first legs of their ties in the week commencing January 6, 2020 with the return matches scheduled for the week beginning January 27.
The Carabao Cup (formerly called The League Cup) final is slated to hold at Wembley Stadium on March 1, 2020
Manchester City will be aiming to win their third consecutive Carabao Cup title having defeated Arsenal 3-0 in 2018 and Chelsea on penalties after a goalless draw last season.
Pep Guardiola’s side will also be seeking revenge after being beaten 2-1 by United in the Premier League at the Etihad Stadium on December 7.
City, who are also seeking a third consecutive Premier League title, have fallen off the pace and are now 14 points behind Liverpool after 17 matches.
The Red Devils, who have won five Carabao Cups in their history, are battling to get back into the top four on the Premiership League table. They are currently in sixth position, four points behind fourth-placed Chelsea.
Leicester have been the Premier League’s surprise package so far this season, with the Foxes currently in second position, 10 points adrift of Liverpool. The Brendan Rodgers’ side will be hoping to win the Carabao Cup for the fourth time in their soccer history
Aston Villa have won the tournament on five occasions, with the last coming in 1996 when they triumphed over Leeds United in the final – With agency reports