Sandwiched between a long, LONG drive with my family, I got the chance to see Manchester City lift the League Cup after defeating Liverpool on penalties. It was a tense game, but one that City should have won in normal time. A post, a bad penalty call and two terrible misses from Raheem Sterling were the ways in which City contrived to make their fans suffer before delivering in the shoot out. Still, it wouldn’t be a true City triumph without a whole load of unnecessary hassle.
Amidst the tense yet entertaining game, the crowd was fantastic. Liverpool were as boisterous as they tend to be on the big day, and City too shed their stereotype of quiet fans to get behind their side when it really mattered. Their noise was at its peak after Jesus Navas scored their first penalty. His roar of aggression rallied the fans into thinking they actually win the game they had seemingly so tried to throw away. The real penalty hero though was Caballero. All the pre-match musings of his inclusion being the wrong pick were silenced by an outstanding shootout display. He radiated confidence and his saves were top drawer. He was rightly mobbed when Yaya Toure calmly slotted in the winning penalty.
It was also nice that it was a final that seemed to pass without major incident. The incendiary narrative of Sterling threatened a little, but became little more than a knowing exchange between the two sets of supporters. The only down side of the event were the organisers: a kick off time that resulted in many fans arriving back up north well into the early hours; a tannoy system seemingly determined to kill any sort of atmosphere before the game or during the half time break. All in all, it was a great day out for a City fan, and commiserations both to Liverpool and their outstanding Wembley support.
Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisDWorrall