Manchester City has won the 2021 Carabao Cup final with a 1-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley.
In a pilot event for the return of fans, there were 8,000 spectators present to watch Pep Guardiola’s City take on Ryan Mason’s Tottenham. The game was decided by an 82nd-minute header from Aymeric Laporte.
City has now won four consecutive Carabao Cups and lifted the trophy in five of the last six seasons.
City dominated the first half, constantly peppering the Tottenham goal without finding a breakthrough. Raheem Sterling had the half’s best chance, but his effort was well blocked by Eric Dier.
The second half was a more cagey affair, with Riyad Mahrez providing a moment of quality as he beat several Tottenham defenders and saw his curling shot beaten away by Hugo Lloris.
City finally took the lead in the 82nd minute, as Laporte headed home from a Kevin De Bruyne free-kick.
With City guaranteed to finish in the top five, their win in the final means the Premier League’s space in next season’s Europa Conference League will now fall to whoever finishes sixth or seventh, depending on the result of next month’s FA Cup final.
If Chelsea or Leicester win the FA Cup and finish in the top five, then the remaining Europa League place will fall to the team that finishes sixth with the Europa Conference League spot going to the seventh-place side. If, however, either team wins the FA Cup and finishes seventh or lower, that place in the inaugural Europa Conference League will go to the sixth-place team.
Had Tottenham won at Wembley, they would have secured themselves European football for next season — which is by no means a guarantee via their final league position. Mason’s side currently sits seventh but is only a point ahead of Everton who has a game in hand.