Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola revelled in his much-changed side’s Carabao Cup progression at the expense of Leicester but immediately doused suggestions that the runaway Premier League leaders could scoop an unprecedented quadruple.
Star turns Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, who had been brought on with Leicester trailing 1-0 in normal time, missed the decisive spot-kicks as City prevailed on penalties for the second time in this season’s tournament.
Vardy had earlier sent the tie into extra-time with a last-gasp penalty after Bernardo Silva had fired City into the lead. Ilkay Gundogan, Yaya Toure, teenager Lukas Nmecha and Gabriel Jesus held their nerve in the shootout as City secured their place in tonight’s semi-final draw.
“I am so happy,” said Guardiola. “A lot of young players played and I’m so happy to see the older players help the younger ones and so happy to reach the semi-finals in the way we did. What I liked the most is how we reacted to the situation.”
When asked about the possibility of City winning all four competitions for which they are entered this term, the Spaniard added: “Forget about it. That is not going to happen.”
City may have made nine changes to their starting XI for the trip to the King Power Stadium but were at their scintillating best on 26 minutes as £43m summer signing Silva fired them into the lead.
A driving burst from deep by Gundogan laid the foundations, although the strike owed much to the intelligent movement of Jesus, as Silva collected a pass from the German to stab home left-footed.
The game appeared to be meandering to a predictable conclusion until referee Bobby Madley deemed full-back Kyle Walker to have tripped Demarai Gray and pointed to the spot for a 97th-minute penalty.
Vardy lashed low past goalkeeper Claudio Bravo to ensure an additional 30 minutes and, ultimately, a shootout.