So City found that extra slice of class at the death, but the teams go to Ashton Gate with the tie still alive - Bristol City can't have hoped for much more than that. And they'll be justifiably proud of that performance tonight, enterprising and disciplined. Anyway, thanks for your company - night-night.
- 2nd Half
- De Bruyne55'
- 1st Half
- Reid (P)44'
Manchester City - Bristol City
League Cup - 10 January 2018
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Full-time: Manchester City 2-1 Bristol City
GOAL! Manchester City 2-1 Bristol City (Aguero) Finally, a ball Aguero can work with, Bernardo curling in as he runs off Wright to bump a header past Fielding.
Perhaps most impressive has been the concentration displayed by Bristol City's defenders. They've been first to almost every loose ball, blocking and clearing with certainty and intensity.
There'll be three added minutes.
Walker stands up a cross, seeking Aguero who's barely had a kick since coming on. But Baker is up early and heads away, the clearance completed by Wright.
Long throw from Brownhilll which Gundogan can't head clear, so Paterson pokes to Walsh and he fires just wide of the near post from a tricky angle. This really is a remarkable performance from the Championship side!
Bristol city are defending well, making City pass from side to side until De Bruyne has seen enough, charging at the heart of the box and zipping past two challenges like they're nothing before whacking a poke just wide.
Gundogan shoots, Flint blocks, and when Bernardo slings a cross in towards Aguero, there he is again to nut clear.
Sane pops up on the right and reaches the line, but Bryan is on hand to block his cross at source. This isn't actually that difficult for the visitors.
Bit of pressure from Bristol City! Brownhill hurls in a throw, Mangala heads behind. Nothing comes of the corner, though Baker does very well to chuck himself at Sterling, thus preventing a counter.
Guardiola chucks on another of his first-teamers: Walker replaces Zinchenko.
Bristol City look comfortable here, and Fielding confidently waves another cross past his far post.
I do hope Mangala's dressing room nickname is Mrs.
Not directly related, but amusing enough to share...
Bristol City are taking their time with everything now, Fielding waiting and waiting to collect the ball before kicking it as far as he can. Mangala then slices it into touch; how on earth was he viewed as a serious defender?
The away support are properly going for it; it's been a fine performance from them tonight.
Gundogan has been rubbish tonight, and he takes the ball from Zinchenko then slices high and wide.
Change for Bristol City: Walsh comes on for his debut, replacing Magnusson. He'll go into midfield, with Brownhill dropping back into defence.
City have just quietened down a bit.
This, however, is a tune.
Guardiola has seen enough: Aguero replaces Toure, who has done nothing.
What a save Fielding! It looks like not very much is going on, but then De Bruyne curls in low from the right, Sterling gets across Flint, and turns a first-time shot towards the near post. But FFielding is perfectly positioned and drops an arm to shovel away.
Bristol City might just be coming out of it; they've had a couple of moments these last few minutes, getting the ball into the City half and giving their defence a breather. But then Wright has to head away from Sane, conceding a corner, and the pressure ratchets up once more.
Paterson gets away from Zinchenko down the right and curves a cross around him, into the middle. But Reid can't quite catch up with, so Bravo collects and clears.
I said he's not playing well and he isn't, but Sane is still such a threat, stretching Bristol City as he does every defence. Again, he gets to the line, and Smith does very well to deflect his cross behind; the corner comes to nowt.
One-way traffic now; I wonder if Lee Johnson will change things, because City are going to score again in a minute.
De Bruyne swerves the free-kick in low, and Fielding can't hold on to it, but his defenders help him out, one of them hacking clear.
Sane isn't quite on it at the moment, and when Brownhill steps up and De Bruyne puts the ball into the space he vacated, the German can only whack the ball miles past everyone. But De Bruyne pursues it as Bryan looks to clear and misses, landing a beautiful shin to the midsection instead; he's booked.
Bryan slides in, landing one on Sterling who gets right in his coupon by way of remonstration.
Toure looks to have won the debate, but in fact rolls the ball to De Bruyne, whose shot is charged down.
Flint bodychecks De Bruyne on the edge of the box and is booked; about 17 City players want to take the free-kick.
GOAL! Manchester City 1-1 Bristol City (De Bruyne) This is a very good goal, and has been coming. Bravo is allowed to pass the ball into midfield, setting De Bruyne away with nary a challenge to stop him. He then feeds Sterling on his outside, and rather than shoot or cross, Sterling fools the defence by disguising a back to De Bruyne, who duly smashes past Fielding.
When Manchester United played at Ashton Gate, they, and Paul Pogba in particular, seemed to assume that they'd win, wanting too long on the ball and seeking to be too precise with their passes. It looks a little like City assumed similarly.
Bristol City win a corner and waste it, so City break, Sterling streaking away at inside-left ... but Brownhill does brilliantly to keep the pressure on and then Fielding charges out, wearing the eventuating shot on the chest. He's having a very good game, timing his charges to perfection and rushing the man looking to beat him.
De Bruyne powers through midfield and tees up Sane to his left ... Sane takes a touch but then, when he should shoot, he decides to take another, giving Baker time to slide across and force him to drag a shot wide.
Sterling slips Danilo away down the right and his cross is low and hard, but Fielding is well placed to dive on it.
The thing is, Bristol City haven't actually been asked to do that much; without a centre-forward and without David Silva, City lack incision.
Well. Off we go again!
Bristol City have been excellent, organised and brave at the back, enterprising and confident going forward. City have had their moments, but this has not been the expected onslaught. Pep Guardiola has work to do.
Half-time: Manchester City 0-1 Bristol City
Amazing! Sterling touches off to Bernardo, takes the return, and as Fielding rushes out, lifts a shot over him ... and towards the net ... only for Flint to leap and crane his neck to head over the bar! Outstanding defending!
Bristol City earned the reward of a goal for their boldness in possession - when they can, they're getting forward in numbers and seeking to get shots off.
There'll be two added minutes.
GOAL! Manchester City 0-1 Bristol City (Reid) This penalty is just about good enough, hit low and firmly; Bravo dives over the top of it, and you what?! YOU WHAT?!
PENALTY TO BRISTOL CITY! Mangalais caught in possession by Brownhill as he tries to clear and a perfect pass is duly slid into Reid, who nips a touch away from Stones. Still, there's no need for Stones to go to ground and offer a leg, but he does, and that's a stonewaller!
A long ball over the top is turned into something by the industry of Bryan and Paterson; the former looks to shoot but skews a cross instead, but the latter can't get the necessary connection and City clear.
Basically, City need a centre-forward. The problem is that Aguero is notoriously injury-prone, and if he gets a knock against Bristol City, they've got a problem. In the meantime, the visitors look just as likely to score as the home side. they're not as good, obviously, but are threatening.
Bristol City break in numbers again, and again Bryan leads the attack. He treis coming inside onto his right foot, but can't get a shot away and City hare forward. Bernardo squirting a shot across the box which Brownhill fancily flicks to Gundogan; he whacks over the bar.
An inept header from Flint gives City a corner, which goes short to Gundogan. Just outside the box, he comes inside and bends a finish towards the far bottom corner, but Wright gets a leg in the way to deflect wide; the ref gives a goalkick.
I think City have shuffled their forward line, with Silva now on the left, Sane in the middle and Sterling on the right.
Nice from Bristol City, Magnusson flying down the left and crossing; Mangala heads into the path of Pack, who catches it beautifully, but his drive it close enough to Bravo for even him to save. Still, good to see the visiting midfielders getting so far forward.
Mangala snaps a low pass into Sane who touches off ... and is flattened by Wright. He does well to avoid a booking, after which De Bruyne curls the free-kick into Fielding's arms, though he contrives to drop it nonetheless, collecting cleanly at the second attempt.
City are stepping it up territorially, but they've yet to create much in the way of chances. But look, there's Wright grabbing Stones by the waist and dragging him down as the ball passes; if the ref sees that, it's a penalty.
Also, it's less embarrassing if they take a kicking, and teams capable of administering kickings tend not to be at full-strength.
Exactly what I was thinking.
Paterson finds Smith at inside-right, and he cuts inside but a heavy touch allows Mangala to block him off.
Sane is an unbelievable mover, and he switches on the gas to drive at the by-line, crossing low to no one. But City can't get the ball away, and it ends up with De Bruyne down the left, just outside the box. He looks up and seeks to deceive Fielding with a curler but headed towards the near top corner; Fielding manages to prang it behind for a corner which is wasted.
Nice from Bryan, who barges away from Danilo to win a corner ... it's hit towards Flint on the other side of the box, but he can't get a decent head on it.
Bristol City are growing in confidence, forcing a few throws in the City half which are heaved towards the box - to no avail, but it's the thought that counts.
Sterling rustles Wright trying to play out from the back and zooms in towards the centre before finding Bernardo, who can't get properly around the ball, shooting wide of the far post.
Mangala puts De Bruyne under pressure with a square pass and Smith picks his pocket, feeding Bryan down the left. As he did against Manchester United, he lets fly, but this time Bravo dives to shove away at his near post. smith then picks up the rebound, but can't then pick out a man with his low cross. Still, decent effort and a warning to City.
Sane drives at the Bristol City defence and moves the ball square to Bernanrdo, who rolls his studs over it, comes inside, and cracks a shot against Wright which loops up and behind. The corner comes to nothing.
The thing is, City drew with Palace just the other day and only squeezed past West Ham, which is to say that Bristol City aren't that much worse and are playing with far greater confidence. So with City not playing an XI accustomed to one another, beating them isn't easy.
Long throw comes in and Flint flicks on; the ball falls for Paterson, who wallops a bouncing ball into Stones' phizog. City then break, but Sterling can't get an angle to run around Baker.
Nice lay-off fro Reid, who turns and spins in behind, allowing Brownhill to try the pass over the top. But Stones is wise to the ruse and Bristol City have to content themselves with a throw.
This is an alright start from Bristol City, though as I type that Sterling worries Flint, chasing a beautiful through-ball from De Bruyne. The defender does just enough.
Toure gets the ball laid back to feet and immediately seeks to punch De Bruyne in, but Fielding is out sharply and does just about enough to avert the danger.
Bristol City break, and Magnusson tries a through pass which is cut out by Mangala.
And De Bruyne takes the ball short from Sane before curling a shot towards the far top corner; Fielding does well to palm it behind and this time the corner comes to nowt.
Sane slips Gundogan towards the line, and his cross is knocked behind; corner.
Sane gambols after a loose ball inside the centre-circle, but Baker does well to contrive an accidental collision which enables him to get the ball away.
Bernardo keeps the width and then slides a pass infield for De Bruyne, whose low cross is kicked away by Flint.
Bristol City are sitting off City in City's half, then engaging when they cross the line. Their back four are sat on the edge of the box.
Bristol City set us away.
The players are in the tunnel. This City side are incredibly unimposing physically, the problem for their opponents being that this is a football match, not a fight.
CITYZENS, dearie me.
Louis Carey reckons Bristol City will look to attack, though of course there'll be times when they're penned in their own half.
Pep Guardiola says City will try to win. I know! Lee Johnson says his side will be as brace as possible, and his players will be looking to enhance their reputations, and "it'll be rude not to give every last drop of energy". He likes City's selection, which he says is "very respectful".
I'm not quite sure where Oleksandr Zinchenko will play tonight. City's Twitter ahs him in the back four; I wonder if Toure will play there with him in midfield. Either way, he's a very nice little player.
I know I intimated that this tie is a done deal and it probably is, but let's not forget that Bristol City are doing well in the Championship and are confident, settled and under no pressure. If City try and half-arse this - as United did - they'll have a problem.
Bristol City, meanwhile, make eight changes from their Cup defeat by Watford, but only one from the last league game, and that in goal where Frank Field returns for Luke Steele. On the bench, Liam Walsh, newly arrived from Everton, appears on the teamsheet for the first time.
So City go with a fluid front five. My guess is that it'll be Bernardo and Sane either side of Sterling, but you never know.
And City even have the first leg at home. I know that's meant to be a disadvantage, but it's not, least of all in this competition, in which away goals only count after extra-time. As such, City have the opportunity to finish the tie tonight - Pep Guardiola has certainly picked a team capable of doing that - so that when the second leg comes around, a proper reserve XI will be more than enough.
Evening all! When it's going your way, it's going your way. Manchester City scarcely need any good fortune, but they got some anyway: not only did neighbours and closest rivals United contrive to lose to Bristol City, but City then went and drew them in the semi-finals, leaving Arsenal and Chelsea to aggravate each other elsewhere. No more than cuddly Sheikh Mansour deserves, really.