MANCHESTER City added another League Cup to the growing collection of trophies under its Abu Dhabi ownership, beating Liverpool in a penalty shootout with Yaya Toure converting the clinching spot kick on Sunday.
And on a day of double delight for the Manchester clubs, United damaged Arsenal’s Premier League title challenge after new star Marcus Rashford scored twice in a 3-2 win.
The 18-year-old striker has now scored four goals in his first two starts for United. Second-place Tottenham rallied to beat Swansea 2-1 to trim the gap to surprise league leader Leicester to two points.
Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini claimed a third trophy in his three-year tenure that is ending this summer – and it was one of his contentious selections that paid off after the final finished 1-1 after extra time and went to penalties at Wembley Stadium.
Second-choice goalkeeper Willy Caballero was selected ahead of Joe Hart for the game – as he has done throughout this competition – and saved three penalties in the shootout.
Toure slotted the decisive penalty into the corner to seal a 3-1 shootout win and became the man for the big occasion again, having scored in both of City’s FA Cup and League Cup final victories in recent years. It was City’s second League Cup title in three years and fifth trophy since the club was taken over by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, a member of Abu Dhabi’s royal family.
City went ahead in regulation time through Fernandinho and wasted a series of chances before Philippe Coutinho equalized in the 83rd minute. Coutinho was one of the three Liverpool players to have a penalty saved in the shootout, along with Lucas Leiva and Adam Lallana.
In the Premier League, few could have imagined that it would be Leicester and Tottenham as the top two with 11 games left.
Tottenham kept up its pursuit of the leaders after scoring two goals in eight minutes -through Nacer Chadli and Danny Rose – to overhaul Swansea, which led early through Alberto Paloschi.
Arsenal is five points adrift of Leicester after another bad day at Old Trafford, where Rashford scored in the 29th and 32nd minutes to continue his dream start to his Manchester United career. On his senior debut on Thursday, Rashford also grabbed a double in the Europa League against FC Midtjylland.
After former United striker Danny Welbeck replied for Arsenal, Rashford set up Ander Herrera for a shot from the edge of the area that deflected in off Laurent Koscielny. Mesut Ozil made it 3-2 but fifth-place United held on comfortably to move three points off the top four.
Arsenal hasn’t won in the league at Old Trafford since 2006.