LONDON – A rare goal from Aymeric Laporte produced a familiar outcome: Manchester City winning the League Cup.
For the fourth successive season, Pep Guardiola’s side triumphed in the final of the competition on Sunday with a 1-0 victory over Tottenham.
With Tottenham proving hard to find a way past despite City's domination, it needed Laporte to head in his second goal of the season in the 82nd minute from Kevin De Bruyne's free kick.
“We have to keep this rhythm, this way to win more titles,” center back Laporte said.
What was less familiar for the finalists was officially being allowed to play in front of supporters from both teams. That hasn't happened since March 2020, but pandemic restrictions were eased to allow a crowd of 7,773 inside Wembley to see the first piece of silverware of the season handed out.
“It was good for us to share it with our people," Guardiola said. "There was some good noise. We did it for them. They represented the people at home.”
There was also an unfamiliar sight on the touchline, with 29-year-old rookie coach Ryan Mason managing Tottenham following Jose Mourinho's firing on Monday. A change in manager couldn't end Tottenham's trophy drought since lifting this cup in 2008.
The pain in the dressing room was all-too-familiar for Mason, who was in the Tottenham side that lost the 2015 League Cup final to Chelsea before a head injury ended his career.