Aymeric Laporte headed a late winner as Manchester City beat Tottenham 1-0 to claim the Carabao Cup for the fourth successive year.
The Frenchman, who Spurs felt could have been sent off earlier in the game, nodded in from a corner 10 minutes from time as City claimed a victory their superiority fully deserved.
Spurs interim manager Ryan Mason had gambled on the fitness of Harry Kane but the England captain hardly threatened as City completely dominated.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) April 25, 2021
It was a record-equalling eighth League Cup triumph for City and their sixth in the past eight seasons.
They will also hope it is the first of three trophies this season alone, although Spurs could argue Laporte was fortunate to still be on the field to claim the decisive goal.
The Frenchman committed two cynical fouls of Lucas Moura in the latter stages of the first half but was only booked for the second one.
Yet, in truth, Spurs struggled in a one-sided contest.
It was a joyous occasion for City and also a significant day for the wider game as both clubs had a limited number of fans present.
Following on from 2,000 local residents being permitted at an FA Cup semi-final last week, 8,000 spectators were this time allowed inside Wembley.
Fans were back in the Wembley stands for the Carabao Cup final. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Each side had 2,000 of their own socially distanced fans and the noise generated, even by such a small gathering, much a huge difference to the atmosphere after a season of games behind closed doors.
The Spurs fans gave Mason plenty of support in what must have been a daunting task in only his second game in charge following the unexpected sacking of Jose Mourinho.
They also made their thoughts on the club board clear as they, along with City, continue to deal with the fallout from this week’s shambolic European Super League episode.
Not surprisingly Mason risked Kane but City were also boosted by the return of Kevin De Bruyne.
That was not the only good news for City as Manchester United’s failure to beat Leeds earlier in the day put them within two wins of regaining the Premier League crown.
Yet that was not the issue on Guardiola’s mind and, judging by his decision not to wrap De Bruyne in cotton wool, nor was Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final against Paris St Germain.
Harry Kane toiled at Wembley. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Guardiola’s side went straight onto the front foot and it was remarkable it took them so long to make the breakthrough.
Raheem Sterling, challenged by Guardiola to rediscover his best after a run of indifferent form, looked lively from the start.
The England forward made some good early runs and teed up a good chance for Phil Foden, who shot wide.
Sterling then put wide himself from a Riyad Mahrez cross before having another good chance brilliantly blocked by Eric Dier.
Foden thought he had scored after De Bruyne whipped in a cross and a chance fell to him at close range but his effort deflected off Toby Alderweireld and hit a post.
So limited were Spurs’ chances their fans celebrated winning a corner as if it was a goal but they had a rare opportunity when Alderweireld dragged a long-range shot wide.
Laporte clinches it for City. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Sterling went close again when he attempted to lift over Huge Lloris from a tight angle and Mahrez twice narrowly missed the target in quick succession.
Joao Cancelo then tested Lloris from outside the area but Spurs somehow reached the interval with their goal intact.
Spurs made a stronger start to the second period and finally worked Zack Steffen in the City goal as Giovani Lo Celso curled in a low shot, but the American tipped it round a post.
Yet City kept coming and twice threatened on the counter-attack before De Bruyne and Mahrez were closed down. Fernandinho then headed at Lloris, Mahrez forced another save and Ilkay Gundogan volleyed wide.
Finally City got the goal their superiority deserved as Laporte came forward and powered home a header from a De Bruyne corner. There was no way back for Spurs as City pressed to the end.