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Player ratings as Grealish, Mahrez & Ortega shine in Carabao Cup win



Manchester City ultimately prevailed relatively comfortably over Chelsea in the third round of the Carabao Cup on Thursday night, with Riyad Mahrez and Julian Alvarez both scoring at the Etihad Stadium and goalkeeper Stefan Ortega performing heroics at the other end.

City started the brighter of the two sides, although it was Chelsea who had the clearest sight of goal in the opening stages. Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Hakim Ziyech attacked down the right, with the ball into the box coming last off City teenager Rico Lewis and needing Ortega to turn it away.

Ilkay Gundogan soon brushed the top of the net with a chipped free-kick after Jack Grealish had been scythed down by Kalidou Koulibaly on the edge of the box.


City created another chance when Lewis broke forward down the right and drove a dangerous ball across the face of the goal. It was just missing an Erling Haaland on the end of it, with the Norwegian sat on the bench and not needed on the night.

But even with City more dominant overall, Chelsea should have taken the lead just before half-time. Blues teenager Lewis Hall was fed by Christian Pulisic and did everything right to cut inside Lewis, but couldn’t beat Ortega from close range as the City goalkeeper threw out a leg to block the finish.

Early in the second half, Marc Cucurella had to get a tackle on the advancing Mahrez spot on to avoid giving away a penalty – and he did, denying an almost certain goal. Edouard Mendy also twice saved from the impressive Jack Grealish, but the Chelsea resistance couldn’t hold out.

Fewer than 10 minutes into the second half, Mahrez smashed a free-kick into the back of the net. There was no time for Mendy to even move but questions will be asked of Koulibaly, who didn’t jump in the wall and saw the ball flash within reach of his head.


Mahrez was also involved when Alvarez made it two not long after. It was actually Alvarez who played the ball out wide to the Algerian, whose shot upon cutting inside from the right was saved by Mendy, only for Alvarez to be following it in on the rebound.

It was a strong Mendy hand denying Cole Palmer that stopped it immediately being 3-0.

Ortega, already with two crucial saves under his belt, then made another great stop. Again, it was Hall who had the chance for Chelsea, unable to beat the inspired City goalkeeper after being found in the middle of the box by Hakim Ziyech.

Chelsea tried to make it a nervous finish for City and almost did when the ball cannoned into the net off substitute Nathan Ake. Ortega’s first mistake of the night saw a cross slip through his grasp, resulting in a bit of penalty area pinball that included the ball striking the post.

Stefan Ortega had a good night in goal

Stefan Ortega had a good night in goal / LINDSEY PARNABY/GettyImages

GK: Stefan Ortega – 9/10 – Made two big saves in the first half and then another in the second, all at crucial times.

RB: Rico Lewis – 6/10 – Struggled defensively at times but did get forward.

CB: Ruben Dias – 7/10 – Handled Chelsea’s threats well and seemed to enjoy the physical battle with Broja.

CB: Aymeric Laporte – 7/10 – Did everything asked of him on a relatively quiet night.


LB: Sergio Gomez – 6/10 – A comfortable display overall, though he may have wanted to offer Guardiola more to think about.

CM: Cole Palmer – 7/10 – Looked at home zipping the ball about and playing in tight areas.

CM: Rodri – 5/10 – Brought off just five minutes into the second half.

CM: Ilkay Gundogan (c) – 5/10 – Didn’t make his usual impact.


RW: Riyad Mahrez – 8/10 – Fired City into the lead and involved in the second goal when his initial was parried into Alvarez’s path.

ST: Julian Alvarez – 8/10 – Made his goal possible in the first place by finding Mahrez in space, then had the anticipation to react to the rebound.

LW: Jack Grealish – 8/10 – Looked dangerous when the had the chance to run with the ball at speed.

SUB: Bernardo Silva (50′ for Gundogan) – 7/10


SUB: Kalvin Phillips (50′ for Rodri) – 6/10

SUB: Nathan Ake (81′ for Laporte) – 6/10

Manager: Pep Guardiola – 7/10 – Didn’t waste time making changes only five minutes into the second half. Unorthodox so soon after having the half-time break, but it worked.

Lewis Hall

Youngster Lewis Hall was bright and breezy for Chelsea / Lewis Storey/GettyImages

GK: Edouard Mendy – 7/10 – Made a number of saves even though he was also beaten. The deficit could have been more without him.


CB: Trevoh Chalobah – 5/10 – Not the best night for Chalobah, who is making losing a bit of a habit after going unbeaten for so long.

CB: Kalidou Koulibaly – 5/10 – Forced to carry a yellow card for a long time. Should have done more to try and block the opening goal.

CB: Marc Cucurella – 6/10 – Played with good energy in both directions and did make a couple of important tackles.

RM: Ruben Loftus-Cheek – 6/10 – Made a good driving run in the first half but that kind of thing didn’t happen enough.


CM: Mateo Kovacic – 5/10 – Only a fraction of his passes went forward into the final third. Too safe.

CM: Denis Zakaria – 4/10 – Probably still lacking match fitness. Saw very little of the ball but also struggled to win it either.

LM: Lewis Hall – 7/10 – Had two great moments to score that were both met by great Ortega saves. Still impressed overall but probably shouldn’t have given the City goalkeeper even a chance to save them.

RF: Hakim Ziyech – 6/10 – Missed the target at 1-0 that could have made the difference. Also made a great opportunity for Hall.


ST: Armando Broja – 5/10 – Didn’t have many touches at all and looked isolated.

LF: Christian Pulisic – 6/10 – Created a few chances on the night. Should the American offer more? Probably.

SUB: Raheem Sterling (68′ for Ziyech) – 6/10

SUB: Mason Mount (68′ for Broja) – 7/10


SUB: Conor Gallagher (69′ for Zakaria) – 6/10

SUB: Cesar Azpilicueta (69′ for Chalobah) – 6/10

SUB: Kai Havertz (75′ for Hall) – 6/10

Manager: Graham Potter – 5/10 – Chelsea were too flat in the crucial period straight after half-time and the quadruple substitution was too late because it did seem to make a positive difference.


Player of the match – Stefan Ortega (Man City)

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When did the Magpies last win a cup?



Newcastle are planning for success at the highest level following the 2021 takeover by a consortium of the Saudi Public Investment Fund, PCP Capital Partners, and David and Jamie Reuben.

On-pitch fortunes have turned around pretty drastically since Mike Ashley’s departure, with Eddie Howe coming in as manager and the likes of Bruno Guimaraes, Sven Botman and Alexander Isak all arriving for big transfer fees.

The squad’s aim in the near future will be to break the trophy duck the club has endured for many years now. They’re well set in the 2022/23 Carabao Cup, but when was the last time the Magpies brought silverware back to Tyne and Wear?


Newcastle have not won a domestic trophy since 1955. They did earn silverware in 2009/10 and 2016/17 for winning the Championship, while their European honours are the 1968/69 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, the Anglo-Italian Cup in 1973 and the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 2006.

The Inter-Cities Fairs Cup is naturally seen as a predecessor to the UEFA Cup and now Europa League, though the tournament itself did not fall under UEFA jurisdiction. As such, it is not seen as prestigious in the modern age, though Newcastle fans of a certain vintage will almost certainly disagree.

In 1955, the Magpies defeated Manchester City to win their sixth FA Cup. Strikes from Jackie Milburn, Bobby Mitchell and George Hannah gave them victory despite Bobby Johnstone’s equaliser in the verge of half time.

Newcastle have been a consistent feature in the top league in England since the club was founded in 1892. Four league titles and six FA Cups help make the Magpies the ninth-most decorated team with trophies in England.


Newcastle have never won the League Cup, their closest run being a runners-up finish to Manchester City in 1975/76. They were beaten as strikes from Peter Barnes and Dennis Tueart made Alan Gowling’s equaliser redundant.

They have never won the Premier League in its current format, having come closest in 1995/96 and 1996/97 when they came second behind Manchester United on both occasions.

Newcastle came close to lifting the FA Cup on two occasions in the late 1990s, reaching the finals in 1998 and 1999. However, they came up against English giants Arsenal and Man Utd respectively and they couldn’t make the step up in either final.

Arsenal proved too strong in 1998 as strikes from Marc Overmars and Nicolas Anelka separated the two sides, while another 2-0 defeat came a year later when Teddy Sheringham and Paul Scholes downed Alan Shearer and co.


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Man Utd close to signing Marcel Sabitzer on loan from Bayern Munich



Man Utd are close to signing Marcel Sabitzer from Bayern Munich on a loan deal until the end of the season, 90min has learned.

United have moved for Sabitzer on transfer deadline day following the news that Christian Eriksen will be out until late April or early May with an ankle injury sustained in the FA Cup win over Reading on Saturday.

The Dane’s injury leaves United light in the midfield department, with Donny van de Beek also out for the remainder of the season with an injury of his own.


Sabitzer, 28, boarded a flight to Manchester from Munich on Tuesday evening after an agreement of a straight loan deal was largely fleshed out between the two clubs, and the player has also agreed personal terms. 90min reported earlier in the day that Sabitzer was “very excited” about the potential move to Old Trafford.

The club were not planning to move for a new player prior to the deadline, though the severity of Eriksen’s injury has convinced Erik ten Hag to push for United to act, as they chase a place in the Premier League’s top four and attempt to win their first trophy since 2017. They are currently competing on four fronts.

United have until 11pm GMT to push through the transfer before the deadline, though could request a short extension from the Premier League to complete the deal if necessary.

On this deadline day edition of TPL, Scott Saunders & Rob Blanchette discuss Man Utd’s move for Marcel Sabitzer. If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast, and subscribe on YouTube!


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List of titles in Magpies history as they chase Carabao Cup 2023



Newcastle United fans are certainly enjoying their season so far as they fight it out for a place in the Champions League places, but things could get even better as they remain in the mix for a trophy.

The Magpies are in the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup and they have got a 1-0 lead over Southampton to take into the second leg. They are likely to be facing Manchester United should they reach the final, a team in direct competition with them for a top-four place.

When was the last time that Newcastle fans were able to cheer their team being the champions of something?


The most recent time that Newcastle fans were able to celebrate a trophy was in 2017, although it was one that they wish they weren’t contesting in the first place. They got back into the Premier League by winning the Championship in the 2016/17 season.

You’ll have to be chatting to some of the much older Newcastle fans to here stories about Newcastle winning the FA Cup, though. Their last silverware recognised as a major trophy was back in 1969 when the Magpies lifted the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup – which is these days known as the Europa League.

Whilst Newcastle fans may be set for a lot more success in the near future, it is a very long time since their fans travelled down to Wembley en masse for a cup final. That was back in 1999 when they were beaten 2-0 by Manchester United in the FA Cup final.

That is why heading down for a potential Carabao Cup final would be a first for so many of the current Newcastle fan base and they would certainly be travelling in great numbers.


For the League Cup itself, they have only been in that final one time before. That was in 1976 and it also ended in defeat, this time to Manchester City.

Newcastle have not exactly sailed through to the semi-final of the Carabao Cup. They needed a penalty shoot-out to knock out Crystal Palace before narrowly beating Bournemouth 1-0.

The quarter-final was more simple as they beat Leicester City 2-0, and a dramatic game in the semi-final first leg at St Mary’s ended 1-0. They are certainly the favourites to get through to the final with Southampton struggling for form.

The Saints have found a safe haven in the cup competitions but they will have their work cut out to turn it around at St James’ Park.


Considering Manchester United beat Nottingham Forest 3-0 away from home in their semi-final first leg, you’d think that they are the team waiting for either Newcastle or Southampton at Wembley.

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