MANCHESTER, England, Jan 9 (Reuters) - Bristol City suffered stoppage-time heartbreak in their League Cup semi-final at Manchester City on Tuesday but played better than most Premier League teams that visit the Etihad Stadium, according the home side’s manager Pep Guardiola.
The second-tier visitors had taken the lead with a penalty before the break in the first leg clash and then held on for dear life after Kevin De Bruyne levelled for the hosts.
Yet Sergio Aguero’s last-gasp goal gave City a 2-1 advantage heading into the return game in two weeks’ time.
The late strike was a gut-wrenching blow for visiting manager Lee Johnson, whose team had already dumped four top flight sides out of the competition, but his opposite number in the dugout had words of consolation at full time.
“Pep Guardiola said to me that we played better than most of the Premier League teams that come to Man City,” Johnson told Sky Sports.
“We’ll take an awful lot from it and learn a lot. It is not over. It will be an interesting game at Ashton Gate.
“The away goal was very important. We tried to score and certainly didn’t park the bus. The lads have to go home and think we can kick on form this performance.”
Manchester City, who are unbeaten and 15 points clear in the Premier League, fell behind when defender John Stones dived into a rash challenge on Bobby Reid, who dispatched the penalty.
The visitors’ lead lasted until the 55th minute but after De Bruyne’s leveller it was one-way traffic as they defended bravely in the face of a City onslaught.
“My players were fantastic because in football you can win, you can lose, but we try until the end,” Guardiola said. “We win many games in the last minutes because we don’t give up. A semi-final is always complicated.
“I said congratulations to Lee Johnson on full time. They are a fantastic team for many reasons. They can play, they are fast, they know exactly what to do. It will be tough in Bristol.” (Reporting by Toby Davis; Editing by Ken Ferris)