Wednesday 02 April 2014
Patrick Vieira will have the first opportunity to claim silverware in management after his Manchester City side edged Burnley in a five-goal thriller to reach the Under-21 Premier League Cup final.
First-half goals by Sinan Bytyqi and Jordy Hiwula either side of Cameron Dummigan's 25th-minute equaliser gave Vieira's charges a 2-1 half-time lead but Burnley levelled again on 65 minutes through Jamie Gilchrist's volley to set up an exciting finale. Bytyqi was again on target, 10 minutes later, to decide the contest with his second goal of the match to end the resistance of a talented Burnley outfit.
Back at the scene of their 6-0 destruction of Burnley's bitter rivals Blackburn Rovers just eight days previously, Man City got off to the perfect start when Bytyqi fired high into the net for his sixth goal of the season, after slick approach play from Seko Fofana and Hiwula.
Anyone anticipating another rout were misguided as Burnley drew level thanks to a low, long-range strike into the bottom corner by full-back Dummigan. However, Burnley's reprieve was short lived as City attacked down the right through Shay Facey and Mathias Bossaerts to set up Hiwula for his seventh goal in three matches and his 19th of the campaign in all competitions.
The home side continued to press for a third but were pegged back again after 64 minutes when Jamie Gilchrist volleyed in from a corner that the Blues were unable to clear after two attempts.
Leigh Sports Village holds special memories for Hiwula, who helped himself to four goals against Blackburn, before scoring a brace in the 6-2 win over Sunderland at the Etihad Stadium on Friday.
Vieira reacted to the second equaliser by bringing on Marcos Lopes and his impact was immediate, the Portuguese forward combining with fellow substitute Adam Drury, whose drilled cross was thrashed in at the far post by Bytyqi, to seal a place in the two-legged final with Reading.
The first leg of the final will take place at Manchester City's Etihad Stadium at 7pm on Thursday 10 April, with the second encounter at Reading's Madejski Stadium at 3pm on Saturday 19 April.
For highlights of the match on Man City's website, click here