Manchester City completed a resounding demolition of West Ham United by winning the second leg of their League Cup semi-final 3-0 on Tuesday to book their place in the final at Wembley 9-0 on aggregate.
With the tie effectively over after West Ham’s leaky defence shipped six goals in the first leg two weeks ago, City dished out an extra helping of humiliation with Alvaro Negredo scoring twice and Sergio Aguero also netting.
“It was a very professional performance,” City manager Manuel Pellegrini told Sky Sports after his side reached their first League Cup final in 38 years.
“It was easy to think the game was finished from the 6-0 in the first leg, but it was important to reach the final winning all the games.”
City will face either Sunderland or local rivals Manchester United in the final on March 2, with Sunderland holding a slender 2-1 advantage heading into the second leg on Wednesday.
West Ham boss Sam Allardyce might have hoped to see City field a reserve team as he looked for a morale-boosting, if purely academic, victory but his luck was out as Negredo and Aguero spearheaded a potent lineup.
The home side’s hopes of salvaging some pride after the first-leg mauling were shattered after two minutes and 36 seconds.
Boos rang around the Upton Park stadium as West Ham’s comically disorganised defence did little to prevent Negredo opening the scoring for the visitors.
Eighteen-year-old Marcos Lopes was given a free run down the left and his cross found the Spain international completely unmarked to head low into the net with West Ham’s nearest defender James Tomkins caught hopelessly off guard.
After West Ham’s Nolan had a goal rightly chalked off for offside, the home team’s shambolic rearguard cost them dear again after 24 minutes.
Lopes was again the creator, cutting through the heart of the defence largely unchecked before feeding Aguero.
He jinked into the area and chipped the ball over West Ham keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen as two defenders made a slapstick effort to tackle him, tripping each other up in the process.
It was 3-0 14 minutes after the break as Negredo grabbed his second of the night.
He strode through a gaping hole in the West Ham defence and flicked it over Jaaskelainen, with defenders reluctant to make a challenge and risk a futile sending off.
The result was the biggest margin of victory in a League Cup semi-final.
“It was bog-standard defending, which was disappointing. You cannot do mistakes at this level to the amount we did them,” Allardyce said before revealing the club had suffered a further blow with injuries to Mohamed Diame and Joe Cole.
“The killer of all was the injuries to Joe Cole, who should not be out for so long, and Mo Diame, which looked really serious.”