Unlikely hero Caballero in tears after saving City
29 February 2016, 12:59
London -Willy Caballero wept tears of joy on the Wembley pitch after the Manchester City goalkeeper's penalty shoot-out heroics had secured a dramatic League Cup final victory against Liverpool on Sunday.
Caballero was City's unlikely hero as he saved spot kicks from Lucas Leiva, Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana to secure a 3-1 shoot-out success after a 1-1 draw that went to extra-time.
The 34-year-old has rarely been in the spotlight in his two seasons with City as he spends most of his time on the bench watching first choice keeper Joe Hart.
But, despite criticism of his form this season, City boss Manuel Pellegrini stuck with his tradition of playing Caballero in domestic cup ties and the Argentine repaid him in memorable fashion.
Overcome with emotion after Yaya Toure slotted home the winning penalty, Caballero started to cry before being lifted onto team-mate Wilfried Bony's shoulders and paraded in front of City's jubilant fans.
"It's amazing, to win this cup for me it's amazing," Caballero told Sky Sports. "It was a hard week for me but we had a talk that we could do it. It is fantastic for the blue people.
"It's important, emotional for me, my family, to be in this great team. It is a first trophy for me and for my family in Argentina."
Revealing he had studied Liverpool's penalty takers on video, Caballero, who has played only 12 times this season, added: "I tried to see all the penalties last night, but my intuition got me through."
Pellegrini said he never considering ditching Caballero despite his troubled form.
"I'd rather lose the title than lose my word. A lot of media were waiting to criticise me if Willy Caballero makes a mistake," he said.
"I had a lot of trust in Caballero. I am very pleased for all the players and staff but more for him because he deserved it."
City midfielder Fernandinho was especially indebted to Caballero after it seemed the Brazilian would go from hero to villain.
Fernandinho had scored City's 49th minute opener when his shot slipped under Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, but he then missed his team's first penalty in the shoot-out.
"Caballero? Amazing today. He was so fast and waited to the last second to go to the ball and he did it very well," Fernandinho said.
City have now won the League Cup twice in the last three seasons and Fernandinho hopes it proves a springboard to mount a late bid to claim the Premier League title, as it did in 2014 when they came from behind to overhaul Liverpool after beating Sunderland at Wembley.
"We are very happy. I hope we can win more trophies. Now it is time to think about the next Premier League game and then it is the Champions League," added Fernandinho, whose team are nine points behind leaders Leicester and face Dynamo Kiev in Europe with a 3-1 lead from the last 16 first leg.
City captain Vincent Kompany had lifted the trophy in his club's previous League Cup final and the Belgian defender was delighted to get his hands on the silverware again.
"There was so much emotion in this final, we were having so many chances and missing so many. We left everything out on the pitch," he said.
"They were playing well but we were creating chances. It's not the best way to win, it's the most unfair way."