KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING —- Manchester City secured the first step towards a unique quadruple by overcoming Chelsea in the League Cup Final but they needed extra time and penalties in front of an 81,775 Wembley crowd to achieve it.

The final was goalless at the end of the extra halfhour before City won the shootout 4-3 but only after farcical scenes just before the end.

Chelsea keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, apparently injured, stood up to defy manager Maurizio Sarri and refuse to be substituted. Kepa could have redeemed himself for his insurrection in the shootout. But though he saved from Leroy Sane Chelsea team-mates Jorginho and David Luiz failed. Whether Kepa will ever play for Chelsea again after his public rebellion will be a contentious an issue for another day.

Kepa . . . defied his manager but not City

City manager Pep Guardiola and his high-quality squad will not care. They can now carry on in pursuit of the Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup with the confidence inevitable from a hard-fought victory over a Chelsea team unrecognisable from the sloppy outfit who succumbed to a six-goal thrashing two weeks earlier.

Guardiola, as City lifted the League Cup for the sixth time, became the fourth manager to win consecutive finals after Brian Clough (Nottingham Forest, 1978 and 1979), Bob Paisley (Liverpool, 1981, 1982 and 1983) and Sir Alex Ferguson (Manchester United, 2009 and 2010).

Contrasting results

City had always been favourites but to win in normal time not in a spotkicks lottery.

They had beaten Chelsea 2-0 in the season-opening Community Shield; the Blues inflicted City’s first Premier defeat in December; but then City ripped Blues manager Maurizio Sarri’s team apart by the tune of 6-0 just two weeks ago.

City manager Pep Guardiola boasted 10 wins in his previous 11 cup finals; Sarri had never won anything and was well aware that his job hung in the balance after only seven months in English football.

Chelsea had other problems. They kicked off under a dark cloud created by FIFA’s imposition of a two-window transfer ban for breaches in regulations about signing young players. Chelsea will appeal and hope, at the least, to have the ban delayed and cut in half but it is serious blow to their squad rebuilding plans.

Guardiola made only one change from the side who beat Schalke in such dramatic fashion with Oleksandr Zinchenko starting instead of Ilkay Gundogan. Aymeric Laporte switched to centre-back and Leroy Sane again started on the subs’ bench. Chelsea dropped expensive new signing Gonzalo Higuain and used Eden Hazard as a false No9.

Sergio Aguero had scored 15 goals previous against Chelsea but there were no goal chances for him or anyone else – at either end – in the first half.

Aguero did put the ball into the Chelsea net early in the second half but the ‘goal’ was ruled out for offside. City continued to press forward, thus offering Chelsea occasional chances on the transition. Once Hazard broke away only for N’Golo Kante to flash his first-time shot over the bar. Ross Barkley curled a shot over the bar as a dull game began to open up at last and Chelsea brought on Callum Hudson-Odoi in place of the tiring Pedro.

City responded by introducing Sane in place of Kevin de Bruyne but Chelsea, with Kante outstanding, held firm to send the final into extra time.

Penalty shootout (Chelsea first):

Jorginho saved 0-0; Gundogan 0-1

Azpilicueta 1-1; Aguero 1-2

Emerson 2-2; Sane saved 2-2

David Luiz hits post 2-2; Bernardo Silva 2-3

Hazard 3-3; Sterling 3-4.