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League Cup draw: Manchester rivals stay on course to meet in final

Dec 18, 2013, 6:09 PM EDT

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Moments after the delayed match at the Britannia Stadium saw Manchester United complete the competition’s last four, the League Cup’s semifinal draw kept the Red Devils separated from their Manchester rivals, City having made the penultimate round after defeating Leicester on Tuesday. Instead, the Premier League’s holders will face Sunderland in one of the competition’s two-leg semis, while Manuel Pellegrini’s quest for his first piece of English silverware continues against West Ham.

Sunderland advanced to the semifinals on Tuesday after their 2-1, extra time win over Chelsea, with Ki Sung-Yeung’s 118th minute goal vaulting the Black Cats past the Premier League’s second place club. On Wednesday, West Ham joined Sunderland as competition cinderellas, coming back for a 2-1 win over Tottenham at White Hart Lane.

Continuing those upset ways will prove more difficult for Sunderland and West Ham in the next round, and not merely because the competition may prove greater. As opposed to the FA Cup, the League Cup features home-and-away semifinals before its cup-decider at Wembley. The first legs will be played at the Stadium of Light and Etihad Stadium during the week of Jan. 6, while the return legs will begin two weeks later.

Whereas the draw could have pitted the tournament’s two remaining favorites against each other in the semis — a matchup we saw in 2010 when Manchester United eliminated City en route to a second straight title — we’re instead left with two ‘magic of the Cup’ draws. If, however, that magic dies out, the Manchester Derby will move east to Wembley on March 2, with one of England’s highest profile rivalries to be waged with silverware on the line.

First, however, the semis:

League Cup Semifinals

Leg One: Week of January 6
Sunderland vs. Manchester United
Manchester City vs. West Ham United

Leg Two: Week of January 20
Manchester United vs. Sunderland
West Ham United vs. Manchester City

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