Claudio Bravo shootout hero again as Sergio Aguero nets crucial spot kick

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CLAUDIO BRAVO finally became a Manchester City hero on a night of spot-kick drama.

The Chilean keeper pulled off a string of top saves to keep Wolves at bay in normal time.

 City's penalty heroes Claudio Bravo and Sergio Aguero celebrate

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City’s penalty heroes Claudio Bravo and Sergio Aguero celebrate
 This rogue squirrel was the early star of the show at the Etihad

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This rogue squirrel was the early star of the show at the Etihad

And he saved TWO penalties in the shootout — from Alfred N’Diaye and Conor Coady — to send City into the quarter-finals.

Sergio Aguero dinked home the decisive penalty to seal a 4-1 win — but put the gloss on what had been a frustrating display from the Argentine striker.

Aguero was searching for the goal he needs to become City’s outright all-time leading scorer and had nine efforts on goal but converted none.

 Claudio Bravo was the hero but Sergio Aguero stole the show with this Panenka

PA:Empics Sport

Claudio Bravo was the hero but Sergio Aguero stole the show with this Panenka
 Conor Coady reacts after his penalty is saved

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Conor Coady reacts after his penalty is saved
 Ilkay Gundogan and Yaya Toure discuss tactics on the pitch

Rex Features

Ilkay Gundogan and Yaya Toure discuss tactics on the pitch
 Bright Enobakhare has a shot saved by Claudio Bravo

Rex Features

Bright Enobakhare has a shot saved by Claudio Bravo

City were grateful to his fellow South American Bravo for getting to extra-time as he made a series of key saves. Bravo had a miserable first season in England but last night he looked like the keeper Pep Guardiola thought he was signing from Barcelona.

Wolves have certainly enjoyed the season so far — top of the league, top of the goal charts, and labelled the Manchester City of the Championship.

But they have not encountered the real thing, albeit one that showed nine changes from the 3-0 weekend win over Burnley.

Boss Pep Guardiola showed his intent by fielding a team packed full of attacking menace — including Sergio Aguero, who was bidding to become the club’s leading goalscorer of all time.

 The Wolves striker came close to putting his side ahead at the Etihad

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The Wolves striker came close to putting his side ahead at the Etihad
 Gabriel Jesus in action for City

Reuters

Gabriel Jesus in action for City

The City fans are nuts about the Argentine centre-forward and maybe that includes the squirrel which found its way on to the Etihad pitch before kick-off.

It took several stewards to move it so play could start on time — and the Wolves defence found Aguero equally evasive early on.

He fluffed a couple of chances against the Clarets before scoring to equal Eric Brook’s club record of 177 goals.

But last night the expectation seemed to weigh on him, as he wasted a number of openings.

First, visiting goalkeeper Will Norris had to dive full stretch to tip away a shot from City’s skipper for the night.

Another opening went begging when Raheem Sterling did superbly down the right and crossed, but Aguero’s radar was off and he dragged wide.

Soon afterwards he bustled his way in from the right before firing a rasping drive inches over the Wolves bar.

Sterling also missed a decent chance — and Nuno’s promotion hopefuls were hanging in there against the Prem leaders.

A squirrel runs onto the pitch at The Etihad ahead of Manchester City v Wolves
 The groundstaff eventually managed to get rid of the critter

PA:Empics Sport

The groundstaff eventually managed to get rid of the critter
 Pep Guardiola shouts instructions to his team

PA:Empics Sport

Pep Guardiola shouts instructions to his team

Guardiola had called this competition a “waste of energy” after their win at West Brom in the last round.

And his makeshift team huffed and puffed with little reward here. Credit Wolves for that.

But ultimately it was settled from the penalty spot.

Leo Bonatoni went first for the visitors and scored. Kevin DeBruyne netted for City and then so did Yaya Toure.

Bravo then came to the rescue before Sane scored and Aguero capped off the win.

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