There have been plenty of surprises, twists and turns in the Carabao, or EFL Cup, this season.
A testament to the same are the two pairs of teams currently facing each other in the semi-final juncture of the competition.
Manchester United and Nottingham Forest squared off each other in the first of the two legs, with the Red Devils winning 3-0. They look all set to seal their place for the finals at Old Trafford later this week.
The other pair saw Southampton go up against a resurgent Newcastle side at St. Marys.
The first leg went in favour of the Toons 1-0, thanks to a Joelinton goal in the 73rd minute. The Saints will now travel to Tyneside in a bid to overturn the deficit and book their place at Wembley Stadium.
Saints central defender Duje Caleta-Car was sent off in the closing stages of the first leg but will be available for selection in the return fixture, given he served his one-game suspension in the FA Cup.
Both teams have been silverware-less for a long time now.
Newcastle last won a trophy in 1954-55, when they won the FA Cup. In fact, this year would be the first time since 1998-99 that they have reached a domestic cup final. Their last EFL Cup final dates even further back, going all the way to 1976.
Southampton’s recent history is similarly trophy-baren. The Saints last won the FA Cup in 1975-76 but did reach the final stage once after that, in 2002-03. They have, however, never won the EFL Cup, reaching the final stage twice – 2016-17 and 1978-79.
With both teams having gone so long in search of accolades, there is a lot riding on the return fixture. And with so little to differentiate them on the scoreline, both sets of supporters will have enough hope that they can make it to the last hurdle, where they will most likely meet Manchester United unless Forest turns their three-goal deficit.
The Toons will come into the fixture well-rested, as they did not have their FA Cup fixture, being knocked out of the competition in the third round to Sheffield Wednesday.
Southampton, on the other hand, had to play Blackpool over the weekend, a game they won 2-1, thanks to a brace from Romain Perraud.
With what is shaping to be an exciting and unmissable match-up, the obvious question to ask is, where can you watch it? Well, fret not, for we have the answer for you.
With the Ryan Reynolds-owned Wrexham doing very well in the FA Cup over the weekend, there is a possibility of more than usual fanfare for the other cup competition in England.
The match is supposed to kick off at 8 PM GMT, which translates to a decent afternoon watch over the Atlantic, with ET time of 3 PM and PT time of 12 PM.
Fans of the sport, called soccer, annoyingly, can watch the second leg of the semi-final on ESPN+. A subscription to the service will set you back $9.99 a month, or $99.99 for one year, saving you 15%.
The match is available for Canadians on DAZN. The cost of watching though, is significantly higher than over the border, with a monthly subscription of CAD 25, which is roughly USD 18. A one-year subscription for DAZN is available for CAD 199.99, and subscribers can get access to not just soccer, but also NFL, MLS, Tennis, Boxing, MMA and more.
The match will begin at 3 PM Toronto Time (EST).
The match will obviously have a significant demand in the home country. Sky Sports, arguably the most popular and widely used sports network in the country, holds the rights to show the Carabao Cup in the UK.
The network has dedicated multiple channels for the occasion, Sky Sports Main Event, Sky Sports Football and even Sky Sports Ultra HDR.
The televised coverage will begin at 7 PM, and the match an hour later. Viewers can access the same either via Sky Go or NOW TV.
The fans from down under are in for an early morning rise, if they wish to catch the action at St. James’ Park.
The action kicks off at 7 AM AEDT and can be watched via beIN Sports CONNECT, Kayo Sports, Foxtel iQ or Foxtel Now.
A 2-week free trial for beIN SPORTS CONNECT means you can catch the action for free. After your free trial, it costs $19.99 a month or $179.99 a year to continue using the service.
Foxtel Now also offers a no-cost way to watch the match, with a 10-day free trial. Upon finishing the trial, it will cost $54 a month to stream sports with Foxtel Now.
Kayo’s 7-day trial is another route of free football, before a $25/month membership.