Revenge is sweet! Just 3 days before, the European champions suffered an upsetting defeat at Stamford Bridge to Manchester United in a Premier League match-up. But the odds were on Chelsea’s side this time around in the eight-finals of the Capital One Cup. They managed to eliminate the Reds after coming from behind three times, giving themselves a seat in the quarter-finals.
As we have learned so far this season, both squads have excelled in goal scoring but have struggled in their defensive end, which means that only a match with lots of goals could have been expected of them. And that is exactly what happened. A total of 9 goals were scored, 3 of which were penalties, in an extra time game that had been purely exciting to watch.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s men were able to take the lead in the 22nd minute thanks to Giggs. The goal came as a result of Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech’s bad decision to pass the ball to Romeu, who had been consequently surrounded by three players from Man U. Just 9 minutes later, Chelsea equalized the score following Buttner’s foul on Moses in the penalty area. Without a doubt, David Luiz successfully converted the penalty, making it 1-1. But just before half time, Javier Hernandez, a player who was vital to United’s win on Sunday, gave them the advantage once again after striking home a beautiful shot. At 45 minutes, Chelsea went to their lockers in the same circumstances they had been in their previous game: down one to the Red Devils.
7 minutes after the start of the second half, Gary Cahill made it 2-2, putting them level once more with United. After Mata’s corner kick, Cahill rose just high enough to head the ball in past goalkeeper David de Gea. Once again, one of Manchester’s many attacking attempts had proven successful just before the hour mark, courtesy of Nani. The Portuguese midfielder went 1-on-1 with the goalkeeper and made a wonderful chip right over Cech’s head. Approaching the 90 minute mark, United thought it was all over, but they were far from right. At the start of stoppage time, Ramires was brought down by Wootton, resulting in a penalty that was easily converted by Eden Hazard. With both teams level for the 3rd time, the match went on to extra time.
The Blues had clearly dominated the remaining 30 minutes of the game. The 94th minute saw Sturridge score a fourth for Chelsea after Wootton’s header fell nicely to his feet. But Chelsea striked again and made it 5-3 4 minutes before the end of extra time, which seemed to be the deciding goal in the game. As if the game could not get any more exciting, United found the back of the net once again when Ryan Giggs scored a penalty after Azpilicueta took Harnandez down, but unfortunately, that was the last shot of the match, ending it at 5-4.
After such an interesting beginning to the Capital One Cup, the knockout competition has suddenly become the fans’ primary choice of entertainment. Barely a game has gone without 2 or more goals being scored, and it is now something for everyone to look forward to. Chelsea now moves up to the quarter-finals, in which they will play Leeds (who had beaten Southampton 3-0 on Tuesday) on December 19th, 2012. The remaining teams left in the tournament include Bradford, Swansea, Middlesbrough, Aston Villa, Arsenal, and Norwich.