Football: For the second time in four days, these two sides played out a thrilling, goal-laden affair as Stamford Bridge witnessed yet more high drama.
Events since that match surrounding remarks alleged to have been made by referee Mark Clattenburg, as well as some of the controversial decisions made by the officials made during the game, ensured that this atmosphere match would be as highly charged. Chelsea and Manchester United didn’t disappoint in an entertaining clash.
The Blues emerged the victors after extra-time, however, and though this victory in the League Cup will not make up for the pain of losing their unbeaten league record this season, Roberto di Matteo’s men will take some comfort in the knowledge that they will not go into the match against Swansea City this weekend having lost three matches in a row.
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson’s young side — only defender Rafael survived from Sunday’s match — were unlucky not to have won this match after dominating for much of the first half. However, the evening was marred by defensive errors and United committed more.
Di Matteo said: “It was an exciting game of football and very open at times. There were lots of mistakes from both teams.”
Chelsea, four times winners of the competition, will face Leeds United in the quarter-finals.
Oriol Romeu’s mistake led to the first goal of the evening, on 22 minutes, when he was disposessed by Nani. Ryan Giggs ran onto the loose ball and, with just Petr Cech to beat, he curled the ball past the Chelsea goalkeeper.
Chelsea responded on 31 minutes when they were awarded a penalty after winger Victor Moses was tripped by United’s Alexander Buttner. David Luiz slammed the spot-kick past goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard.
However, on 43 minutes, the visitors re-took the lead through Javier Hernandez. It was another error from a Chelsea player, this time Luiz, which led to the goal. The Brazilian defender lost the ball in midfield to Rafael. The ball fell to Anderson, who delivered an accurate through ball into the path of Hernandez, who shrugged off the attentions of Gary Cahill before prodding the ball past Cech.
Cahill pulled Chelsea level on 52 minutes with a towering header from Mata’s corner kick.
However United were ahead again on 58 minutes. Nani picked up the ball outside the penalty area, swiftly exchanging passes with Anderson before chipping the ball over Cech.
In a last gasp twist, Hazard equalised with a spot-kick three minutes into injury time when United defender Scott Wootton hauled down Ramires in the penalty area.
With seven minutes of extra time gone, Daniel Sturridge put his side for the first time on the evening after another defensive error from Wootton allowed the Chelsea striker through. Sturridge rounded Lindegaard before slotting the ball away.
Ramires added a fifth with the match drawing to a close before Hernandez won his side a penalty with seconds of the match remaining. Giggs tucked home the spot-kick, but Chelsea held on to seal passage through to the next round of the competition.
Ferguson added: “Some of our football was terrific. Ryan Giggs played the full game and he is 39 next month. He is an example to all the players on that pitch, including the Chelsea players."
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