Blues edge thriller, holders dumped out
Another unbelievable night of Capital One Cup action saw Chelsea gain revenge for Sunday's controversial league defeat to Manchester United by beating the Red Devils on Wednesday, on a night when defending champions Liverpool and 2008 winners Tottenham were both knocked out.
Roberto Di Matteo saw everything go against his Chelsea side when they lost to Manchester United at the weekend, with referee Mark Clattenburg subsequently reported for alleged "inappropriate language" after a highly charged encounter.
Wednesday's match provided more controversy as official Lee Mason awarded Chelsea two penalties - both justified - as the Blues scored a 93rd-minute leveller to force extra-time. They eventually ran out 5-4 winners thanks to goals from David Luiz, Gary Cahill, Eden Hazard, Daniel Sturridge and Ramires.
Di Matteo made six changes from the team that lost in the league, with Cesar Azpilicueta, Ryan Bertrand, Oriol Romeu, Victor Moses, Lucas Piazon and Sturridge all coming into the starting XI. Sir Alex Ferguson also mixed up his team with 10 new faces selected, Rafael the only man to keep his place.
Significantly the two men linked to the Clattenburg case, John Obi Mikel and Juan Mata, both started, and Mikel was booked inside 25 minutes. Chelsea also fell behind in that period and they were contributors to their own downfall, with Petr Cech's pass to Romeu inviting United pressure that led to Ryan Giggs scoring the opener.
Chelsea were level within eight minutes thanks to a similarly ridiculous piece of defending, with Alexander Buttner recklessly sliding in on Moses inside the area. The resulting penalty was dispatched by Luiz, although Anders Lindegaard did get a hand to it.
The defensive calamities continued as United scored again on the stroke of half-time, with Luiz this time the culprit. Attempting an ambitious mazy run near the halfway line, Luiz was robbed of the ball - allowing United to feed Javier Hernandez who slotted past Cech. An enthralling cup tie took another twist seven minutes after the break as Cahill produced a trademark header at a corner that crossed the line before Rafael could clear, but United quickly restored their advantage for a third time. Nani exchanged a sharp one-two with Anderson inside the area, before the Portuguese chipped the ball over Cech as the keeper raced from his line.
Moses and Hernandez both wasted glorious chances to affect the scoring again, and Mason drew the wrath of the crowd when he failed to spot Michael Keane's handball inside the final 20 minutes. However, the ref did point to the spot three minutes into injury-time for a foul by Scott Wootton, rolled calmly home by Hazard for 3-3 to force extra-time.
It was a tough night for Wootton who then gifted Sturridge Chelsea's fourth as the Blues led for the first time in the evening, sending a powerpuff header to Sturridge who rounded Lindegaard for 4-3. Luiz rattled the bar late on before Hazard created the goal of the night, bamboozling the United defence before slipping in Ramires for 5-3, and there was still time for Giggs to score from the spot in the final minute on another incredible night.
Holders Liverpool welcomed Brendan Rodgers' old club Swansea to Anfield as they targeted a place in the last-eight of the Capital One Cup, but it proved an unhappy reunion for Rodgers who saw his team lose 3-1 thanks to strikes from Chico, Nathan Dyer and Jonathan de Guzman.
Liverpool had gone four games unbeaten in all competitions prior to Wednesday's match, and Rodgers was able to play a number of his fringe staff as Jack Robinson, Jamie Carragher, Sebastian Coates, Jordan Henderson, Jonjo Shelvey, Joe Cole, Oussama Assaidi, Stewart Downing and Samed Yesil all came into the starting XI.
However, the changes led to an extremely disjointed display as the Reds barely found Cole and Yesil in the forward positions. Instead it was Swansea who deservedly took the lead after 34 minutes when Chico rose completely unmarked to bury Dyer's delivery from six yards.
Rodgers responded by throwing on Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard for Cole and Yesil at half-time, and it should have reaped its reward when Gerrard's shot was tipped onto a post, only for Downing to miss an easy rebound.
They were made to pay when Dyer tapped home a second for Swansea 18 minutes from time, although Liverpool did rally through Suarez's 78th-minute header from Gerrard's free-kick. Swansea had the final say, though, with De Guzman killing the tie off in the final stages.
Norwich scored twice in the last six minutes to dump out Tottenham 2-1 at Carrow Road. Gareth Bale's goal appeared to have won it for Spurs with 84 minutes on the clock, but a Jan Vertonghen own goal followed by a Simeon Jackson strike turned the game on its head.
Andre Villas-Boas fielded plenty of star names with the likes Bale and Kyle Walker retaining their places, and it was the Welsh winger who broke the deadlock on 66 minutes. Cutting in from the flank, Bale beat three players across the edge of the area before sending a right-footed shot past Mark Bunn.
However, Alex Tettey's 84th-minute shot deflected off Vertonghen to pull Norwich level, before Jackson won it three minutes later. Spurs still had a chance to force extra-time as Walker was brought down inside the area, but Clint Dempsey's penalty was woeful.
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