In an absolutely epic final, Liverpool have lifted the Carling Cup. After a dramatic 90 minutes, where Cardiff held fort for most of the time, Skrtel grabbed his chance to get Liverpool back in the game. In extra-time, it was the other way round, with Liverpool's Dirk Kuyt scoring before Ben Turner stabbed in the equaliser. Both the Gerrards missed their penalties, but the Red one will celebrate. A six year wait for a trophy has ended, and what an occasion to do it. This is what football is all about.
MISSED! (Anthony Gerrard) 3-2: Liverpool are champions!! Sensational stuff.
SCORED! (Johnson) 3-2
SCORED! (Whittingham) 2-2
SCORED! (Downing) 2-1
MISSED! (Gested) 1-1
SCORED! (Kuyt) 1-1
SCORED! (Cowie) 0-1
MISSED! (Adam) 0-0
MISSED! (Miller) 0-0
SAVED! (Gerrard) 0-0
THE MATCH HAS GONE TO PENALTIES
GOAL!! 118 minutes: I don't know how, but Cardiff have come back into this. Unbelievable day of football! Absolutely crazy. Ben Turner has managed to put the ball into the net from a mad battle in the box after a Cardiff corner. Two back to back corners for them and they waited ages for it, but when they came, they made it count. This was just seconds after a header was put off the line by Liverpool. Gritty Cardiff deserve this.
114 minutes: Cardiff now playing the long ball, but in the process they are leaving a lot of space for Kuyt and Bellamy on the wings. At this stage, it just has to be done.
GOAL!! 108 minutes: Fresh feet always make the difference. On comes Dirk Kuyt and lays up a beauty of a cross which Suarez cannot control. Seconds later, he's off again, past a couple of defenders and takes a half shot, but the loose clearance comes back to him and he absolutely hammers this one...low, hard, into the corner, and most importantly, into the back of the net.
Half-time in Extra-time: Too many wide shots for Liverpool in the whole match. Bellamy adds to the ones that have gone over and Glen Johnson takes another one...again wide. That has been the story of this match...lots of action but the shots have not been on target. Another 15 minutes before penalties.
101 minutes: Anthony Gerrard comes on for Hudson, who has passed on his Cardiff City captain's armband to Whittingham. "There's only one Gerrard!" sing the fans. Anthony is Steven's cousin.
97 minutes: Dirk Kuyt is warming up on the touchline. May well be either Downing or Carroll to go off. Cardiff look tired now.
92 minutes: Suarez takes a stinging shot towards goal, forcing a corner. The corner's then headed in but it's off the line. Great action here, great action.
THE MATCH HAS GONE TO EXTRA TIME
90+2 minutes: Gerrard teed up by Johnson and its over. You'd have guessed that one to be on target.
4 minutes added
89 minutes: What a chance for Kenny Miller! He finds a yard and makes space in the box, collects on the turn and is yards away from goal only to blast it over the bar. What a chance!
87 minutes: Absolutely brilliant chance for Adam as Suarez lays it up for him on a plate. Its nicely rolling, on his left foot and a clean hit, but straight at the keeper. Agger is now off for old warhorse Jamie Carragher.
85 minutes: Great chance for Cardiff from a cross. Quite a few rose for the header and it was going towards goal, but somehow strayed wide. This match could go on to extra-time and maybe both teams will settle it that way.
80 minutes: Whittingham with a freekick from a dangerous area but it hits the wall. He's quite a good set-piece taker but not this time out.
STAT: 15 min. left, last Carling Cup final that went into extra time: Man Utd vs Spurs in 2009. Man Utd won after pen (0-0 a.e.t).
78 minutes: Downing with a decent striker towards goal, between the legs of his marker and going straight into the net, but Heaton is aware of the danger. He is in good form and makes the save to keep his team in the reckoning for the Cup.
75 minutes: Good passing from Liverpool but Cardiff hold fort and force a cross. Andy Carroll rises but his header is over the bar. Still 1-1, and this could go to penalties.
71 minutes: Gerrard trying his typical pass and move with Suarez but the return never came. If one of those works, then Cardiff are in danger. Gerrard though, needs to get more involved in the attacks. He is a bit too involved making them tick. Playing a couple yards towards the goal would help.
68 minutes: Cardiff defending with their hearts as Liverpool pile on the pressure. But there's some action on the other end too as a ball is played to the loner up front Gestede. He just has to hold-up the ball and wait for support rather than waving his arms in frustration. Maybe a change is needed for the Welsh team.
65 minutes: The equaliser couldn't have come at a better time for Liverpool. Cardiff's manager is fuming on the touchline because he knows how much work is undone with that one goal. Mason tries taking a shot but it's not past Reina this time- it was from way out and comfortable for the Spaniard.
GOAL!! 60 minutes: The presence of Andy Carroll in the box has helped. He takes a header, and then Suarez diverts it goalwards, but it hits the post. Out comes the rebound and whack! Martin Skrtel scores his second goal in as many matches.
59 minutes: Expected change for Liverpool. Jordan Henderson off for Craig Bellamy, the man who played for Cardiff last year and his home-town team. This could be the super-sub.
56 minutes: Nervy now and you can expect the updates to come in more often. Cardiff on the attack and they get a good loopy cross in the box, the header looks like it's going in on TV, but it actually has been put away by Reina.
53 minutes: It is hard for Liverpool to break down the tight Cardiff defence. Charlie Adam with a long shot and it takes a deflection. Hand-ball claims from Suarez and replays show he was right. Commentator says, "Sometimes, there's nowhere to put your hands!"
50 minutes: If Liverpool went in as the attacking team, Cardiff have come out as one. Brilliant back-flick for Miller to shoot onto and it's just wide. Before that though, Liverpool were all over the place in the box and even Carroll has to come and help them out. Shot from Suarez just seconds ago and it's well saved from Heaton.
Off we go again...Liverpool surely must have got a dressing down in there. No changes at half-time.
@KaanjiPinji: LFC will win.....Kenny will give a proper dressdown to the players at HT...can see Bellamy and Kuyt coming on early
HALF-TIME: Just a minute of added time before the whistle. As the players head off to the dressing rooms, Cardiff will go in the more confident side compared to a frustrated Liverpool. They have had their chances but what defines a cup-winner from the other is putting them away. Suarez has been closed down very well and a lot of credit to Cardiff for some brilliant defending. They have got men behind the ball every time Liverpool pour forward.
40 minutes: Steven Gerrard had a golden chance from a Downing cross. But it should never have come to him! Jordan Henderson was in the path of the cross and his attempt was so lame he didn't even connect. Must do better than that. Suarez gets a shot away but its saved. Still 1-0 to Cardiff.
35 minutes: It's not exactly a quiet game, but it's not exciting either. Liverpool are now deploying the long ball towards the wings, looking to get Downing and Suarez on the ball with Carroll rushing in towards the middle. Cardiff with some typical championship defending, but they have it in them to attack. Suarez plays a lovely one-two with Carroll but the tackle to win it back is top quality.
30 minutes: For a championship team, Cardiff are defending pretty okay against the Premiership giants. And riding on a bit of luck. First Downing's supreme cross fizzes past the danger area with Carroll not quick enough to get there and then Jose Enrique comes on the overlap to take a curler with his wrong foot. Nowhere near goal that one. 15 minutes away from half-time.
25 minutes: Liverpool have upped the tempo a bit after going down so early. Don't get me wrong, but Liverpool surely have a goal in this one? Luis Suarez leaves one for Andy Carroll and he blazes over from the edge of the box. Better luck next time.
GOAL!! 20 minutes: Cardiff City have scored! Skrtel heads it away but it's straight back to the opponents. Kenny Miller then cuts the defence with a lovely short ball and Joe Mason scores through the legs of Reina.
15 minutes: You can see what Liverpool are trying to do. Gerrard playing off Suarez as Johnson flies by on the right wing. They are trying the one touch passes to free up a shot, but Cardiff have held tight. There is enough space to create something, as shown by a Charlie Adam long ball which Andy Carroll headed wide. The defender didn't have a chance to challenge the tall striker. That should be the tactic deployed most often today.
10 minutes: Great, great play from Cardiff! Cowie flicks a low hard ball and Kenny Miller is there to shoot. Its high, wide and not so handsome, but it's still good creativity from Cardiff. Suarez meanwhile takes a shot and he needs to be closed down before he can do the damage.
5 minutes: Liverpool look to attack from the off. Steven Gerrard finds Glen Johnson and he wraps his foot around the ball, which sweetly goes and racks the bar! Great start, great intent from the Reds.
Kick-off just minutes away at the new Wembley. Well, it's not new any more, but it is new for Liverpool.
Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Enrique, Henderson, Gerrard, Adam, Downing, Carroll, Suarez
Cardiff: Heaton, McNaughton, Hudson, Turner, Taylor, Whittingham, Gunnarson, Cowie, Gestede, Miller, Mason
Carling Cup final now....don't go anywhere!
FULL-TIME: Harry Redknapp will not be happy. Not at all. This is not the sort of performance you expect from a title-challenging side in the near future. It is not a good day for them and they need to put it in the back of their head if they want to continue their march towards Champions League qualification.
88 minutes: Total frustration for Spurs. That lead was looking so cushy at a point of time but the scoreline is now completely the other way round. Arsenal's momentum will take a giant leap after this
RED CARD: Scott Parker tackles Thomas Vermaelen and has no excuses when he sees the second yellow and the red card come out. He will now miss the match against Manchester United.
Cesc Fabregas on Twitter when Arsenal equalised: This is football! Amazing goal. It had to be RVP! This game will be won for sure!
82 minutes: The cheers at every pass have begun as Arsenal look to see this off. Spurs, somehow still trying their best for a goal but it's not happening. Rosicky, Van Persie, Sagna and Walcott have surely been the winners for Arsenal.
Substitute: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain comes on for Theo Walcott
Grant Holt has equalised against Manchester United.
Substitute: Carl Jenkinson on for Kieran Gibbs
74 minutes: Spurs still trying hard to get something from this game. Sandro gets a chance to shoot and he does, but Szczesny is comfortably on it. The creativity has died down a bit for them but a goal now could give them a sting in the tail.
GOAL!! 68 minutes: This is just unbelievable. Alex Song plays a beautiful lofted pass to Walcott, who is away like a cheetah and scores from a tight angle past Friedel. Brilliant from the English winger.
GOAL!! 65 minutes: This will go quite some way to relieving the pressure on Arsene Wenger. Van Persie holds off Kaboul and King and lays up Walcott who was on the run. A couple of touches and a dink over Friedel. Pure class and Arsenal would be stupid to lose this one now.
65 minutes: Sandro's got himself booked too. Kyle Walker is still limping after a knock he took some five minutes back. Spurs need to keep the ball with them. It's not that they aren't getting the ball, but they're just punting it towards their strikers too often. Arsenal look inventive though and a different side after that Van Persie goal.
60 minutes: Too open, this match is too open....just like the Napoli vs Chelsea Champions League game a few days back. Theo Walcott finds space on the right and runs past the defence. He has taken it a bit too wide though and his shot is past the keeper and out for a goal-kick.
55 minutes: No rest is it? What a game this is turning into. Spurs have a corner and Kaboul almost gets his foot to it before it's punted away. Parker finds Van der Vaart on the run but he is just offside. Good movement from both teams, in spite of it being helter-skelter.
GOAL!! 51 minutes: Stunning, just stunning! Arsenal have comeback from this, from the dead! Van Persie has enough space to find Rosicky on the move, who lays it up for Sagna. The right-back crosses it in low and Rosicky, who continued his run from midfield was there to poke it in. Talk about comebacks!
48 minutes: Arsenal immediately on the attack. Mikel Arteta threads a pass to Benayoun, who was surprisingly unmarked in the box. The Israel midfielder's low shot was heading into the net but Friedel dives to just palm it away. What a save, that man is the difference now.
Up and running again at The Emirates. Rafael van der Vaart and Sandro have been introduced for Saha and Kranjcar.
On Twitter, we have a reaction from @daftari: Spuds will self destruct. Sadly.
STAT: Adebayor became the second players to net for both teams in a North London derby after Jimmy Robertson.
Remember, tweet us on #FirstpostSports or @JournoPula to get your thoughts on this half on here. Time to make yourself heard.
HALF-TIME: What a match. Simply irresistible. It is a roller-coaster for the Londoners, but for the neutral, this is what a London Derby is about. Simply brilliant. Saha put Spurs 1-0 up before Adebayor scored a penalty to double the lead. Bacary Sagna's header marked a comeback and Robin van Persie scored a beauty to make it 2-2.
@runofplay on Twitter: What a goal from Van Persie. Seamless 42-step process of getting the ball onto his left foot.
GOAL!! 42 minutes: Stunning, just stunning. Alex Song is allowed to meekly run past a couple of defenders and Robin van Persie takes over, takes a couple of touches towards his left and curls in a lovely shot past Brad Friedel. Arsenal are back, Wenger is jumping, and this is as good a London derby as it gets.
GOAL!! 40 minutes: Van Persie hits the post from a sliding right-footed shot and it hits the post and goes to Arteta on the left. His cross is chipped in beautifully and Bacary Sagna runs into it with aplomb,
38 minutes: This game is so open, it's hard not to look into the screen and type at the same time. Bale has another chance and takes a solid shot with his left foot, but its taken easily by the keeper. Harry Redknapp has taken some flak from the Gunners supporters and has complained to the officials about it. Should be something serious. 5 minutes to half-time now.
Gary Neville on the penalty decision: "If there was a penalty there, then Szczesny should have got a yellow or a red card."
GOAL!! 33 minutes: Adebayor rolls up his socks on his 28th birthday and runs up confidently to take the spot-kick. Right hand corner, low, hard, composed. 2-0 to Spurs. But all credit to Luka Modric to put in an absolutely brilliant ball for Bale to run onto it and go down in the box.
PENALTY to Spurs!!
28 minutes: Corner to Arsenal again. Cleared away but Spurs need to hold up the ball when they're getting possession. That will keep Arsenal on the move. Right now, it's all on the counter for the visitors.
24 minutes: Again Arsenal hit on the break and when Spurs pour forward, they look unstoppable. Adebayor misses Bale on the right wing all alone and wants to go on his own, eventually deciding to lay it up, but it falls short and the lose ball rolls to Kyle Walker who lets lose a rocket, which fizzes over the goal. This is incredible football. Just incredible.
20 minutes: Bale again on the left, beating Sagna by a yard and crossing it in for Kranjcar to just head over. Arsenal put up a couple of attacks as Van Persie takes a swivelling left foot shot, only for it to be deflected behind for a corner. Off the corner though, fantastic header from Rosicky but tell you what...40 year old Friedel makes a stunning save. Just stunning.
16 minutes: This game is right up to it's billing. Spurs first launch a couple of attacks with Bale marauding all over. They win a freekick and take it quickly but Arsenal sense the danger. On the other end, Sagna crosses to cause some trouble for Spurs. Robin van Persie had the ball bobbing in front of him and his right foot shot is wide. Just wide. Agonisingly wide.
12 minutes: Arsenal pinging it around in the box but cannot find an opening. The omnipresent Parker is there to block the shot and the Gunners want a handball. No! says the referee and correctly. It hit his chest.
8 minutes: Arsenal have just seemed to realise that they are playing at home. A couple of quick attacks result in a corner which has escaped the danger area. The Gunners are putting some pressure here, but nothing Spurs can't cope with.
Meanwhile, Paul Scholes has scored for Manchester United against Norwich.
GOAL!! 5 minutes: Arsenal all over the place and Adebayor sees a massive gap to play in Louis Saha. He takes it on his left foot, keeps going...no challenge and then takes a shot. The block finally comes in, but it just helps the ball loop over a flailing Szczesny. 1-0 to Spurs!
2 minutes: Tottenham playing some quick balls straight into the feet of the powerful Saha. Gareth Bale straying towards the centre but has headed back to his familiar left hand side. Kyle Walker goes up on his own from right-back and Kranjcar comes in to support him. Almost a half-chance.
Kick-off at the Emirates. Here we go!
STAT: Spurs are looking to win consecutive league matches at Arsenal for the first time in 86 years.
Kick-off in 5 minutes! Arsenal are underdogs at the Emirates. Can they shut up their cruising neighbours? Or will Arsene Wenger's team lose, meaning in more pressure for the Frenchman? You'll know, if you're here. And yes, F5 is the refresh key...
Not that I haven't mentioned it before, but Super Sunday is HUGE and I'm sure the fans have a lot to say. All you need to do is tweet us on @FirstpostSports or @JournoPula to get your thoughts on here!
What is quite a surprise is the absence of Rafael Van Der Vaart. The lethal lefty has been replaced by Louis Saha, who was on fire last time out in the league. Also, Niko Kranjcar over Aaron Lennon? Well, we'll see!
By the way, the teams for the Norwich vs Manchester United match are also out. Here you go:
Norwich: Ruddy, Naughton, Ward, Whitbread, Drury, Pilkington, Johnson, Fox, Surman, Holt, Jackson.
Man Utd: De Gea, Jones, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Nani, Carrick, Scholes, Giggs, Welbeck, Hernandez.
Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Gibbs, Rosicky, Arteta, Walcott, Song, Benayoun, Van Persie
Tottenham: Friedel, Kaboul, King, Walker, Assou-Ekotto, Bale, Parker, Modric, Kranjcar, Adebayor, Saha
First Published On : Feb 26, 2012 23:30 IST