Carling Cup Review

by Sion Cleaver

It had been a busy weekend of action in England’s top-flight, and there were no chances for clubs to have a rest as a full round of Carling Cup action took place in midweek.

Wolverhampton 2 – 5 Manchester City – Nenad Milijas’ 18th minute effort opened the scoring for Wolverhampton on a cold Wednesday evening in late October. The home side hung on to their lead for almost twenty minutes when Adam Johnson’s marvellous 37th minute effort put Manchester City on the score sheet, the blues of course were flying high on the back of their recent 6 – 1 away win over rivals Manchester United.

Two minutes later saw Samir Nasri throw the away side into the lead with a terrific strike on goal, Edin Dzeko got City’s third not even a minute later and the sky blues walked into their dressing room at half time with a comfortable two goal cushion.

It only took five minutes of the second half before Manchester City were enjoying a comfortable 4 – 1 lead, this time the goal came from Wolverhampton’s second keeper, ex-Swansea City’s Dorus De Vries, who’s cringe worthy blunder gave him his first own goal of the season. Edin Dzeko got Manchester City’s fifth in the 64th minute after a wonderful move from the City forward who controlled the ball fantastically, cut through the home defence and swept the ball into the back of the net. Jamie O’Hara got a consolation goal for the Wolves a minute later, but by that time it was too late for the home side to get anything from the game and the calls for Mick McCarthy’s dismissal were again quite prominent from the home support.

Aldershot 0 – 3 Manchester United – Aldershot Town, who are currently sitting in 14th place in the fourth tier of English football, entertained Manchester United on Tuesday night. The away side were looking to bounce back in style after conceding six goals at home to Manchester City on the weekend. Despite playing a team that only a few years ago were playing non-league football, Alex Ferguson put out a surprisingly strong second rate side consisting of Dimitar Berbatov, Park Ji-Sung, Michael Owen and a few impressive youngsters.

Dimitar Berbatov opened the scoring after a quarter of an hour of play, the ball cruised past a number of Aldershot players to Park Ji-sung, who passed it brilliantly to Dimitar Berbatov. Berbatov’s finish was low, strong and on-target, resulting in the away side breaking the deadlock.

Michael Owen doubled the away side’s lead before the break after Aldershot’s pressing effort backfired massively and saw United break away with the ball instantly. The ball flew over the top from Michael Owen to Berbatov on the right. Instead of trying his luck from far out, Dimitar took his time nicely, controlling the ball before confusing the Aldershot defence with an impressive step-over and after cutting up through the defence, offloading the ball to Michael Owen, who had impressively run into the box from his own half. Michael Owen then hit the ball nicely to fire the home side into the break with a nice 2 – 0 cushion.

Aldershot never really got into the game, and it was over after 48 minutes when the ball fell to Valencia, who, from 25 yards out, hit a ferocious screamer past Worner in the Aldershot goal.

This time the Aldershot fans can only applaud, because this is brilliant from Antonio Valencia. United stroked the ball around effortlessly in front of the Aldershot area, before it found its way to Valencia, 25 yards from goal. With no one bothering to close him down, he took one touch to set himself up, and then absolutely screamed a ferocious shot past Worner and into the top-right corner.

Cardiff City 1 – 0 Burnley – An all Championship tie this time, and the Welsh side were still flying high after their 5 – 3 victory over Barnsley at the weekend. Unlike last Saturday’s goalfest in England’s second division, this match only had one goal in it, and it came from Joe Mason in the 40th minute. Joe Mason’s second goal in as many matches has clinched Cardiff’s League Cup quarter-final place for the first time since 1965. Mason’s marvellous goal came from a wonderfully hit, curling shot sent from the 20 year old’s left foot. Burnley will now turn their concentration on their tie with Blackpool on Saturday, meanwhile, Cardiff look to travel away to rivals Leeds in Sunday’s Championship lunchtime kick off in a game that is likely to be one full of goals, events and other entertaining shenanigans.

Blackburn 4 – 3 Newcastle (AET) – Rubén Rochina got the only goal of an evenly contested first half for Blackburn after five minutes of play, and it took 64 minutes for ex-Everton man Yakubu to fire home and double Blackburn’s lead after the away side conceded an avoidable penalty.

The tie looked to be over when the three minutes of stoppage time were added on at the end of the game, but two quick fire goals from Danny Guthrie and Yohan Cabaye took the tie to extra time. The game really got going in extra time and Morten Gamst Pedersen regained Blackburn’s lead after 99 minutes of play. Peter Løvenkrands replied six minutes later and the scores were tied again. Gael Givet sealed the match for the home side with the last kick off the game, ending most exciting and end-to-end match of this Carling Cup campaign so far.

In other results – Crystal Palace booked their place in the next round of the Carling Cup when they put two goals past Championship high-flyers Southampton on Tuesday night. Arsenal defeated Bolton 2 – 1 in a closely contested game, and Liverpool got a 2 – 1 on the road to Stoke City in a hard fought contest. Everton were also unlucky not to progress after they put up a solid display against Chelsea, the game ended 2 – 1 at Goodison Park.

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