World Football: 20 Greatest Moments in Carling Cup History
It often is referred as a secondary competition in English football, yet the Carling Cup still is a meaningful competition.
This week, we have two fantastic semifinal match-ups. We have two sides from the Championship on one side—Crystal Palace and Cardiff City—and two Premier League giants—Liverpool and Manchester City—in the other semifinal.
While in the spirit, here are the 20 greatest moments in the Carling Cup's history.
20. MK Dons Puts Up Four Goals on Norwich City (2011)
Norwich City 0 MK Dons 4
It's rare to see Norwich City lose at Carrow Road this season, yet the Canaries had one of their most humiliating matches of the season in the second round of this season's FA Cup.
MK Dons were able to head into Carrow Road and defeat Norwich 4-0, thanks to a brace from Luke Chadwick, along with goals from Sam Baldock and Daniel Powell.
19. Blackburn Beats Chelsea on Penalties (2009)
Blackburn 3 Chelsea 3. Blackburn win on penalties 4-3.
Both sides made wholesale changes going into their quarterfinal, yet neither side held a true edge in what was a very offensive match.
After Chelsea were able to tie the match at the ending of stoppage time, the match went to penalties. That's where Paul Robinson was able to deny both Michael Ballack Gael Kakuta.
This would prove to be the only trophy in English football that Chelsea failed to win in that season.
Chelsea had already won the Community Shield and would later complete a Premier League and FA Cup double in May.
18. Wigan Reaches the Cup Final (2006)
Wigan are by no means the most successful club in the top flight.
Yet their run in the Carling Cup in 2005 and 2006 is certainly one of their greatest moments.
During their run, Wigan did not concede a goal in five consecutive matches, with Premier League sides including Newcastle, Bolton and Arsenal all losing during this stretch.
The Gunners were able to respond with a win in the second leg of their semifinal, but Wigan advanced to their only Carling Cup final on away goals after a 2-2 draw after two legs.
Wigan did lose 4-0 in the final to Manchester United, but their run certainly was remarkable.
17. Burnley Stuns Arsenal (2008)
Burnley 2 Arsenal 0
Arsenal's youngsters normally have been strong against non-Premier League opposition in tournaments, yet they found themselves out of the Carling Cup in the quarterfinal to Championship side Burnley in 2008.
Kevin McDonald was able to bag a brace for Burnley, who made Arsenal their third straight opponent from the Premier League that they dispatched in the tournament.
Arsenal did have plenty of chances to score, though their finishing was lacking throughout the entire match.
16. Burnley Wins at Chelsea (2008)
Chelsea 1 Burnley 1. Burnley win 4-3 on penalties.
It isn't often that you see sides go on long runs in the Carling Cup by defeating some of England's best.
Yet this is what Burnley did back in 2008.
Burnley were able to defeat Chelsea on penalties at Stamford Bridge back when Chelsea appeared to be the best side in all of England. This loss for Chelsea was, in part, what started the beginning of the end of the Luiz Felipe Scolari era at Stamford Bridge.
Burnley were led by Ade Akinbiyi—who scored Burnley's only goal—and Brian Jensen—who saved two penalties in the shootout.
15. Wayne Rooney Wins It Against Manchester City (2010)
Manchester United 3 Manchester City 1. United advance 3-2 on aggregate.
At the beginning of 2010, Wayne Rooney was a player that was completely on top of his game.
This included in a fantastic semifinal between Manchester City and Manchester United.
After falling behind 1-0 in the first leg, goals from Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick gave United a 2-0 advantage, though Carlos Tevez was able to score to tie the aggregate score.
With the match in stoppage time, Wayne Rooney was able to score a winning goal to send the defending Carling Cup champions to Wembley, where they would win the Carling Cup.
14. Sheffield Wednesday Win the Final (1991)
Manchester United 0 Sheffield Wednesday 1
It's the only major trophy that Sheffield Wednesday have won in their history since 1935, and they were also the last club to win a major trophy in English football to win a trophy while being in a lower division.
To make their final harder, they had to face a strong Manchester United side that would finish sixth in the first division that season.
However, a monster strike from John Sheridan proved to be enough for Sheffield Wednesday to win on this day in what was a fantastic highlight of the season for the club.
13. Aston Villa Rallies Against Rochdale (1961)
Rochdale 2 Aston Villa 0 (First Leg)
Aston Villa 3 Rochdale 0 (Second Leg)
Rochdale were in the first League Cup final as a second division side, yet they were able to win the first leg against Aston Villa to take a 2-0 lead in the tie going into the second leg.
The first half of the second leg remained scoreless, yet Villa were able to get two goals inside two minutes from Alan O'Neill and Harry Burrows.
Peter McParland went on to score the winner in extra time to claim the trophy for the Villans.
12. Walsall Knocks Arsenal out at Highbury (1983)
Arsenal 1 Walsall 2
It was 50 years before that Arsenal lost to Walsall in the FA Cup—a loss that is considered to be the most humiliating loss for Arsenal in that competition.
However, 50 years did not stop Walsall from once again performing a shock, this time at Highbury.
Stewart Robson put the Gunners ahead in the first half, though Walsall got the equalizer through Mark Rees.
With five minutes to go, the underdogs got the win when Ally Brown netted a loose ball inside of the penalty area.
This got Walsall into the quarterfinal.
Terry Neill’s tenure as Arsenal boss ended, paving the way for George Graham to take over the Gunners.
11. Crystal Palace Bests Manchester United (2011)
Manchester United 1 Crystal Palace 2
Crystal Palace are in the Championship, yet they are still alive in this year's Carling Cup due to a shocking win at Old Trafford in the quarterfinals.
Darren Ambrose put Palace up in the second half on a phenomenal goal before Federico Macheda tied it several minutes later on a penalty.
Palace won the match in extra time on a goal from Glenn Murray header, causing one of the biggest upsets in the season.
10. West Ham Defeats Two-Time Champion Manchester United 4-0 (2010)
West Ham United 4 Manchester United 0
Manchester United won both the 2009 and 2010 Carling Cup finals, yet they found themselves humiliated at Upton Park in the 2010 Carling Cup quarterfinal to a West Ham side that would finish the season at the end of the Premier League table.
Carlton Cole and former United player Jonathan Spector each netted two goals in the blowout, which turned out to be the first loss by United during that season.
This also was West Ham's first semifinal appearance in the competition in 20 years.
9. Jose Mourinho Hushes Liverpool Supporters (2005)
Liverpool 2 Chelsea 3
It was the first English final for Jose Mourinho, and the former Porto manager left his mark late in regular time.
After Steven Gerrard scored an own goal, Mourinho infamously put his finger to his lips to silence the Liverpool fan, which got him sent to the stands.
Chelsea continued their momentum in extra time, with both Didier Drogba and Mateja Kezman scoring to give Mourinho his first trophy in English football.
8. Arsenal Remains Trophy-less After Succeeding Late Goal to Birmingham City (2011)
Arsenal 1 Birmingham City 2
Arsenal had not won a trophy since the 2005 FA Cup, and went into this final against a Birmingham City side liking their chances.
Birmingham City were not a difficult side and would later find themselves relegated on the final day of the season.
However, Nikola Žigić gave Birmingham City an early lead before Robin van Persie equalized before the half.
After no goals were scored nearing stoppage time, it appeared that a draw was probable. However, Wojciech Szczęsny and defender Laurent Koscielny had a moment of confusion, which left the ball for Birmingham City's Obafemi Martins to net the winner.
7. Fourth-Tier York City Win at Manchester United (1995)
Manchester United 0 York City 3
It's rare that Manchester United ever lose at Old Trafford to anyone, but a side in the fourth division were able to go into the Theatre of Dreams in 1995 and cause a nightmare.
York City were able to get an early lead by Paul Barnes’ deflected strike in the first half. In the second half, Barnes doubled the score before before Tony Barras made it a three-goal lead via a header.
United did score three goals in the second leg of their match-up. But, they conceded one, knocking them out of the Carling Cup.
6. Southend United Knocks out Manchester United (2006)
Southend United 1 Manchester United 0
It was the year that United won their first Premier League in several years and reached the Champions League semifinal, yet they found themselves humiliated by a Southend side that would later get relegated that season.
Southend took an early lead through Freddy Eastwood. United had their opportunities to equalize, but were unable to do so, and Southend United advanced onto the next round.
5. Grimsby Town Knocks out Defending Champion Liverpool (2001)
Liverpool 1 Grimsby Town 2
Liverpool had won the Worthington Cup the year on their way to a treble, yet they found themselves out of the same competition in the third round to a side that was two divisions below them.
There was no score in the first 90 minutes, but Liverpool took a lead in the first half of extra time due to a Gary McAllister penalty.
Grimsby were able to come back in the second half of extra time when Marlon Broomes volleyed a 113th minute equalizer.
At the end of extra time, the visitors won the match on a goal from from former Everton player Phil Jevons.
4. Northampton Town Knocks out Liverpool on Penalties (2010)
Liverpool 2 Northampton Town 2. Northampton Town win 4-2 on penalties.
It is one of the most humiliating defeats in Liverpool's history.
Liverpool went into this Carling Cup third round match as the greatest side in the history of the competition, with seven titles in the competition. Yet, they found themselves eliminated by a League Two side at Anfield.
Liverpool found themselves up 1-0 early, but their sloppy play on a wet night at home was ever-prevalent. Northampton were able to equalize and later go ahead in extra time.
However, Liverpool were able to equalize.
The match went on to penalties, and Liverpool fell 4-2.
They got eliminated for only the second time in their history of the competition to a side from a lower division.
3. QPR Stuns West Bromwich Albion (1967)
Queens Park Rangers 3 West Bromwich Albion 2
QPR were in football's third division at the time of this final, and they had to face a West Bromwich Albion side that would finish 13th in the league table in that season.
Clive Clark was able to get a brace against his old side to take a 2-0 lead at the half. However, QPR were able to stun everyone with three second half goals from Roger Moran, Rodney Marsh and Mark Lazarus within a 20-minute span to win the match.
With their League Cup triumph, QRP became the first Third Division side to win a major trophy.
2. Arsenal Loses to Swindon Town (1969)
Swindon Town 3 Arsenal 1
Arsenal were one of the top sides in the first division in 1969 and were poised to claim a League Cup after losing in the final a year earlier.
Swindon were chasing Arsenal throughout the match, but Roger Smart was able to give the underdogs a lead thanks to a defensive lapse by the Gunners.
This lead held until the 86th minute, when goalkeeper Peter Downsborough spilled a ball into the path of Bobby Gould. He headed in the equalizer.
This did not deter Swindon, who took control on a Don Rogers brace in extra time. This sealed a historic 3-1 win for the only major cup triumph in Swindon's history.
1. Dennis Tueart's Bicycle-Kick Winner (1976)
Manchester City 2 Newcastle 1
It was the final time that Manchester City would win a trophy for 35 years, yet this final is remembered for a brilliant goal scored by Man City's Dennis Tueart.
With the score knotted at one apiece, Tueart scored an unbelievable goal on an overhead kick at the beginning of the second half against a Newcastle club that he supported as a child.
With Tueart's winner, Man City manager Tony Book became the first to win the League Cup as both a player and a manager.
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