Friday, 2 March 2012

Carling Cup Final Match Report

Kenny Dalglish celebrated with the rest of the Reds when Liverpool on their first trophy during his second stint as manager at Wembley.
In typical Liverpool final fashion, the match against Cardiff City proved to be very dramatic, keeping everyone on their toes until the very last seconds.

Liverpool were lively from the start and defender Glen Johnson nearly opened the scoring just two minutes in, but his effort hit just inside the crossbar.

It was the Blue Birds that surprisingly took the lead in the 19th minute with a shot by Joe Mason that went through keeper Pepe Reina’s legs. They would stay in the lead at halftime.

Defender Martin Skrtel put Liverpool’s mind at ease at the 60 minute mark. Stewart Downing’s corner kick went to Andy Carroll who headed the ball to Suarez. The Uruguayan struck the post but the ball ended up at Skrtel who then levelled the scoreboard.

The Reds did everything they could to prevent extra time at Wembley, but even with a series of corners to take advantage of the fulltime whistle blew at 1-1.

It was Dirk Kuyt, who came on in extra time to replace Andy Carroll, who lifted the spirits again two minutes after coming on the pitch. The Dutchman slid near the goal in a fruitful attempt to take the lead. The Travelling Kop made their voices heard in appreciation.

Liverpool may have thought a win was in the cards after nearly 120 minutes of play, but Cardiff fought long and hard the whole time not to go out like that. They equalised in the final moments of extra time. Ben Turner took advantage of a scramble from a corner and put the ball through Reina’s legs, leaving the game to be decided by penalties.

The Captain Steven Gerrard was up first. Unfortunately his shot was blocked by Cardiff keeper Tom Heaton. It was quickly forgotten when Cardiff’s Kenny Miller also missed.

Charlie Adam has no chance when his effort went clear over the bar. Don Cowie scored his penalty, leaving the Reds in an intense moment. But when Gestede missed after Kuyt scored, there was still no telling who would win.

Stewart Downing and Glen Johnson both scored their penalties, while the Blue Bird’s Peter Whittingham did the same. It was all down to Anthony Gerrard, Steven Gerrard’s cousin to keep the hope alive for the Welsh side.

However, Anthony Gerrard’s effort went wide, sending the players and fans into a frenzy after winning the League Cup for the eighth time.

Dalglish spoke of his respect for his rivals, saying “We're delighted to have won a trophy. It was a difficult game for us and I think Cardiff represented their football club extremely well. They tried everything.

"We've played well, come through some really hard games, and today was a really hard game because they were tough opponents. Malky (Mackay) can be proud of the job he's done there, and the people of Cardiff can be proud of the efforts they've put in.”

He also spoke of the relief of winning a trophy after a six year drought.

"Our people are absolutely delighted with their first trophy in six years, so it's been a very good day for us. We'll just continue to work hard and see where it takes us."

Dirk Kuyt said it was keeping the faith that led the Reds to the trophy.

"We never stopped believing and that is why we have won the trophy," he said.

"Even when Steven missed his penalty I said to him we would still get back into it as there were a number of penalties to be taken.

"The most important thing in football is belief and we showed today we have that in the squad. It's a great day for us."

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