Carling Cup 2008_Chelsea_Tottenham

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Carling Cup Final

24 Feb 2008

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Carling Cup Final
Chelsea 1 - 2 Tottenham Hotspur
Attendance: 87,660

After an eight year absence, the League Cup returned to Wembley as holders Chelsea faced Tottenham Hotspur in an all London final. the competition had not bee played at Wemblet since Leicester City lifted the trophy in 2000.

The capacity crowd were treated to an exciting programme of pre-match enterainment featuring flag displays and pyrotechnics, creating an incredible atmosphere as the teams were presented to the crowd. It was the first time both managers had led a team at Wembley and both were intent on picking up the first silverware of the season.

Spurs opened brightly with in form striker Robbie Keane pouncing on a loose ball from Juliano Belletti. His shot was blocked by Chelsea captain John Terry and Spurs captain Ledley King shot high from the subsequent corner.

Spurs enjoyed some good early possession and frustrated their London rival's in attack. Spurs continued to threaten Chelsea's goal as Pascal Chimbonda's header hit the crossbar and Dimitar Berbatov saw his header go wide.

Chelsea's first chance of the match came from Belletti whose shot was blocked and came out to Shaun Wright-Phillips, but the winger's dangerous cross was expertly cleared by recent signing Jonathan Woodgate.

Spurs saw another header sail over the crossbar as Woodgate failed to hit the target from a Jermaine Jenas free kick. Ramos' continued pressing and broke down Chelsea's build up play well, but neither goalkeeper was called into action.

Chelsea pressed from set pieces around the area and their persistence paid off after 39 minutes. Didier Drogba was brought down from a challenge by namesake Didier Zokora and the Ivory Coast midfielder stepped up to take the free kick from 25 yards out. The powerful centre forward's shot looped over the wall and straight into the Spurs goal to the left of 'keeper Paul Robinson.

Spurs were back on the attack straight away and Keane turned well under pressure from the Chelsea defence, but his shot was straight at Petr Cech. Spurs fans were screaming for a penalty moments before half time as Berbatov lost his footing in the box, but referee Mark Halsey waved away the appeals.

Spurs had the best of the initial chances in the second half as they picked up the ball on the break, but their patient approach to play was wasted as Zokora's shot went high and wide. Both sides demonstrated some clever passing as the noise of the crowd grew. Drogba and Nicolas Anelka looked dangerous for the blues as Spurs linked up well in attack.

Skipper King, enjoying being back in the side after a long spell out injured, provided a vital interception as Anelka threatened again but the ball went out for a goal kick.

Spurs were awarded a penalty in the 70th minute after left back Wayne Bridge handled in the area after pressure from Aaron Lennon. Berbatov stepped up to take the spot kick in front of the Spurs fans and colly slotted the ball into the bottom left corner as 'keeper Cech went the other way.

King continued to impress as he blocked a strong shot from Drogba and Robinson punched away the attempt at goal from the following corner. Both sides made substitutions to push for a winner in an open and exciting match.

With ten minutes of the match remaining, both sides tried desparately for the winner, Spurs had a brilliant chance as Zokora beat the offside trap, however, his initial shot was hit straight at Cech and he blasted the rebound over the bar. Cech again felt the force of the ball moments later as Berbatov hit a shot straight at the Chelsea 'keeper.

A long ball from Michael Essien seemed dangerous but Drogba failed to make contact with it and Essien was replaced with Michael Ballack. The German's shot  from his first touch created a corner but Avram Grant's men failed to capitalise on it.

Spurs continued to push for a late winner deep into injury time but Keane's overhead kick sailed over the bar moments before the end of normal time.

With neither team able to break the deadlock, the match went into extra time. Three minutes after the restart, Spurs were in front as Cech came to meet a Jenas free kick, only to punch the ball to the head of Woodgate and into the goal.

Lampard tested the Spurs goal with a free kick from an acute angle but Robinson punched the ball behind. Keane was substituted to a standing ovation from the Spurs fans as Juande Ramos looked to hold onto the lead with five players across the back. Substitute Joe Cole tried a long range shot to level the score but the ball was easily caught by Robinson.

Chelsea had a corner early in the second half of extra time and the ball spilled out to Cole who failed to hit the target with his shot. Salomon Kalou hit a low drive at the goal but it was stopped by the outstretched right foot of Robinson.

The Spurs fans who had been full of voice all afternoon had to wait an agonising three minutes of stoppage time as Chelsea tried everything to force the match to penalties. Every Spurs fan was on their feet and the stadium erupted as the final whistle blew. The fans had been a credit to the team throughout the match and the North Londoners thoroughly deserved the win.

Match winner Woodgate was named man of the match and despite only signing for Spurs in January, the centre half has cemented his name in White Hart Lane history books.

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