- Match Analysis
There has been shocks and heartbreaks in this competition. Ahead of tomorrow’s Capital One Cup final between Liverpool and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium, here’s SillySeason’s five memorable moments from recent League Cup finals.
The story of the 2012/13 League Cup was that of League Two Bradford City, the West Yorkshire team saw off three Premier League sides on their road to Wembley.
In the fourth round they defeated Wigan Athletic on penalties away from home, only to be drawn at home to Arsenal in the quarter-final of the competition.
Many thought the fairytale would end there, but they held the Gunners to a 1-1 draw after extra time at Valley Parade. The unthinkable then happened as they knocked out Arsene Wenger’s men on penalties to progress into semi-finals.
The Bantams played struggling Aston Villa over to legs for a place in the final and they took a 3-1 lead to Villa Park for the second leg. They did lose the second leg 2-1, however, that was enough to take them into the final.
Phil Parkinson’s men may have fancied winning the trophy when it became reality that they would face Swansea City rather than Chelsea, but all good things must come to an end.
The Swans destroyed Bradford 5-0 in the final, a sour end to what was a sweet story. Not to worry though, Parkinson’s men used their momentum to achieve promotion to League One via the play-offs; so the fans did have a successful day at Wembley in the same season.
Alex McLeish’s Birmingham City had a great run to the final, including seeing off arch-rivals Aston Villa 2-1 in the quarters-finals.
Big striker Nikola Zigic was the man of the moment then and he was the man of the moment in the final as he gave the Blues an unexpected lead against Arsenal.
But when Robin van Persie emphatically equalised for the Gunners, many expected the North Londoners to kick-on and win this tournament for the first time under Arsene Wenger.
However, it wasn’t to be and there was late drama when there was a lack of communication between centre-back Laurent Koscielny and goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.
The ball fell kindly to Obafemi Martins, who rolled the ball into the empty net to spark pandemonium amongst the Birmingham fans, players and staff, as they knew the trophy was theirs.
In the 2012 final, Championship side Cardiff City met the most successful team in this competition’s history, Premier League giants Liverpool.
But size didn’t matter in this up and down match as Joe Mason put the Welsh side 1-0 up just after 20 minutes.
It would take Liverpool until the hour mark to break the Cardiff resistance and equalise through Martin Skrtel. Before you knew it, the game had headed towards extra time.
The Reds went 2-1 up thanks to Dirk Kuyt, but, as always, there was drama in the final and Ben Turner equalised for the Bluebirds in the last couple of minutes of extra time.
The trophy hung in the balance of a penalty shootout and two Gerrards missed, but it would be Steven’s cousin Anthony, a Cardiff defender, who would drag the decisive penalty wide of the mark.
A valiant effort by the team from the Welsh capital, but it would be Liverpool who were victorious and they lifted their eighth League Cup.
The 2004 final saw quite a shock match-up in many respects, as Middlesbrough met Bolton Wanderers at the Millennium Stadium.
Boro saw off Arsenal in the two legged semi-final, whereas the Trotters defeated Aston Villa.
But it would be Steve McLaren’s North-East side who won the trophy after a 2-1 victory. Joseph-Desire Job gave Boro the lead after just two minutes but Kevin Davies soon equalised for Bolton.
It would take a somewhat lucky penalty from Man of the Match Bolo Zenden to win the game for Middlsbrough, despite him slipping and Jussi Jaaskelainen getting a foot to the ball.
The 2006 final saw newly promoted Wigan Athletic compete against Manchester United.
The Latics saw off Arsenal in the semi-final after a 119th minute away goal from Jason Roberts at Highbury.
Many gave them half a chance against a strong United side, but they were undone by Sir Alex Ferguson’s men – losing 4-0.
At the time, it was the heaviest ever defeat in League Cup final history… until Bradford lost 5-0 back in 2013.
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Capital Cup final date: 28 Feb 2016
Capital Cup final kick-off time: 4:30 PM (UK)