What a day, what a game, what a mix of emotions, what a journey but overall what a great day of football. I don’t really think I need to write much here at all that hasn’t already been said but will let the pictures sum up what was a fantastic day regardless which side you ended up supporting!
I still can’t watch that Gerrard penalty without thinking that there still is a chance that it may still go in! Oh the agony!
It all began with Cardiff City football team leaving The Cardiff City Stadium on Friday with fans arriving in London throughout the weekend with most making the journey early on Sunday morning getting there in loads of time for the big game.
Proceedings began with nearly 90,000 football packing the new Wembley stadium ready for the Carling Cup final between Championship side Cardiff City (regulars at the new Wembley) and Premiership side Liverpool (first trip in years to Wembley and their first to the new Wembley stadium!)
Both teams took to the pitch to raptures of applause, pumping music and ceremony complete with big banners and flags being paraded around the pitch and stadium. Players shook hands before kicking off one of the most memorable Carling Cup final in years infront of a very vocal and eager crowd.
Cardiff’s McNaughton rolled it along the floor to Miller on the 18-yard line then passed it to Mason running into the box from the right who tapped it through Liverpool goalie Reina from eight yards.
It felt as if I had witnessed this goal seconds before everyone else and let out a massive yelp before the rest of the stadium joined in and totally erupted for Joe Mason putting Cardiff City 1 ahead in the 19th minute.
It was coming close to the one hour mark and Cardiff City’s lead was spoilt when Skrtl came from a corner that Carroll flicked onto Suárez and headed it across the face of the goal on to Heaton’s left post and equalised for the scousers!
As the full ninety minutes approached a late chance by Kenny Miller went wide and forced the game into extra time. After 90 minutes the score was Cardiff City 1 Liverpool 1.
I bet all the Liverpool fans who were talking about a scoreline in the region of 3-0 or 4-0 were now silenced!
So it was time for a drink, a stretch and some physio (the players not me!) before the first half of extra time took place infront of an ever frantic crowd.
There was a belief growing even stronger that this was our day and we could actually pull off this win.
We now had the belief, we had the singing and we were raring to go again. GAME ON!
But things didn’t seem to be going our way when Kuyt having only just come on, tried to find Suárez but his pass was deflected straight back where he then powered in at Heaton’s left post and took Liverpool into the lead 2-1 in extra time.
With less than ten minutes remaining the pressure was back on Cardiff and all our nerves were on a knife edge – I can’t begin to comprehend how the players were feeling now.
Time was running out and we had almost resigned ourselved to defeat but with only minutes left Ben Turner managed to get the ball between Reina’s legs and levelled the score 2 – 2. If we thought we had seen City fans celebrating so far – well this was on an astronomical scale (I’m getting tingles down my neck just writing about it!!)
Instinctively Turner took off his shirt and swung it triumphantly above his head knowing that he had just taken the game to penalties!!! What a game so far!
So after the full ninety minutes and extra time had been played the score was level at 2 a piece with the dreaded penalties lying ahead.
Decision time for both managers and the players whom had already had a really hectic 120 minutes of tiring football! Time for some more physio and attention before the penalties were taken at the Liverpool end!
Players anxiously waited near the centre spot whilst the packed stadium watched on and couldn’t believe when Liverpool missed their first! An unbelievably tense ten minutes for everyone – even moreso for the players stepping upto the mark to take the penalties.
Both sides geot off to a rocky start but the tired legs of Gestede and others made you wonder how the actual players were selected to take the penalties in the first place. It all finished when Anthony Gerrard missed his penalty hence gifting Liverpool the Carling Cup trophy 2012.
(Liverpool) Steven Gerrard – missed 0-0
(Cardiff) Kenny Miller – missed 0-0
(Liverpool) Charlie Adam – missed 0-0
(Cardiff) Don Cowie – scored 0-1
(Liverpool) Dirk Kuyt – scored 1-1
(Cardiff) Rudy Gestede – missed 1-1
(Liverpool) Stuart Downing – scored 2-1
(Cardiff) Peter Whittingham – scored 2-2
(Liverpool) Glen Johnson – scored 3-2
(Cardiff) Anthony Gerrard – missed 3-2