Eden Hazard penalty saves Chelsea in nine goal thriller
Chelsea met Manchester United for the second time in four days, and on this occasion it was all about the football. With the row about referee Mark Clattenburg’s alleged racist remarks simmering away in the background, Chelsea won a pulsating Capital One Cup tie 5-4 after extra-time.
Manchester United led three times in normal time, with Chelsea’s defence looking vulnerable to the counter-attack. Chelsea’s relentless pressure though suggested that the players were taking the game, and the competition, very seriously. Eden Hazard’s penalty for Chelsea deservedly levelled the tie with the final kick of normal time, and they scored twice more in extra-time.
It was a match full of drama that left Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson fuming that his side had let the game slip from their grasp. He admitted that his inexperienced defenders, Scott Wootton and Michael Keane, had looked vulnerable in the later stages.
At the other end of the age spectrum, he singled out veteran Ryan Giggs for praise. Giggs played the full two hours, and scored twice, his penalty late in extra-time even briefly hinting that United could make it 5-5. "He's an example to every player on the pitch, including the Chelsea players," Ferguson said.
The Chelsea manager was happy to move the focus away from the Clattenburg affair and onto some astonishing Cup football. Over the last two days we have seen some exciting, thrilling football," Di Matteo said, "We have seen a lot of future stars and that's what we should promote and not the other stuff. We showed a big heart, passion and pride not to lose."
Di Matteo was referring to a Tuesday night tie as well as his own team’s win. Even Chelsea’s 5-4 victory could not quite overshadow Arsenal’s miraculous comeback from 4-0 down to beat Reading 7-5 in extra-time.