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Red Devils scare Blues on Halloween

Written By: Robert Halter

Halloween night produced the glamour tie for the fourth round of the Capital One Cup as Chelsea were matched against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge as squad members from the Blues and Red Devils got their chance to shine under the floodlights. A mistake from a Petr Cech goal kick gifted the Red Devils the lead in the twenty second minute as his stray pass caught Oriol Romeu on the hop and as the Blues defender lost control, Anderson got a touch onto Ryan Giggs who strolled forward and steered the ball past Cech into the left side of the net. But Chelsea got a lifeline on just over the half hour mark when Alexander Buttner’s clumsy challenge on Victor Moses gained the Blues a penalty and David Luiz stepped up to drill the spot kick into the left corner. The Blues regained the advantage in the forty third minute when Luiz cannoned the ball against Rafael from a Cech goal kick and Anderson capitalised with a threaded pass through to Javier Hernandez, who fired the ball past Cech into the bottom left of the goal. Cech was forced into a full length save from a well struck effort by Nick Powell as he drove the ball low from outside the box in the forty seventh minute. Although the Blues once again fought back to level terms in the fifty second minute with a finely judged header by Gary Cahill as he guided the ball over the line despite Rafael’s attempt to keep it out, as Juan Mata’s perfectly measured corner opened the door for Cahill to score. However in the fifty ninth minute, United restored their advantage with Anderson finding Nani in the penalty area, who with a crafted chip over Cech found the back of the net as the Red Devils edged 3-2 ahead. Two minutes later, Cech spilled the ball from Anderson’s strike and Hernandez ballooned the ball over as Man U pressed again. In the sixty fourth minute, a soaring header by Moses rose over the bar from an Eden Hazard cross as the Blues looked for a route back into the game. Three minutes later Cesar Azpilicueta put a header over from close range off a Mata cross as a good Chelsea chance was wasted. After a penalty appeal was turned away from Mata’s shot against the hand of Michael Keane, Chelsea still kept their spirits up and in the seventy fifth minute, Daniel Sturridge found Moses in the box but his strike spun off Anders Lindegaard in the United goal. With five minutes of normal time remaining Lindegaard was called into action again to deal with a ferocious long range effort by Oscar. Incredibly Chelsea were awarded another spot kick at the end of stoppage time after Scott Wootton’s tumble on Ramires and Hazard took the game into another half hour of play by firing the penalty into the centre of the goal. Seven minutes into the first period of extra time, the Blues forged ahead for the first time in the match when Wootton miss placed a header from a long ball in by Hazard that put Sturridge free and he rounded Lindegaard before tucking the ball away. A foul by Keane on Sturridge gave Luiz the chance to strike at goal from a free kick but he blasted his shot against the crossbar, just before the break. A minute into the re-start, a bending strike by Sturridge went narrowly over, after Moses had created the opportunity. Moses then went close with nine minutes of extra time remaining but Lindegaard blocked his strike with both feet, after Sturridge had cleared the way. Finally the Blues scored again in the hundred and sixteenth minute as Hazard switched a pass to Ramires, who side stepped Lindegaard to hit the target. Although United did pull a goal back four minutes later as a foul by Azpilicueta on Hernandez gave the Red Devils a penalty and Giggs hammered the dead ball into the left pocket. In the final piece of action, Hazard’s low drive clipped the right post but the game was then won after Chelsea secured a 5-4 victory.