League Cup Roundup: Balotelli saves Liverpool, Newcastle defeat Manchester City
What a wild night in the Capital One Cup as Liverpool came back to defeat Swansea City 2-1 at the death, Newcastle United beat Manchester City 2-0, Spurs defeated Brighton 2-0 and a Graziano Pelle brace handed Southampton a 3-2 win at Stoke.
At Anfield, Swansea striker Marvin Emnes handed Garry Monk’s side a 65th minute lead and looked destined for a second fourth-round win at Liverpool in the last two years.
Enter Mario Balotelli. In the 89th minute Fabio Borini swung in a sensational cross from the right side of play and up lept Balotelli to acrobatically volley home.
Anfield erupted giving Brendan Rodgers’ men a much-needed boost. Fans’ hopes were lifted even further when, in the 90th minute, Swansea defender Federico Fernandez was issued his marching orders for a challenge on Philippe Coutinho. The decision seemed harsh and Coutinho made the most of it, putting his 94th minute free-kick onto the head of Dejan Lovren to secure victory.
After the match, Liverpool assistant Colin Pascoe spoke glowingly of Balotelli’s efforts:
“It is great for Mario, he wants to work all the time,” said Pascoe. “He is a resilient lad with a tremendous talent. He wants to work on his movement and his finishing. We had to assess him before the game. He felt something in his knee during the warm-up and Mike Marsh [the first team coach] sent him in to see the physio.”
Here’s how the rest of tonight’s League Cup matches ended up:
Manchester City 0 Newcastle United 2
Manuel Pellegrini’s side succumbed to their second straight defeat, losing 2-0 at home to Newcastle United. The Mapgies got off to a strong start behind Ryan Taylor, who in the 6th minute pickpocketed Fernandinho and fed 18-year-old striker Rolando Aarons to finish from six yards out.
Despite the goal conceded, though, City remained sluggish while Newcastle pressed on for a second. The hard-work paid off as Alan Pardew’s men found their insurance goal in the 75th minute when Moussa Sissoko, on for Daryl Janmaat, dribbled past Fernandinho and Bacary Sagna before firing into the back of the net. Trouble for City heading into the Derby.
Tottenham 2 Brighton 0
After 53 minutes of scoreless action, Tottenham winger Erik Lamela broke the deadlock when he skipped into the Brighton box and fired low, into the corner. That gave Spurs some breathing room and twenty minutes later, Harry Kane doubled the lead on a rebound from a Roberto Soldado shot to ensure the victory.
Stoke City 2 Southampton 3
Pelle continued his scoring tear netting a brace to defeat Stoke City at The Britannia. The Italian opened the scoring in the 6th minute with an audacious rip into the top corner from 25 yards out. After Shane Long doubled the Saints lead in the 30th minute, Stoke City pulled two back through Steven M’Zonzi and Mame Diouf. With the Potters pouring it on, Peter Crouch was sent off for two fouls within 80 seconds and Pelle capitalized, hitting home Steven Davis’ deflected free-kick in the 88th minute to send Southampton into the quarter-finals.
League Cup Quarter-Final Draw
Derby County v. Chelsea
Tottenham Hotspur v. Newcastle United
Bournemouth v. Liverpool
Sheffield United v. Southampton