Spurs Lift The League Cup At Wembley

Before I start talking about the Carling Cup Final that took place on Sunday at the new Wembley, the first one at England’s new home of football, I just want to quickly talk about another, totally unrelated issue.

Who else uses Windows Vista? Yes, do you? Unlucky! That’s all I can say. Unfortunately, I have been using Vista for about 6 months now and I have suffered 2 major crashes. As well as that, it’s simply an ugly pig to work with! I have used the Windows Operating system, in it’s various guises since the mid 1990s without any issue. Ok, the odd time it hung with no other solution but CTRL+ALT+DEL to fix, but nothing that has destoyed my hard disk and forced me to buy news ones and has wasted weeks of my time and effort. Twice in 6 months, all since I have had the misfortune to buy a new laptop with Vista. Coincidence?? I don’t think so!

If you’re thinking of a new Windows computer, get the store to load XP onto the machine and not Vista. If they won’t do it for you, go to another shop that will. There’s no reason why they shouldn’t. You’ll be so glad you did. I wouldn’t wish what I have had to put up with over the last few months on my worst enemy. And to think we waited years for Vista and God knows how much it finally cost, and it’s an absolute DOG!

Stay clear!

Ok, after my little rant, here’s what happened at Wembley on Sunday between the London rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea in the Carling Cup (or League Cup to the purists, like me!)

Well, Spurs finally ended their long spell in the trophy wilderness by defeating Chelsea 2-1 after extra time to win the English League Cup Final.

It was Jonathan Woodgate, signed in Jan to help shore up Spurs’ previously leaky defence, that proved the unlikely hero. Woodgate headed the winner 4 mins into extra time to clinch a first trophy for the north Londoners since their 1999 win in the same competition.

However, you have to say there was a distinct element of luck to the goal itself as the ball cannoned into his forehead, after Petr Cech made a mess of dealing with a Jermaine Jenas free kick. But you ca’t argue that it was just forward for Spurs who played the more enterprising football through-out the game.

It was a strangely subdued Chelsea that turned up at Wembley. Don’t forget that Chelsea won both domestic cups last season under former boss Jose Mourihno. Chelsea were also leading until 20 minutes from full time thanks to a special Didier Drogba free kick after 39 minutes, and it was just about the only highlight from the first half in truth.

But Spurs’ excellent striker Dimitar Berbatov levelled it up from the penalty spot. So it was Ledley King, out since the 5-1 semi defeat of Arsenal last month, who lifted the trophy in front of the clubs ecstatic fans, who are now guaranteed European football again next season in the UEFA Cup.

Spurs manager Juande Ramos, who remarkedly had a 100% winning record in Cup Finals with Sevilla, said winning a trophy so early in his Spurs reign was very very special, he said, “This is a beautiful experience.”

Ramos, who replaced Martin Jol earlier this season, also said, “It’s been a unique experience and one I hope to repeat again.

“It’s tremendously satisfying to get the title and the trophy for the fans and the club. It’s a long time since we achieved success and for such a big club like Spurs it seems even longer.”

His Chelsea Chelsea counterpart Avram Grant did complain about the penalty as being “harsh” but conceded gracefully that Spurs deserved the win.

“They started well and also after the equaliser they were a bit more dangerous than us.” he said

Spurs, not surprisingly, began as underdogs but dominated the opening stages as Chelsea’s front strike force, a potent mix (at least on paper) of Drogba, Anelka and Shaun Wright-Phillips, heardly got a kick. But it was Pascal Chimbonda of Spurs who looped a header onto the top of the cross bar and the first meaningful save of the day came from Cech, who got down low to turn away a Steed Malbranque snap-shot that was creeping just inside the post.

It’s hard to believe but it took Chelsea 30mins to register their first shot in anger which was a speculative long range shot from Frank Lampard.

Drogba then tried his luck with a free-kick, after his Ivory Coast colleague Didier Zokora, had bungled over by Wright-Phillips.

Zokora’s next rash challenge however proved more costly for his club. This time he sent Drogba dramatically sprawling to the lush Wembley turf. It earned him a yellow card. The Chelsea striker picked himself only to curl the free-kick past a static Robinson.

Spurs seemed to be running out of ideas after the break but the softest of penalties get them a lifeline. There seemed little danger as the ball was played across the area but an eagle eyed referee’s assistant (why or why can’t we just call them “linesmen”?) spotted a hand ball by Wayne Bridge who was under pressure from Tom Huddlestone. Berbatov, the coolest person in the stadium, cooly slid the ball past Cech to make it 1 – 1.

As extra time beckoned Zokora spurned a glorious chance to put Spurs ahead with just Cech to beat.

But it was Ramos who rallied his troops for extra-tome and they need just 4 minutes to finally take the lead. Jenas curled in a dangerous free-kick and Woodgate got the slenderest of touches as Cech, uncharacteristically, flapped.

Spurs survived a big scare with virtually the last kick of the game when Salomon Kalou, on as a substitute for Wright-Phillips, had a shot that scrapped the post but Spurs hung on for their 4th League Cup Final win. It was a repeat of their 1967 FA Cup Final victory over their West London rivals.

The Soccer Blogger