Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 21 October 2014

In Pictures: The ten best League Cup finals

1967: QPR 3 West Brom 2
Although the tournament began in the 1960-61 season, this was the first time it culminated in a one-off Wembley showpiece, previous finals having been held over two legs. It was a fitting match for the venue which had hosted the World Cup final a year earlier. The match was seemingly over at half-time with Third Division QPR 2-0 down to top-flight West Brom. But three goals in 20 second-half minutes, including a wonderful solo effort from Rodney Marsh, ensured the underdogs roared back to become the first Third Division side to win a major trophy.
2005: Chelsea 3 Liverpool 2
The two managers, Rafael Benitez and Jose Mourinho, went into this final at the Millennium Stadium looking for their first piece of silverware at their new clubs. And despite contests between the big-boys often failing to live up to expectations, this one got off to a great start; After just 42 seconds John Arne Riise had put Liverpool ahead. The contest looked to be going Liverpool's way until their captain, Steven Gerrard, headed into his own net with 10 minutes to go. Mourinho's reaction to the goal was to put his finger to his lips, with a gesture that suggested the Liverpool fans "quiet down". The game went to extra-time and goals from Didier Drogba and Mateja Kezman were enough to secure Mourinho his first title in England. Antonio Nunez did hit back for Liverpool but it wasn't enough for the Reds.
2007: Chelsea 2 Arsenal 1
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger kept faith with the 'Young Gunners', essentially the reserve team, who had taken the club to the final - and it almost paid dividends. Arsenal's outfield players had an average age of under 21 and they dominated for large periods with some thrilling football, Theo Walcott putting them ahead after 12 minutes with his first goal for the club. But Didier Drogba equalised eight minutes later and grabbed a second late on to hand the trophy to Chelsea. John Terry was taken to hospital after receiving a boot in the face, but discharged himself in time to celebrate with his team-mates.

This Sunday at Wembley, Manchester United take on Aston Villa in the Carling Cup final.

>> Click on the image to launch our guide.

Since its inception in 1961, and its many guises (Milk Cup, Coca-Cola Cup, Rumbelows Cup), the competition has provided numerous classic finals.

As we keep our fingers crossed for another belter at Wembley this weekend, we remember the ten best League Cup finals.

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