Well, well, well. Sunderland go through to the League Cup semi-finals for the first time since 1999 and you'd have to say they deserved to win tonight, if only for their guts and dogged determination. THis could be just the shot in the arm they need as, buoyed by this result, they begin their inevitable ascent up the Premier League table to vie for a place in the top four and a Champions League place. Hats off to Lee Cattermole, who was immense tonight. I'm always quick to criticism him in the wake of his silly red cards, but he deserves a huge amount of credit for a wonderful performance tonight.
Peep! Peep! Peeeeeeeeeeep! It's all over at the Stadium of Light, where Sunderland have pulled off a ridiculously improbable victory. They were completely outclassed at times, but hung in there to score a last-ditch equaliser in normal time, before scoring a late-late winner in the closing minutes of extra time.
ET30: Fabio Borini deserves immense credit there, for creating that goal for his fellow substitute, standing with his back to goal before picking out his fellow substitute. Sunderland have brought on Phil Bardsley for Emanuele Giaccherini.
ET29: The loanee from Swansea earns a booking for stripping off his shirt as he wheeled away in celebration after slotting the ball inside the left upright with a beautifully calm and measured finish from 10 yards, that could fire Sunderland into the semi-final of the Capital One Cup.
GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! GOAL!!!!!!!!! GOAAAAAAAALL! GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! Sunderland 2-1 Chelsea (Ki 118) Sunderland have taken the lead with less than two minutes of extra time to go.
ET 27: It's all Sunderland at the moment. They are battering Chelsea with the power of 10,000 suns.
ET 25: Sunderland go forward again. Giaccherini wins a throw-in deep in Chelsea territory when his attempted cross is put out of play.
ET23: AAAAAAAGGGGGHHH! Ki gets on the end of a marvellous cross from Seb Larsson and sends a powerful header goalwards. The ball looks to be heading on its way into the top right-hand corner, but Schwarzer pulls off a remarkable one-handed save. That's desperately unlucky for Ki, who couldn't have done much more.
ET20: In a word: no. His free-kick was decent, he whipped the ball around the ball, but it was half-cleared before it could creep inside the far post. The ball broke kindly for Ki, who shot goalwards, but his effort was blocked too. Desperate defending from Chelsea, who hang in there, but only just. This is a heroic effort from a Sunderland team that looked a shambles an hour ago.
ET19: Sunderland advance and Michael Essien takes down Giaccherini just outside the left-hand side of the Chelsea penalty area. A booking for the Ghanaian and a free-kick for Sunderland that's in Seb Larsson territory. Can he whip it past Schwarzer.
ET18: Wes Brown robs Demba Ba of possession in midfield and plays the ball forward. Sunderland then win a throw-in level with the edge of the Chelsea penalty area, when Gary Cahill is forced to put the ball out of play under pressure from Jozy Altidore.
ET17: From the edge of the Sunderland penalty area, Hazard attempts to dink the ball for4ward for Lampard. His pass is cut out and Sunderland clear.
The second half of extra time begins. David Luiz almost missed it, having gone into the dressing room, where I suspect he may have had a date with some porcelain.
ET15: Peep! Peep! Peep! It's half-time in extra time and the players rush to the touchline for the drinks of water and quick break and team talks they're not supposed to have. In tonight's other quarter-final, Manchester City beat Leicester City 3-1.
ET 14: Kevin De Bruyne tries his luck with a long range effort. It's on target, but doesn't trouble Vito Mannone. There's a pause in play as Mikel gets treatment for an injury sustained in a clash of heads with Fabio Borini.
ET13: There's a bit of a lull after a serious frantic passage of play from both sides. The players on both sides look exhausted. There will, of course, be penalties if it's still all square at the end of extra time.
ET9: Giaccherini sends the ball into the Chelsea penalty area from the left, where Borini manages to get a shot off. Wide.
ET7: More brilliant defending from Brown, who is once again forced to hook the ball wide of his own goal under extreme pressure from Ba, after Willian gets in behind Celustkja again.
ET6: Jozy Altidore holds the ball up in the penalty area before prodding it towards Ki. The substitute waits for reinforcements to charge forward, but has the ball poked off his toe and out for what looks like a corner. A goal kick is given.
ET4: Having been instructed to get forward by Gus Poyet, Celustka beats Willian and pulls the ball back into the penalty area. Chelsea clear.
ET3: Willian twists the blood of Ondrej Celustka as he jinks down the left flank, before sending in a dangerous cross which Wes Brown heads behind for a corner under intense pressure from Demba Ba. Brown did well not to head into his own net, there.
ET2: De Bruyne tries to curl the ball into the top right-hand corner from outside the penalty area and sends it into Row Z instead.
ET1: Chelsea get the first period of extra time started. Somebody has to.
Peep! Peep! Peeeeeeeep! The final whistle blows at the Stadium of Light and it's all square between the two sides. We'll have an hour of extra time and it's fair to say not too many of the players on the pitch look particularly thrilled by the prospect.
90+3 min: Giaccherini finds himself in space down the left on the edge of the Chelsea penalty area, but dilly-dallies too long, fails to put in a corss and tries to stab the ball forward towards towards Altidore instead. Chelsea clear.
90 min: There'll be five minutes of added time. Borini blows a wonderful opportunity to win the match for Sunderland after being played in behind the Chelsea defence. With the goal at his mercy, he attgempted to work the ball on to his left foot rather than shoot with his right, allowing Gary Cahill to save his side's bacon with a last-ditch tackle that had home fans roaring for a penalty.
89 min: That was a fine goal, prompted by Chelsea's defenders backing off as Sunderland's players poured forward in search of an equaliser. The ball caught got under Altidore's feet on the edge of the six-yard box and as he failed to get a shot off, the ball bvroke to Borini who did splendidly to score from the position he was in.
GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! GOAL! GOOOOOOOOOAL! Sunderland 1-1 Chelsea (Borini 88) Fabio Borini does brilliantly to nutmeg David Luiz at the near post and fire home from a ridiculously tight angle. Sunderland are level and we're headed towards extra time.
85 min: Sunderland work the ball back into the Chelsea penalty area, where Schwarzer is forced to punch clear once again.
84 min: Dossena wins a corner for Sunderland off Willian. Seb Larsson swings the ball into the mixer, where Schwarzer punches clear.
82 min: Cheklsea substitution: Eden Hazard on, Andre Schurrle off. Gulp. After the demolition job he did on them a fortnight ago, the hearts of Sunderland's players will be sinking into their boots at the sight of the Belgian taking to the field.
80 min: Free kick for Chelsea, just inside their own half, by the right touchline. David Luiz sends a wonderful long diagonal pass into the Sunderlandpenalty area, where Demba Ba peels off his man and, running away from goal, meets it first time and sends his diagonal volley rolling no more than a foot or two past the left upright. Great effort.
79 min: In tonight's other semi-final, it's now Leicester City 1-3 Manchester City. Edin Dzeko and Lloyd Dyer with the second half goals at the Walker's Stadium.
77 min: Kevin Schurrle tries his luck with two consecutive long range efforts. The first goes wide (it should have been a corner, but none was awarded) and the second is blocked and goes out for a throw-in.
75 min: Amid all the
recent excitement substitution admin and housekeeping, I forgot to tell you that Wes Brown recently sliced the ball behind him as he attempted to block a De Bruyne shot. It could have gone anywhere, including into his own goal, but thankfully just went out for a corner, from which nothing came.
73 min: Chelsea substitution: Samuel Eto'o off, Demba Ba on. Sunderland substitution: Adam Johnson off, Fabio Borini on.
70 min: Having been completely dominated in the opening 15 minutes of this half, Sunderland have regained a foothold, but still aren't creating much. Cattermole just tried a shot from long range, but it didn't trouble Schwarzer unduly.
69 min: Cesar Azpilicueta injures his knee while contesting the ball with Jozy Altidore on the left-hand side of the Chelsea penalty area, receives treatment and is unable to continue. Chelsea substitution: Azpilicueta off, Michael Essien on to fill in at right-back.
67 min: Sky's commentator gravely intones that the Sunderland streaker is unlikely to see much football being played at the Stadium of Light in the coming weeks, months or years. The lucky bugger.
65 min: The official attendance at the Stadium of Light is 20,731, but that's about to be reduced by one as there's a break in play so that Sunderland stewards can react with sloth-like speed to catch a streaker who's encroached on the pitch. In an effort to protect his modesty and deny him publicity, the camera cuts to Jose Mourinho and Gus Poyet laufghing at the good of it on the touchline. Once the interloper has been apprehended, the camera cuts to him - he appears to be topless and wearing tracksuit bottoms as he is escorted from the pitch.
63 min: A Sunderland cross from the left into the Chelsea penalty area is only half-cleared by David Luiz. Adam Johnson shoots goalwards, but David Luiz blocks on the edge of the six-yard box. The ball breaks to Johnson again and he shoots high over the bar.
62 min: Sunderland substitution: Craig Gardner off, Sung Yeung-Ki on. A central midfielder for a central midfielder.
60 min: The debate rages on: Cattermole definitely got the last touch on the ball before it crossed the line, but the suggestion is that, because Lampard initially steered it goalwards, the goal will be credited to him.
58 min: Sunderland are getting absolutely mullered in this second half - Chelsea have enjoyed 85% of possession. Lampard has really grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and is making one driving run after another from midfield. Sunderland gift possession to him again as they try to play the ball out of defence and he's gifted another shooting opportunity. He rifles the ball over the bar from 25 yards.
55 min: Frank Lampard robs Seb Larsson of the ball in midfield, charges forward and plays the ball wide to De Bruyne, who tries to shoot inside the left upright with a rasping diagonal effort. Mannone saves well to put the ball out from a corner, from which nothing comes.
53 min: The ball's played wide to Dossena, who's in a great position to cross. He does exactly that, once again failing to send the ball anywhere near Jozy Altidore. As much as it pains me to point out the blindingly obvious, Sunderland are some rabble. They're capable of occasional patches of decent play, but their crossing is abject and they make far too many mistakes at the back.
50 min: Another calamitous error at the back by Sunderland, this time courtesy of Craig Gardner. He gifts possession to Samuel Eto'o with an unnecessary back-pass, putting the striker clean through on goal. Luckily for Sunderland, he rolls the ball narrowly wide of the right upright.
48 min: The current round of quarter finals mark the first time Hawkeye technology is being used in the League Cup. It's a good job too, as it would have been a travesty if that goal had been disallowed. Chances are the linesman would have given it anyway as the ball was a couple of feet over the line.
GOAL! Sunderland 0-1 Chelsea (Hawkeye 46) Wide on the right, Cesar Azpilicueta wins the ball from Giaccerini and curls a wonderful cross into the corridor of uncertainty between Vitor Mannone and his back four. Lee Cattermol tries desperately to get goal side of Frank Lampard, but fails to do so and the midfielder bundles the ball over the line. Vitor Mannone palms it back out from bnehind the line, but the goal is given. Replays show the decision to be correct. Bah!
Second half: Chelsea get the ball rolling for the seond half. Both sides have big games at the weekend and will be eager to avoid extra time. I don't have a big game at the weekend, but am eager for them to avoid extra time too.
In the Sky Sports studio ...
Kevin Phillips and Micky Gray are both highly critical of Sunderland's performance. Gray, who I think is quite under-rated as a pundit (his performance during the women's European Championships was a revelation), lambasts them for giving the ball away too cheaply in dangerous areas and both agree that it's only a matter of time before Chelsea score from one of the chances they keep being gifted around the edge of the 18-yard box. Phillips says that with a player of Altidore's size and strength playing alone in the Chelsea box, Sunderland need to get the ball to the wide players and start swinging crosses in towards the American.
In tonight's other Capital One Cup quarter-final ...
Leicester City trail 2-0 at home to Manchester City, with Aleksandar Kolarov and Edin Dzeko doing the honours for the visitors.
Half-time: Anthony Taylor signals the interval and thep layers of both teams walk off for their half-time brew. It's been far from a classic without any clear-cut scoring chances, but both teams have had their moments and will probably be happy enough with things as they stand.
44 min: Giaccherini tries a pot-shot from distance. The ball sails high over the bar.
43 min: Adam Johnson picks up the ball on the inside-right, cuts inside and emabarks on a mazy dribble that takes him into the Chelsea penalty area. An excessively heavy touch as he attempts to bring the ball on to his left foot to fashion a shooting opportunity takes it out of his control and enables Gary Cahill to boot the ball up the park.
42 min: Giaccherini plays a diagonal ball to Dossena in an advanced position on Sunderland's left flank. The Italian full-back first-times a low cross towards lone target Jozy Altidore, but Chelsea hack clear.
42 min: Chelsea advance out of their own half after a period of very brief Sunderland pressure.
41 min: Sunderland advance out of their own half after a period of sustained Chelsea pressure.
37 min: Wes Brown dawdles on the ball as he attempts to walk it out from the back and gets robbed of possession by Azpilicueta, who prods the ball towards Eto'o, who tries to tee up a shooting opportunity. In his desperation to atone for his error, Brown fouls the striker but gets away with it. Lucky boy.
35 min: Sunderland get mugged trying to play the ball out from the back again and Willian sends a low diagonal drive trundling wide of the left upright. The ball took a deflection off Lee Cattermole on its way wide, but neither Willian nor the referee noticed. Goal kick for Sunderland.
32 min: On the overlap, Andrea Dossena fires a cross towards the edge of the Chelsea box, where Azpilicueta blocks the ball with a raised arm and sends it out for a corner. Sunderland's players and fans appeal for a penalty, but don't get one. I've seen them given and not given for similar incidents ... personally, I think if your arm is raised, then it's a handball - I would contend that either consciously or subconsciously, you're raising it to spread yourself in an attempt to block the ball. Anyway, it doesn't matter what I think - Anthony Taylor (Cheshire) clearly disagrees. Nothing comes from the corner.
29 min: Giaccherini picks up a pass halfway inside his own half and is barged over by Azpilicueta. Free-kick for Sunderland.
27 min: Dossena bodychecks Willian to prevent him galloping up the wing to get on the 'go' of a 'give-and-go' with Schurrle. A free-kick for Chelsea and a yellow card for the Sunderland left-back.
26 min: Larsson takes the free-kick from deep, sending the ball looping towards the far post, where it bounces out of play.
25 min: With Sunderland on the counter-attack inside Chelsea's half, a heavy touch from Giaccherini takes the ball past David Luiz, who promptly body-checks the Italian winger. Free-kick for Sunderland about 40 yards from the Chelsea goal and a yellow card for Luiz.
22 min: Sunderland's players surge forward, in so much as they ever surge anywhere. In possession on the edge of the penalty area, Jozy Altidore and Emanuele Giaccherini get in each other's way while trying to tee up a shot and a half-decent scoring chance from distance goes a begging.
20 min: On the back of a David Luiz foul on Adam Johnson, Sunderland win a free-kick, wide on the right and a good way out from the Chelsea goal. Seb Larsson sends a decent cross fizzing in towards the far post, where Giaccherini attempts to steer the ball across the face of goal, only for Cesar Azpilicueta to intercept. Quite a few Sunderland players looked offside there, but the linesman didn't raise his flag.
17 min: Sunderland try to pass the ball out of defence and succeed only in gifting possession to Samuel Eto'o about five yards outside their own penalty. He pings the ball to Willian, then picks out Schurrle on the right flank. He skins Wes Brown and drills the ball across the edge of the six-yard box. There's nobody around to stab it home, but Sunderland fail to clear properly and a game of penalty area pinball ensues. Eventually, somebody in a Sunderland shirt puts their boot through the ball and clears the danger.
15 min: Seb Larsson tracks a Frank Lampard run to prevent the Chelsea midfielder from getting on the end of a diagonal ball into the box, then shepherds the ball back to his goalkeeper. Yes, it really is that exciting.
14 min: In tonight's other quarter-final, Manchester City have gone a goal up against Leicester City. Aleksandar Kolarov, take a bow.
12 min: Sunderland win a free-kick in the middle third when Kevin De Bruyne runs across the path of Giaccherini and brings the Italian winger to ground in the process. Not too long before that, Frank Lampard had tried his luck with a long-range effort, but to no avail.
10 min: We're 10 minutes in and this has been fairly bogstandard fare thus far. No real chances of note, but it's absorbing enough. Both teams are playing with five midfielders and one up front.
8 min: Sunderland go forward, with Giaccherini on the ball. He crosses into the penalty area and there's a half-hearted appeal for a penalty, presumably for hand-ball of Gary Cahill. No spot-kick is forthcoming.
7 min: Chelsea win a free-kick about 30 yards from the Sunderland goal. Andre Schurrle shoots for goal, but his effort flies high over the bar.
5 min: Under pressure from Gary Cahill, Jose Altidore wins a throw-in deep in Chelsea territory. Gardner is dispossessed by John Obi Mikel and Chelsea surge forward. Willian turns Andrea Dossena inside-out on the edge of the penalty area and tries his luck. It's another tame shot that fails to trouble Mannone.
4 min: Chelsea win possession and go forward. Andre Schurrle fires the first shot in anger, but his low drive from distance doesn't pack much punch and easy for Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone.
3 min: Sunderland win the first free-kick of the game for a foul on Adam Johson not too far inside the Chelsea half, over by the right touchline.
2 min: The ball leaves the middle third, when Willian hoofs it forward towards Samuel Eto'o. Before the Cameroonian can bring it under control, Wes Brown out-muscles him and clears.
2 min: The ball hasn't left the middle third of the pitch yet.
1 min: Sunderland kick-off, playing from right to left. They immediately win a throw-in just inside their own half and Giaccherini chuck the ball towards Altidore, who is immediately challenged by Gary Cahill. Chelsea win possession.
In the Sky Sports studio ...
Sunderland old boys Kevin Phillips and Micky Gray are providing the punditry and both seem remarkably upbeat about the Mackems chances for men who, deep down, probably expect their former team to get the mother of all tonkings. Anyway, Sergei Sergeyevich Prokofiev's Dance of the Knights is booming out over the PA and assorted shouts of "c'mon boys!" have gone up from assorted players in the tunnel. Kick-off is in a couple of minutes.
Other things that are sponsored by Capital One ...
My Sunday morning radio show, The Warm-Up: Megazade on Talksport with Max Rushden from Soccer Am. It's on from 11am to 1pm and if you haven't tuned in yet, please do so. You can also download it on iTunes and listen to it on the Talksport website.
Jose Mourinho had his say too
"If Gus asks me for advice, I'll give him some advice," he said. "He's playing [to avoid] relegation," he said. "He has to play the kids from the academy in our game and keep the guys fresh for the next weekend. To play a game in the same week that you play second against first is a strange week, especially because Arsenal is not having this game. I can guess that they are having a couple of days off. I can guess they are going to prepare the game calmly, tactically very well prepared. We have to travel, we have to play, we have to come back. But it's the quarter-final. When you are in the quarter-final, you smell the final. It's not very, very far. We are going to try." Looks like Gus either didn't ask Jose for advice, or did and subsequently ignored it.
Sunderland v Chelsea line-ups
Sunderland: Mannone, Celustka, O'Shea, Brown, Dossena, Larsson,
Gardner, Cattermole, Johnson, Giaccherini, Altidore.
Subs: Bardsley, Ki, Cabral, Roberge, Borini, Mavrias, Dixon.
Chelsea: Schwarzer, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Luiz, Cole, Mikel,
Lampard, Willian, Schurrle, De Bruyne, Eto'o.
Subs: Essien, Torres, Oscar, Hazard, Ba, Terry, Blackman.
Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire)
Gus Poyer was chatting ahead of today's game ...
He says he doesn't think Sunderland are going to face "a weak Chelsea", if such a beast exists. "I am expecting a very strong side whoever plays, because they have such a strong group of players," he said. "We can go through them position by position – Cesar Azpilicueta or Ashley Cole? Frank Lampard or Ramires? Michael Essien or John Obi Mikel? Demba Ba or Fernando Torres? No, whichever Chelsea team comes to the Stadium of Light, it will still be a top team. If there are 11 changes, let's see if we can take advantage but I'm not expecting too many new faces in the Chelsea side."
On the more pressing problem of escaping from the Premier League relegation zone, Gus said that tonight's match could help, despite being an entirely different competition. "To get out of the relegation zone, we need to become winners," he declared. "To become winners, we need to win the next one and beating Chelsea can help us in that way. If you ask me how have I found my best 11 or my starting 11, I would have say I'm close, so it is not the time to be making a load of changes. I've been searching for that best side since I came here and against West Ham it was not perfect but it was getting there in terms of what I think is probably the best team we have available."
Evening all. Sunderland and Chelsea go toe to toe in the Capital One Cup this evening, with a place in the semi-final up for grabs for the winner. The Stadium of Light is the venue, scene of the recent 4-3 humdinger between the sides less than two weeks ago, when an inspirational performance from Chelsea midfielder Eden Hazard, who scored two goals and crafted another, enabled Chelsea to record their ninth successive win on Wearside.
Chelsea currently sit third in a Premier League table that is propped up by their hosts tonight, who sit fourth points adrift at the bottom, but have showed some signs of life under their new manager, the former Chelsea striker Gus Poyet. Victory over Newcastle, their now customary home win over Manchester City and away draws at Aston Villa and West Ham have not been enough to propel them up the table, but at least suggest the side has improved since Paolo Di Canio got his P45 and the players were allowed to start putting tomato ketchup on their bacon butties and pasta bake once again. Small steps, eh?
Sunderland have beaten MK Dons, Peterborough United and Southampton, en route to toninght's quarter-final, while Chelsea have seen off the challenge of Swindon Town and Arsenal. While Poyet is expected to name a similar team to that which was unlucky not to beat West Ham at Upton Park on Saturday for tonight's game, José Mourinho is likely to rotate his squad as he bids to win this competition for the third time.