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Chelsea and Liverpool out of the League Cup
by Ian Plenderleith, November 13th, 2008 7AM
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[ENGLAND] In the English League Cup Round of 16 Chelsea conceded a second-half equalizer to second division Burnley, and then lost the game on penalty kicks. Liverpool lost its second game of the season, and for the second time it was at White Hart Lane.

Didier Drogba scored his first goal for Chelsea since the semifinal of the Champions League last April in a lineup that showed six changes from the weekend win at Blackburn. But Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari was made to pay for all the reshuffling when Ade Akinbiyi leveled the scores with 20 minutes left. After overtime it was Burnley, buoyed by 6,000 traveling fans, that took the game on penalty kicks, 5-4.

Burnley manager Owen Coyle said it was "important we came to be positive," regardless of the result. "We came in and gave it our best shot. I'm absolutely delighted." He said his team hadn't practiced spot kicks because, "Who thought we were going to get to penalty kicks?" Scolari said Burnley played "very well. We lost many chances in the game. They had more quality in the penalties than us."

Liverpool was hit by a rash of three goals in seven minutes just before halftime at Tottenham thanks to strikes from Roman Pavlyuchenko and a double from Fraizer Campbell, on loan from Manchester United. Although Liverpool scored twice after the interval when Damien Plessis and Sami Hyypia took advantage of yet more poor goalkeeping from Brazilian Heurelho Gomes (who was later stretchered off), another goal from Pavlyuchenko in between saw Tottenham safely into Saturday's quarterfinal draw.

"That's 18 goals we've scored in my five matches in charge -- we're bringing in Les Ferdinand as a striking coach and I've told him if we stop scoring it's his fault!" quipped the still undefeated Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp. "In all seriousness, though, I've been so pleased with the players. They have tremendous quality and want to win every game -- the desire is brilliant." His Liverpool counterpart Rafael Benitez was frank about his team's shortcomings: "We did not play well, we did not defend well, and we did not deserve anything from the game."

In the round's other game Wednesday, Sunderland fell 2-1 at home to Blackburn Rovers. Blackburn substitute Roque Santa Cruz headed his team into the lead, and five minutes later a Phil Bardsley own goal put Rovers 2-0 ahead. A long-range Kenwyne Jones goal 20 minutes from time wasn't enough for Sunderland, whose manager Roy Keane noted "there has not been much between the teams in our recent games, but we're on the losing end, so we'll have to sort that out. It's like groundhog day -- the same scenario, the same post-match interview. It's getting frustrating." Blackburn manager Paul Ince said his team "hadn't won for a few games so it is important to get a win under our belts. We will enjoy it but you don't get three points, and the most important thing for me is Saturday." When Premier League action resumes. Never mind winning trophies, safety from relegation is what counts most.

League Cup quarterfinalists: Burnley, Blackburn, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Stoke City, Watford, Manchester United, Derby County.

 



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