Liverpool Beats Chelsea in Carling Cup; Man. City, Cardiff Win

Liverpool Beats Chelsea in Carling Cup
Liverpool players celebrate the goal scored by Maxi Rodriguez during the semifinals of English soccer’s Carling Cup at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge stadium in London. Photographer: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

Liverpool beat Chelsea 2-0 to reach the semifinals of English soccer’s Carling Cup, while a Sergio Aguero goal gave Manchester City a 1-0 victory against Arsenal.

Maxi Rodriguez and Martin Kelly scored yesterday for Liverpool as it won at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge stadium nine days after a victory in the Premier League there.

“Liverpool were superior all the way through,” Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas told Sky Sports. “They had a strong desire to kill the game off and we couldn’t match it.”

In yesterday’s other game, Cardiff City, which plays in the second-tier Championship, defeated the Premier League’s bottom club Blackburn 2-0. Manchester United hosts Crystal Palace today in the remaining quarterfinal tie.

Liverpool, the record seven-time champion, continued its bid for a first trophy since its F.A. Cup success in 2006 with a victory that increases the pressure on Villas-Boas.

The Reds should have taken a 22nd-minute lead when they were awarded a penalty kick as Chelsea center-back Alex handled the ball. Andy Carroll hit his effort straight at goalkeeper Ross Turnbull.

The first goal arrived after 58 minutes. Craig Bellamy crossed the ball for Maxi to tap-in from close range.

Bellamy was also involved in the second goal, with his free kick headed into the net by Kelly.

Kenny Dalglish has never lost in 13 meetings as Liverpool manager against Chelsea. The Scot returned as manager in January, 20 years after his previous spell in charge.

Chelsea’s Blues

Chelsea has lost three of its past four matches, is fifth in the Premier League and may need to win its final group match in Europe’s Champions League to advance in that competition.

Aguero’s 83rd-minute goal at the Emirates Stadium maintained Manchester City’s unbeaten domestic record this season.

There were few clear chances in north London, with both managers making changes from their regular lineups for the match in England’s second-tier cup competition.

City goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon turned away a Park Ju-Young shot and dived to tip away a long-range effort by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the first half.

City coach Roberto Mancini replaced Aleksandar Kolarov with Aguero only 32 minutes into the match.

It was Aguero who finally separated the teams, sliding the ball past goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski after Edin Dzeko srtared a breakaway from an Arsenal corner.

“For me and the lads who are playing in this competition, it’s a chance to try and get in the team week in, week out,” City’s Adam Johnson told Sky Sports. “And if we can get into the final and win another trophy, it’s important for the club.”

The win for City, which last won the competition in 1976, ends a 10-game unbeaten run for the Gunners.

Kenny Miller and Anthony Gerrard scored to take Cardiff into the semifinals for the first time since 1966, while extending Blackburn’s winless run to five matches.

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