Chelsea beat Liverpool to lift Carling Cup

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Chelsea defeated Liverpool 3-2 after extra time in the Carling Cup final on Sunday to give Jose Mourinho his first trophy in English football.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:50 IST
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Chelsea defeated Liverpool 3-2 after extra time in the Carling Cup final on Sunday to give Jose Mourinho his first trophy in English football. After conceding a goal just 43 seconds into the game, Chelsea grabbed a fortunate equaliser 11 minutes from the end of normal time through a headed own goal by Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard. The Chelsea manager was then ordered to leave the bench, however, after he was ejected over gestures made to the Liverpool fans following the equaliser. In a flurry of extra time goals, Didier Drogba and Mateja Kezman put Chelsea 3-1 up before Antonio Nunez replied for Liverpool - but it was too late for Rafael Benitez' men, as his opposite number was able to celebrate a happy end to a difficult week at the London club. Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho's seemingly unflappable self-confidence had been tested to its limit in the week leading up to Sunday's Carling Cup final against Liverpool - an FA Cup loss to Newcastle followed by a 2-1 reversal away at Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie. Liverpool, conversely, came into the final buoyed by a 3-1 victory over Bayer Leverkusen, and when John Arne Riise volleyed in after just 40 seconds on Sunday it seemed as though the fortunes of both sides were continuing in kind. Self goal But Mourinho is said to be a lucky manager, and a piece of considerably good fortune brought Chelsea back into the match in the 79th minute - Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard's header from Paulo Ferreira's free-kick looping into the net past a helpless Jerzy Dudek. It prompted gestures from Mourinho towards the Liverpool fans which saw him ejected from the bench and forced to watch the rest of the game on television. Extra-time ensued - Didier Drogba had already found the woodwork with a diving header before his luck changed early in the second period. The ball fell invitingly at the Ivorian striker's feet after Liverpool failed to deal with a long throw from Glen Johnson, and he scrambled it in. Five minutes later it was 3-1. After Jerzy Dudek punched away a Frank Lampard free kick from the left, Eidur Gudjohnsen drove the ball back in and Mateja Kezman forced the ball home. Despite Dudek's efforts, the ball was clearly over the line. Pulsating finish Antonio Nunez gave Liverpool a modicum of hope, heading in after Chelsea failed to clear a free kick to make it 3-2. But despite a pulsating final few minutes, it turned out to be too little too late, as Chelsea held on for victory. It meant a satisfying end to a troubled week for Mourinho's men - captain John Terry holding aloft the first trophy won by the London side and their Portuguese manager since Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich took over nearly two years ago. (AP)

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