Manchester City and Everton became the first of the high profile casualties Tuesday, as they crashed out of the Capital One Cup, after suffering 4-2 and 2-1 losses to Aston Villa and Leeds United respectively.
A 27th minute opener from Mario Balotelli was canceled out by teammate Gareth Barry on 59 minutes after the England international turned into his own net. City responded with a 64th minute Aleksandar Kolarov strike, but were once again pegged back six minutes later through Gabby Agbonlahor.
And to the astonishment of spectators, the visitors managed to find the breakthrough six minutes into extra time through Frenchman Charles Nzogbia. Agbonlahor put the finishing touch on a remarkable night with a second goal seven minutes from time.
At Ellan Road, an Aidan White first half solo run culminated in a splendid first half goal, with Rodolph Austin doubling their lead with an elementary finish in the second half. Everton pulled one back with nine minutes to go from a Sylvain Distin header, but Leeds survived to claim a major scalp in the competition.
Meanwhile Chelsea maintained their impressive form with a 6-0 thrashing over Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Three first half goals from Gary Cahill, Ryan Bertrand and Juan Mata set the tone, with an Oriol Romeu penalty and strikes from Fernando Torres and Victor Moses capping off the rout.
Swansea left it late in their trip to Crawley with a 72nd minute strike from Danny Graham handing the Welsh side victory. Elsewhere, West Ham suffered a 4-1 home defeat to Wigan Athletic with Mauro Boselli shining for the guests with an impressive brace. Premier League sides Southampton and Sunderland also advanced, with 2-0 victories over Sheffield Wednesday and MK Dons respectively.
The newly dubbed Capital One League Cup (formerly known as the Carling Cup) fourth round kicked off Tuesday with no less than 10 fixtures to sink your teeth into. Chelsea and Manchester City were both in action, yet perplexingly Al-Jazeera opted for Leeds vs. Everton as their only televised match, which brings us to proceedings at Ellan Road.
Everton, who are playing some of the best football in the Premier League this season, with their effortless dismantling of Swansea last week testament to that, fielded a much changed side, though the inclusion of Marouan Fellaini, Distin, and Victor Anichebe added steel and bite to a largely second string outfit.
Leeds meanwhile who sit 12th in the Championship, sported an expected first 11, with the exception of Paddy Kenny who dropped out for Jamie Ashdown. And the hosts started the more purposeful of the two sides as their high octane pace was rewarded immediately with a fourth minute strike through full back White.
The tenacious defender took full advantage of a sloppy Steven Naismith layoff, charging at the heart of the Everton defense, which conveniently parted like the Red Sea to allow White to glide into the box and curl a silky effort past the deputizing Jan Mucha and into the top corner.
Everton’s lackluster showing was languishing incrementally, as the Toffees failed to make a mark in the entire first period. And just before halftime whistle, they nearly found themselves two goals down as an El-HadjI Diouf corner reached the head of Luciano Becchio, whose downward header was cleared off the line by John Heitinga.
David Moyes looked less than impressed with his side’s anemic display, and from the restart the changes were rung. Phil Neville and Steven Pienaar came on for Francisco Junior and Magaye Gueye who seemed overwhelmed by the first half action.
Everton continued to look rugged throughout, while Leeds were playing with fluidity and a sense of urgency. And with 25 minutes to go, Moyes played his final hand with the introduction of Nikica Jelavic, yet to the dismay of the Scotsman, his side proceeded to concede again a mere four minutes later. A pulled back Diouf free kick found Danny Pugh in acres of space, and his subsequent shot evaded the entire Everton backline with Austin ghosting into the box to turn in.
Content with their two goal lead, Leeds sat back in an attempt to preserve their advantage. But they were treated to a nervy final 10 minutes when Distin pegged one back. A floated in free kick was flicked on by Anichebe, with the Frenchman climbing high to steer his header over the outstretched Ashdown.
Four minutes on Everton nearly equalized through a Jelavic header which possessed an abundance of power yet was sadly lacking in the accuracy department with the Croat firing straight at Ashdown who collected comfortably.
Everton prodded and probed but ultimately left their surge a little too late, as Leeds held on for a memorable victory.
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