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Sky Sports picks out ten of the most memorable League Cup final incidents ahead of the clash between Cardiff and Liverpool
Excitement is building in the Welsh capital and on Merseyside ahead of what promises to be a thrilling Carling Cup final at Wembley on Sunday.
While Kenny Dalglish's Reds may be firm favourites to lift the trophy, Cardiff are sure to provide spirited opposition and history has taught us not to take the result of any showpiece occasion for granted.
There have been plenty of shocks in the final down the years, as well as other magic moments that will live long in the memory.
Here, Sky Sports takes a look back and recalls some of the most unforgettable incidents to have graced the League Cup final.
Arsenal anguish - 2011
If Liverpool need an example of what could go wrong for the strong favourites in a final, they only need to go back 12 months to see what happened to Arsenal. The Gunners were expected to see off the challenge of Birmingham fairly easily, with their rivals going through a disappointing Premier League campaign that would ultimately result in relegation. This was seen as the perfect opportunity for Arsene Wenger to finally bring an end to what was at the time a six-year trophy drought and, after Robin van Persie had cancelled Nikola Zigic's opener, the odds were they would go on to win the game. However, a comical defensive mix-up just before the full-time whistle allowed Obafemi Martins to grab the glory for Birmingham and Arsenal's season completely unravelled from that point on.
Inspired Owls - 1991
Cardiff can take inspiration from finals such as the one in 1991 when Sheffield Wednesday snatched a dramatic 1-0 win over Manchester United in the Rumbelows Cup. The Red Devils were expected to stroll to victory against a team competing in the second tier, but the Owls produced a wonderful performance to make it one of the most special days in their history. John Sheridan was the match-winner for Wednesday with a stunning half-volley that flew past Les Sealey and went in off the post, but it was a real team effort as United's highly-rated attackers were repelled by some heroic defending. It was also a great occasion for Wednesday manager Ron Atkinson, who had been replaced by Sir Alex Ferguson in the United dugout five years earlier and would go on to lead the Yorkshire side to promotion that same season.
Hats off to Luton - 1988
With 10 minutes remaining in the 1988 League Cup final, Luton Town appeared to be teetering on the edge of defeat. Despite taking a 13th minute lead against Arsenal, through Brian Stein, the Hatters found themselves on the wrong end of a 2-1 scoreline with time fast running out. However, once Andy Dibble had beaten away a Nigel Winterburn penalty to keep them within touching distance of the Gunners, a remarkable turnaround was put in motion. Danny Wilson proceeded to level matters with eight minutes left on the clock and, with extra-time looming, Stein sent the travelling Luton contingent into delirium with a last-gasp winner. The reigning top-flight champions had no time in which to rescue the game, ensuring the cup headed to Kenilworth Road for the only time in Luton's chequered history.
Robins stun Gunners - 1969
Arsenal have enjoyed their fair share of highs in the League Cup, but this was another low moment as they were humbled 3-1 by Third Division club Swindon in 1969. The Gunners were a top-flight outfit at the time and were expected to make light work of their lowly cup final opponents. That script went out of the window, though, as two goals in extra-time from Don Rogers saw the Robins steal the headlines in true David versus Goliath fashion.
Glory days - 1986
A quick glance through the League Cup roll of honour shows that, unsurprisingly, the big boys have dominated over the years. However, rather refreshingly, the competition has been known to open its door to less familiar faces on occasion. Take 1986 for example, as Oxford United overcame Queens Park Rangers to claim the only major trophy in their history. The Us have only recently returned to the Football League following a dramatic fall from grace but at the time of their League Cup success they could boast the likes of John Aldridge and Ray Houghton among their ranks.
Good things come to those who wait - 2004
Always the bridesmaid, never the bride. That just about summed up Middlesbrough's existence prior to the 2004 League Cup final. A club that had been founded in 1876 had toiled in their pursuit of silverware to no avail for 128 years until they rolled up at the Millennium Stadium to face Bolton. Two previous League Cup finals had brought nothing but heartache, while solitary showings in the FA Cup final and ZDS Cup final during the 90s had also seen Boro take second place in a two-horse race. The 29th February 2004 was to be their day, though, with Joseph Desire Job getting them off to the perfect start inside two minutes against the Trotters. Steve McClaren's men were in dreamland five minutes later when Boudewijn Zenden doubled their lead and even an uncharacteristic mistake from Mark Schwarzer, which allowed Kevin Davies to pull one back before the break, could not deny them their long-awaited moment of glory.
Adams drops a clanger - 1993
Pity poor Steve Morrow who, after helping Arsenal to a 2-1 victory over Sheffield Wednesday in 1993, suddenly found himself bundled into the back of an ambulance moments after the final whistle. Having scored what proved to be the match-winner, after the Gunners had recovered from going a goal down early on, the midfielder had his moment in the sun cut short by an act of over-exuberance from his captain Tony Adams. The England international, overcome with emotion, attempted to hoist Morrow onto his shoulders and parade him in front of his adoring public. What actually happened was Adams flung his unsuspecting team-mate head first into the turf, breaking his arm in the process. As a result, Morrow missed out on the opportunity to climb the famous steps and collect his well-deserved medal. He does, however, go down in football folklore as being the only man to have been awarded a medal before a cup final, after belatedly receiving his gong ahead of the FA Cup showpiece - which saw Arsenal face Wednesday again - a month later.
Fitting gesture - 1983
There are only a few managers who can rightfully lay claim to the title of 'legend', and Bob Paisley is one of them. A glittering 44-year career with Liverpool, as a player, coach and manager, saw him play an integral role in the revolution which saw the Reds establish domestic dominance and become conquerors of Europe on an almost annual basis. While he will forever be remembered around Anfield for all he achieved on the touchlines, it perhaps goes largely unnoticed that he was once afforded the honour of lifting a major trophy. In 1983, the year of his retirement, Liverpool took the League Cup with a dramatic 2-1 victory over Manchester United at Wembley. Graeme Souness was captain of the Merseyside outfit that day, but he relinquished his right as skipper to go and collect the trophy by insisting that his manager fulfil that duty - which he duly did.
Handbags at dawn - 2007
The 2007 meeting between Arsenal and Chelsea, the last final to be held in Cardiff, descended into a right old Cockney knees-up after all hell broke loose between the capital rivals. The game itself, a 2-1 win for the Blues, was largely forgettable, with the only moment worthy of note seeing Theo Walcott grab his first goal for the Gunners. There would be plenty of talking points, though, with a freak injury to John Terry setting the scene for what was to follow. The inevitable jostling which accompanies the taking of a corner saw the England skipper come into contact with Abou Diaby, before finding his face skewered on the end of the Arsenal's man boot. Terry was rushed to hospital after being knocked unconscious by the unintentional coming together and would miss out on the opportunity to later lift the trophy. He also missed one of the most comical on-field scuffles of all time, as Emmanuel Adebayor, Kolo Toure and John Obi Mikel all saw red after indulging in an impromptu bout of happy-slapping deep into second-half injury-time. Needless to say a number of others decided to get involved in the fracas, despite it having little to do with them, and the game would eventually come to an end with 103 minutes on the clock.
Back at Wembley - 2008
The first League Cup final to be played at the new Wembley Stadium, holders Chelsea's clash with Tottenham was a thrilling encounter. Spurs secured their first piece of silverware in nine years, with Jonathan Woodgate finding the winning goal in extra-time. The Blues looked on course to retain the trophy 37 minutes in when Didier Drogba found the back of the net with a well-placed free-kick. But Tottenham put themselves firmly back in the game in the second half when Dimitar Berbatov converted from the spot following a Wayne Bridge handball. Woodgate needed just three minutes of extra-time to find the winner for Spurs, denying their London rivals a second successive trophy.
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