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Ki strikes late to send Sunderland in to last four
Full-time: Sunderland 2 Chelsea 1 (after extra-time)
IF Gus Poyet had been hoping for a change of luck then maybe, just maybe, last night was the dramatic night in the Capital One Cup when it finally turned in Sunderland's favour.
When skipper Lee Cattermole could only help Frank Lampard's attempts to turn in Cesar Azpilicueta's cross 38 seconds in to the second half, it had looked that once again it was going to be a hard luck story.
That went down as the sixth own goal of Poyet's 11 matches in charge and looked to have been enough to send Sunderland crashing out at the quarter-final stage.
But the introduction of this season's Wear-Tyne derby hero, Fabio Borini, changed all of that. The Italian, who struck the late winner against Newcastle in October, did it again to force Chelsea to extra-time.
And then Borini's fellow substitute Ki Sung-Yueng held his nerve to make the most of the space in front of him before coolly firing Sunderland in to the semi-finals of the League Cup for the first time since 1999 with penalties looming. Jose Mourinho's Chelsea, are out.
Once Borini had equalised Sunderland played some excellent football against Chelsea, who had £140m worth of talent to use from the bench, having lacked invention in the penalty box before that.
Just 13 days after losing to Chelsea in the Premier League, Poyet's pre-match wish to see the tormentor in chief that night, Eden Hazard, left out came true.
The Belgian was still among the substitutes for when Mourinho felt the need to introduce him and that was for the closing seven minutes – and extra-time.
And the early invention of Willian together with Andre Schurrle and Kevin De Bruyne's wing-play, however, soon faded even if it was always likely to be a tough night for the home side regardless of the line-up.
The full-backs tasked with looking after the Blues wide-men were Ondrej Celustka and Andrea Dossena. The latter being one of three changes to the side which drew at West Ham and he replaced Phil Bardsley.
Craig Gardner and Adam Johnson were the other two, with Ki Sung-Yueng, Borini and Phil Bardsley dropping to the bench. Striker Steven Fletcher was a notable absentee with a virus.
And Sunderland soon found some rhythm after Willian and Schurlle had shots comfortably held by goalkeeper Vito Mannone.
Emanuele Giaccherini looked particularly bright on the left, linking up play with striker Jozy Altidore. Mark Schwarzer, in the Chelsea goal, was never stretched until the second half though. While clear cut chances were few and far between, Giaccherini's forward thinking was instrumental in the half's only real controversy. The Italian's clever pass freed compatriot Dossena on the overlap and his cross clearly hit the arm of Azpilicueta in the penalty area five yards away.
With huge calls reverberating around the Stadium of Light from fans and Sunderland players for a spot-kick, referee Anthony Taylor waved play on. Sunderland had every right to feel aggrieved.
The wait went on for the opener and, despite flashes of good football from both teams, there was no breakthrough by the interval. Just weeks ago there had been three goals by that time in a 4-3 Chelsea win.
Mourinho might have made eight changes to the side which defeated Crystal Palace at the weekend, but he would have expected more from his players – and the second half saw immediate improvements.
Within 38 seconds of the restart, Azpilicueta darted down the right flank and played in a delightful delivery through Mannone's six yard box.
Lampard, as far forward as he had been all night, had timed his run perfectly to get a touch before Cattermole could only help the opening goal clearly over the line, despite Mannone's best efforts to keep it out, and was confirmed by the goalline technology active in the League Cup for the first time last night. Yet more bad luck for Poyet to rue.
After that Chelsea were in command. Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o rolled an effort inches wide after an awful pass from Gardner gifted him a chance, while Mannone had to be alert to turn De Bruyne's drive behind for a corner.
After that, just as Sunderland started to push on more, the game had to be interrupted when a lone fan charged across the pitch and it seemed to take an age for stewards to intervene.
When the bright orange and yellow coats eventually dragged him off the pitch, Sunderland had 25 minutes to find an equaliser from somewhere. Cattermole's rasping drive, held by Schwarzer, threatened to deliver just that.
But Sunderland still struggled to find a way through and, in truth, it was Chelsea who kept the ball and created the better chances until the closing stages.
Yet with Borini on for Johnson, the Italian delivered when it seemed unlikely. Giaccherini charged towards the Chelsea box after collecting Cattermole's pass.
He played in Altidore who was denied by Schwarzer. The ball fell kindly to Borini to power in the equaliser with two minutes remaining.
Even then Borini had another great chance to win it, but Blue shirts got back just in time before he could test Schwarzer and two more periods of football went ahead.
The Liverpool loan signing also miscued a back post volley in extra-time.
After that Sunderland looked hungry to progress and Michael Essien blocked an effort from Altidore and former Boro man Schwarzer made a brilliant one-handed save to deny Ki's diving header.
The home fans sensed a memorable cup triumph and when Ki rounded Essien and then Gary Cahill, after collecting Borini's pass, it duly arrived and Wearside went crazy.
Sunderland are a step closer to a first trip to the new Wembley.
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