League Cup Fourth Round
Wednesday 30 October 2013, 19.45 KO
City: Pantilimon, Richards (c) (Zabaleta 83), Boyata, Lescott, Kolarov, Rodwell (Silva 64), Garcia, Navas, Milner, Jovetic (Negredo 10), Dzeko
Unused: Hart, Demichelis, Nasri, Fernandinho
Goals: Negredo (99), Dzeko (105)
Booked: Garcia, Silva
Referee: Neil Swarbrick
Man of the Match: Costel Pantilimon
To say the League Cup tie at St James’ Park wasn’t the greatest game of the season would be an understatement, as many onlookers switched over to the National Paint Drying Championships on the other side before half time. In the end, it took until extra time for the Blues to secure their 100th win in this competition.
The first real talking point of the game saw Jovetic need to depart the action – the Montenegrin, who has had injury problems so far this season, was replaced by Negredo after just ten minutes. It looked like a calf problem.
It was the hosts who had the better of the opening exchanges, but they only had a lobbed effort from Cisse dropping wide to show for it. If the rumours of Pantilimon having a chance to impress his manager ahead of Saturday held any water, he was doing his cause no damage with a good save – pushing Ameobi’s volley around the post.
The second half saw an improvement from the visitors, but there was very little for the away fans to write home about. Richards headed over after the ball was knocked back into the middle at the second attempt, and then Navas nicked the ball ahead of Krul before finding Milner, but with the keeper off-limits, the midfielder couldn’t find the net from the corner of the box.
With ten minutes to play and extra time looming, Negredo almost put the Blues ahead: He waltzed through the Newcastle back line and waited for Krul to go down before trying to lift the ball over him into the net. He didn’t get enough on the dink and the goalkeeper forced it behind.
Pantilimon proved to be the hero again in the first half of extra time, as he blocked a one-on-one with Cisse after Ben Arfa had sent the Senegalese forward clean through. He stood up to make himself big and kept the scores level.
It allowed the Blues to kick on and ease themselves in front. A burst of pace from Dzeko allowed him to cross the ball low into the six-yard box, where Negredo had stolen a yard on his man. With one touch, he slid the ball through Krul and put the away side in front.
On the stroke of half time in extra time, the visitors made sure their fans would be facing the long trip home with smiles on their faces. With one of the best pieces of play of the evening, Silva slipped the ball through for Dzeko and he carried it around the on-rushing Krul to pass it into the net.
Milner had a shot deflected wide, before Silva weaved his way into the Newcastle box and flashed a shot just past the post, as the Blues tried to kill off the hosts once and for all. Lescott found himself in the right place at the right time to clear off the line behind his goalkeeper, as Ben Arfa volleyed past Pantilimon.
It took a bit longer than Pellegrini and the visiting fans would have wanted to get the job done, but the Blues were in the hat for the next round – with an away tie at Leicester City being the eventual fixture.