Wednesday evening's League Cup semi-final second leg carried huge significance for both Manchester Utd and Sunderland. David Moyes' beleaguered Red Devils needed a win to get their season back on track, while relegation-threatened Sunderland and their 9,000 traveling fans at Old Trafford were desperate to maintain their first leg lead and book their a place in a major cup final for the first time in 22 years.
It was Sunderland who prospered in the end, but not before 120 minutes of action and one of the most hilariously bad penalty shootouts you are ever likely to see.
Man Utd narrowly deserved a first-half lead from the head of Jonny Evans:
But the visitors enjoyed plenty of possession after the break and headed into extra time knowing that their hosts would go through on away goals if they didn't find the net.
With Utd just one minute away from securing their place in the first ever all-Mancunian major final, former Red Devils defender Phil Bardsley shot the ball straight at David De Gea, who let it trickle into his own net as if he had been watching old videos of Tim Flowers:
Clearly, David Moyes was not impressed:
Just seconds later, however, Javier Hernandez scored with virtually the last kick of the game, atoning for a terrible miss earlier in extra time and putting the aggregate score at 3-3.
Then, penalties happened:
As you can see, the first three were all missed, Adnan Januzaj had a pathetically soft attempt saved and Sunderland eventually went through when Rafael missed Utd's fifth attempt. After ten penalties, the shoot-out score was 2-1. And in news that will comfort England fans ahead of the World Cup, all the English players missed.
It was, unequivocally, one of the worst penalty shootouts you are ever likely to see from two professional teams, but Sunderland thoroughly deserved the win.
Some Manchester Utd fans might suggest that it was better to lose at this stage than be mauled by awaiting finalist Manchester City, but that probably won't help Mr Moyes sleep tonight.
Sunderland, meanwhile, will be the second consecutive relegation-threatened side to contest a Wembley final against Manchester City after Wigan's FA Cup triumph last year. The Black Cats will be hoping for a repeat result — in the cup final, that is, not the relegation battle.
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