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Sunday, 26 February 2012

Reds win dramatic final

Liverpool won 3-2 on penalties to see off Cardiff and win a thrilling Carling Cup final at Wembley.

Joe Mason put Cardiff ahead in the first half but the Premier League side were level when Martin Skrtel fired in.

Dirk Kuyt looked to have won the trophy in extra time when he slammed a low shot past goalkeeper Tom Heaton but Ben Turner stabbed in from a corner.

Steven Gerrard missed his spot-kick for Liverpool but the Reds won the trophy when his cousin Anthony shot wide.

Liverpool had not played at Wembley since the 1996 FA Cup final and, despite hitting the crossbar in the opening minutes through Glen Johnson, were deservedly behind at the break as Cardiff easily dealt with their limited attacks.

Kenny Dalglish's men improved after the break and equalised from a corner.

Andy Carroll won a header, Luis Suarez flicked it on to the post and Skrtel showed the reactions of a striker to deftly take control before shooting through Heaton's legs.

The game went to extra-time and substitute Kuyt scored when he stormed through the middle, saw his first effort blocked by Anthony Gerrard but collected the loose ball to shoot home at the near post.

However, the Championship side refused to lie down and forced penalties when defender Turner was on hand to bundle in from close range after a corner was not dealt with.

Heaton brilliantly saved from Steven Gerrard's first spot-kick but Kenny Miller then hit the post with his effort.

Charlie Adam fired over, before Don Cowie converted to put Cardiff ahead.

Kuyt slotted home and Rudy Gestede hit the post, before Stewart Downing and Peter Whittingham both scored.

Glen Johnson netted and Anthony Gerrard missed the final kick when he shot wide.

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