KI SUNG-YEUNG’S dramatic extra-time winner sent Sunderland through to their first League Cup semi-final since 1999 after a thrilling comeback against Chelsea.
Sunderland looked like they were heading out of the Capital One Cup at the Stadium of Light after a Lee Cattermole own goal had Chelsea coasting towards the last four.
But with two minutes to go of normal time, substitute Fabio Borini levelled for the Black Cats and Gus Poyet’s side were suddenly rejuvenated.
As extra-time wore on, Sunderland looked like the more likely winners and after Ki had been denied by a brilliant tip over from Mark Schwarzer, the South Korean fired inside the near post with just 90 seconds remaining.
Gus Poyet made three changes from the side which drew at West Ham, with Andrea Dossena replacing Phil Bardsley at left-back, Craig Gardner coming in for Ki Sung-Yeung in midfield and Adam Johnson taking Fabio Borini’s spot out wide.
Opposite number Jose Mourinho introduced eight fresh faces after Saturday’s win at Crystal Palace.
In came Mark Schwarzer, Gary Cahill, Ashley Cole, John Obi Mikel, Frank Lampard, Kevin De Bruyne, Samuel Eto’o and Andre Schurrle.
Both teams were happy to keep possession in the early stages, without causing a genuine threat in either penalty area.
Both Andre Schurrle and Willian tried their luck from just outside the area with low, skidding shots, but they were comfortable fare for Vito Mannone.
Sunderland made strong appeals for a penalty in the 32nd minute when Andrea Dossena overlapped Emanuele Giaccherini down the left and saw his cross blocked by the elbow of Cesar Azpilicueta, but referee Anthony Taylor was unmoved.
Three minutes later, Willian went close at the other end after Wes Brown’s pass to Dossena was intercepted by the Brazilian.
Willian fed Schurrle inside the area before the ball came back out to him, 20 yards out, to the right of goal and he let fly with a low grasscutter across the face which drifted inches wide of the far post.
HALF-TIME Sunderland 0 Chelsea 0
Just 38 seconds into the second half, Chelsea broke the deadlock when Azpilicueta was allowed to bomb forward untracked down the right and he was picked out by Schurrle’s ball.
Azpilicueta crossed low into the area and the ball was bundled in off a combination of Frank Lampard and Lee Cattermole.
There was a slight delay as referee Anthony Taylor waited to see whether the ball had crossed the line, but the Hawk-Eye system showed it clearly had.
Samuel Eto’o should have doubled Chelsea’s lead in the 52nd minute after an awful pass from Craig Gardner towards Cattermole went straight to the Cameroon frontman on the edge of the area.
Eto’o had time to pick his spot, but dragged his right-footed shot a yard wide of the post.
Moments later, Eto’o let fly again, but his shot deflected off the outstretched boot of John O’Shea and onto the roof of the net.
Mannone kept Sunderland in contention in the 56th minute when Seb Larsson was caught in possession by Lampard and the England midfielder fed Kevin De Bruyne down the right-hand side of the area.
De Bruyne unleashed a right-footed shot across the face which was tipped around the post by Mannone.
Lampard then shot marginally over the top from the edge of the area after being teed up by Eto’o.
Cattermole tried his luck from 25 yards in the 69th minute with a shot that was well-hit, but was straight at Mark Schwarzer.
In the 78th minute, Schurrle went past two Sunderland players on the edge of the area before curling a right-footed shot which was palmed away by Mannone.
Three minutes later, David Luiz punted the ball forwards from a free-kick on halfway and it was met on the volley by substitute Demba Ba, whose effort across goal bounced wide of the far post.
But out of nothing, Sunderland grabbed a dramatic late equaliser with two minutes to go.
Giaccherini picked the ball up just outside the centre circle and fed Jozy Altidore in behind the Chelsea back-line.
Altidore tried to round Schwarzer, but the keeper managed to get an arm to it to poke it out of the path of the striker.
But the ball went straight to Fabio Borini down the right-hand side of the six-yard box, who slotted it into the net.
Borini should have added a second moments later when he collected Giaccherini’s through-ball, but took one too many touches which allowed Gary Cahill the chance to get back and intercept.
FULL-TIME Sunderland 1 Chelsea 1
Mannone denied Luiz in the fourth minute of extra time when he pawed away the defender’s cushioned volley to Lampard’s corner.
Borini had another opportunity in the 99th minute when Giaccherini fed Dossena down the left-hand side of the area after a mazy run.
Dossena’s cross went past Ashley Cole at the far post, but Borini couldn’t generate any power on his half-volley and it skidded harmlessly wide.
HALF-TIME EXTRA-TIME Sunderland 1 Chelsea 1
De Bruyne tried his luck from the edge of the area in the 110th minute, but scuffed his right-footed shot a yard wide of the post.
Moments later, Altidore was denied from Essien in the Chelsea goalmouth after steering Ki Sung-Yeung’s half-volley goalwards.
Chelsea instantly went close at the other end when Ba back-heeled Willian’s cross from the right inches wide of the near post.
In the 114th minute, Schwarzer produced a brilliant tip over the top to keep out Ki’s header from Seb Larsson’s cross from the right.
But the on-loan Swansea midfielder was to have the final say with 90 seconds remaining of extra-time.
Ondrej Celustka crossed from the right, Borini took it down with his back to goal, eight yards out and fed Ki, who jinked inside and fired the ball inside the near post.
FULL-TIME EXTRA-TIME Sunderland 2 Chelsea 1
SUNDERLAND: Mannone, Celustka, O’Shea, Brown, Dossena, Cattermole, Larsson, Gardner (Ki 63), Johnson (Borini 74), Giaccherini (Bardsley 119), Altidore. Subs not used: Cabral, Roberge, Borini, Mavrias, Dixon. Booked: Dossena (28), Ki (119)
CHELSEA: Schwarzer, Azpilicueta (Essien 70), Cahill, D Luiz, Cole, Mikel, Lampard, De Bruyne, Willian, Schurrle (Hazard 83), Eto’o (Ba 74). Subs not used: Blackman, Terry, Oscar, Torres. Booked: Luiz (25), Essien (110)