The Reds were crying out for an outlet as Chelsea continued to crank up the pressure but with Mata curling a free-kick over the bar and Lindegaard parrying a fierce Oscar effort, it seemed Sir Alex’s men would secure safe passage into the fifth round of the Capital One Cup. In fact, that fate was just seconds away when Wootton careered into Ramires. This time, Mason had no option and the inevitable penalty was rolled coolly down the middle by Eden Hazard with Lindegaard going to his left. As the Chelsea fans toasted their injury-time rescue, the referee blew for full time.
Sturridge had two chances to put the hosts in front in extra time before he actually did while Rafael’s effort in between was held by Cech. When the Chelsea forward’s decisive strike finally came, it was teed up - agonisingly from a United point of view – by Wootton’s header back towards Lindegaard falling short. Sturridge collected and carefully took the ball around the United keeper before calmly making it 4-3 to Di Matteo’s men.
Wootton’s woes might have been compounded by Keane pulling down Sturridge just before half-time in extra-time, but Mason showed mercy and presented a yellow card rather than a red to United’s other young centre-back. Luiz smashed the free-kick against the bar and although it struck Lindegaard’s back on the way down, the Reds remained in the game. The same was true when the Danish keeper’s left leg stopped Moses from claiming a goal he probably deserved for his endeavours.
Lindegaard was beaten for a fifth time when Hazard opened up the defence with some dazzling skills and played in Ramires to round the Dane and leave him standing. That goal ultimately proved decisive, with Giggs’ late penalty reducing arrears to 5-4 after Chicharito was fouled by Aspilicueta. The Reds are out but can’t be too down after winning the more important, previous meeting in the league and pushing Chelsea all the