After The Match 


Tottenham-Liverpool 3-4 on pen. (1-1 aet)    Wed Dec 1.     Carling Cup
Goals: Pongolle (115) PENS: Henchoz, Partridge, Welsh, Pongolle
Defoe (108) PENS: Defoe, Carrick, Ziegler
Team: Dudek, Warnock, Henchoz, Whitbread, Raven, Potter, Biscan, Diao, Nunez, Mellor, Pongolle
Subs: Welsh (Mellor52), Smyth (Nunez 70), Partridge (Diao 111)
Not used: Kirkland, Foy
Yellow: Welsh (58)        Pamarot (38), Gardner (78)
Red: None
Referee: Neale Barry

                                               MATCH-REPORTS & RESULTS 
Shots on target: 9-6
Shots off target: 12-6
Fouls conceded: 13-15
Corners: 11-4
Yellow: 2-1





"...I am very proud
of the lads
and delighted
for the supporters."

                Rafael Benitez

0212: Florent wants more Cup action
0212: Jol fumes at Fredi
0112: Proud Rafa: Win was for the fans
0112: Rafa's Red rookies do it again


Florent wants more Cup action

ITV Football

Liverpool's Carling Cup hero Florent Sinama-Pongolle has urged manager Rafael Benitez to stick with the youngsters for next month's semi-final against Watford after the Reds' rookies sent Tottenham out.

Sinama-Pongolle kept his nerve to score a penalty four minutes from the end of extra-time to level Jermain Defoe's 108th-minute opener and then converted the decisive spot-kick in the shoot-out to send Liverpool into the last four.

Benitez had made nine changes for the game but hinted he might bring back the big guns for the two-legged clash with Watford, who dumped Southampton and Portsmouth out of the competition en route to the last four.

But Sinama-Pongolle, who would have preferred to draw Manchester United than Watford, given Sir Alex Ferguson's youthful approach to the competition, insisted Liverpool's youngsters can win the trophy.

The 20-year-old said: "He (Benitez) should stay with the young team, it's a good challenge.

"I like the challenge. It is positive for us because there are a lot of great players at Liverpool but in the Carling Cup we started with a young team so why not finish with a young team as well?

"There is a very good spirit. I have a really good relationship with everyone here, I am so happy. All the players have a good relationship with everybody and that is why I am so enjoying it.

"Watford in the semi-final is a hard, hard game. Probably if you play Manchester United (who face Chelsea) it may be easier.

"Watford are a good team as they proved against Portsmouth. We must concentrate, win two games and we are in the final.

"Why can't we win it? We saw in the game against Tottenham we work hard, put in a lot of effort and I think we can really do something positive."

Sinama-Pongolle's strikes were vital not only for Liverpool's Carling Cup cause, which Benitez has frequently insisted is bottom of his list of priorities, but for their Barclays Premiership and UEFA Champions League hopes too.

Liverpool have something of a crisis up front with Djibril Cisse recovering from a severely broken leg but Milan Baros still on the mend from a hamstring strain.

After Neil Mellor nailed the winner against Arsenal at the weekend, Sinama-Pongolle last night scored his first goal of the season to boost his own chances of a regular run in the first team.

Jol fumes at Fredi

By Paul Higham - Planet Football/Sky Sports

Martin Jol says that Fredi Kanoute's handball cost Tottenham the game against Liverpool.

Spurs were leading 1-0 in the second half of extra time when Kanoute stuck his arm up to handle the ball inside the box and give The Reds a penalty.

Florent Sinama-Pongolle duly dispatched the spot kick to send the game to penalties, where Kanoute compounded his misery by having his effort saved by Jerzy Dudek.

Jol was fuming at Mali marksman Kanoute, and could not understand why he handled the ball in such a manner.

"I cannot understand why Fredi did it," said Jol.

"It was very unfortunate and maybe unforgivable, but at every club you have someone like that.

"It is always the same when somebody does something like that, you think 'why has he done that?'

"It's a crazy thing to do and nobody can understand it.

"I hope he does not do it again. He made the decision to handle the ball and I saw him do it.

"I was hoping the referee had not seen it. It cost us."

Proud Rafa: Win was for the fans

By Mark Platt - LFC Official Website

Rafael Benitez hailed Liverpool's penalty shoot-out victory over Tottenham as a 'fantastic result' and dedicated the win the to travelling Liverpudlians who roared the Reds on at White Hart Lane.

Liverpool secured a place in the last four of the Carling Cup and a two-legged tie against Championship side Watford, courtesy of a thrilling penalty shoot-out that was won by Florent Sinama-Pongolle.

It was the icing on the cake of another proud night as the club's up and coming youngsters again proved they have what it takes to compete on the big stage.

"This is a fantastic result. I am very proud of the lads and delighted for the supporters," beamed Benitez afterwards.

"In the first half we didn't play well at all and I told the players if they wanted to have more opportunities of playing first team football this season then they had to try and win the game.

"We changed things tactically when we took Neil Mellor off and from then on we controlled the match.

"Even when Defoe scored I knew we would keep on fighting. The two penalties from Pongolle will do his confidence a lot of good. On Sunday it was Mellor who played well and scored and tonight it was Sinama. This is good for me as manager, because it gives me more possibilities in attack."

Looking ahead to the semi-final clash with Watford, Benitez, when asked if he'd keep faith with these players that have done him proud, added: "I don't know, we will have to see at the time.

"We have a lot of important games before then but if when the times comes around these players are still doing well then why not? But I don't need to make that decision now."

Rafa's Red rookies do it again

By Mark Platt - LFC Official Website

Liverpool's remarkable progress in this season's Carling Cup continues after an inexperienced Reds squad performed heroically to defeat Tottenham on penalties in the quarter-final at White Hart Lane.

On another proud night for the club, the Reds' up and coming youngsters performed admirably to book a place in the last four of the competition.

Florent Sinama-Pongolle scored the decisive penalty in the shoot-out but every player was a hero as Rafa's red rookies defied the odds again.

Despite starting slowly they grew in stature as the game progressed fully deserved this victory.

Even though a place in the final of this competition was tantalising close Rafael Benitez opted to field a virtual second-string side, handing a senior debut to 19-year old full-back David Raven and also including fellow youngsters Stephen Warnock, Zak Whitbread and Darren Potter in the starting eleven.

There was also a first start for Antonio Nunez and recalls for Jerzy Dudek, who captained the side, Stephane Henchoz, Igor Biscan and Salif Diao.

In contrast, Spurs were almost at full strength and it was they who started the game brighter in front of a capacity crowd at White Hart Lane.

After just five minutes Liverpool were given a scare when Freddie Kanoute turned Zak Whitbread inside the area and hit the bar with a well-struck shot.

The home side continued to enjoy the majority of possession and Rohan Ricketts spurned a glorious opportunity when he headed wide from close-range on 19 minutes.

Dudek was the busier of the two keepers and he twice kept Martin Jol's men at bay with impressive saves as the half wore on.

Liverpool's inexperience during the first period was evident, although debutant Raven was an impressive performer who did not look out of his depth at this level.

The attacking partnership of Neil Mellor and Florent Sinama-Pongolle failed to trouble Paul Robinson in the Tottenham goal and early in the second half Mellor was replaced by reserve captain John Welsh.

Spurs remained in the ascendancy and Robbie Keane missed an open goal after a mistake by Dudek but the big Pole quickly made amends when denying the same player with stunning fingertip save.

After 69 minutes Benitez handed another graduate from the club's Academy a senior debut when he sent on pacy attacker Mark Smyth to replace Nunez.

An England youth international, Smyth got involved immediately and went close to breaking the deadlock just moments after entering the fray with a low drive that forced Robinson into a low save.

The Reds were certainly looking livelier as the game entered its closing stages and Tottenham defender Anthony Gardner was lucky not be sent off when he stopped Pongolle in his tracks as the French strike attempted to run clear through on goal.

Welsh then tried his luck with a shot from distance that sailed narrowly over the bar and Liverpool, roared on by a vociferous contingent of 2,800 freezing Liverpudlians, had a vastly experienced Tottenham on the rack.

Spurs will have been relieved to heard the full-time whistle but with the bit between their teeth the Reds started extra-time as they'd finished the 90 minutes and Welsh had the travelling fans on their feet with a right-footed curler that was just inches wide.

If anyone deserved a goal at this stage it was Liverpool but it was Spurs who finally broke the deadlock through Defoe, 12 minutes from time. Kanoute crossed low and Defoe converted from close-range.

It was a cruel blow and the Benitez Babes looked to heading for a heartbreaking exit from the Carling Cup. However, this epic tie was not over and with just five minutes remaining Pongolle scored from the spot and force a penalty shoot-out.

Defoe, Henchoz, Carrick and Partridge all netted before the pendulum swung Liverpool's way when Dudek saved from Kanoute. Unfortunately, Potter then hit a post but Brown blazed over the bar. Welsh put the Reds ahead for the first time and although Ziegler equalised, Pongolle secured an unforgettable triumph by converting his second penalty of the night.

With a place in the Cardiff final now just two games away this set of players seem determined to go all the way and who would bet against them.

What a night!

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Thor Zakariassen