Aston Villa have tonight ensured their passage to the 2010 Carling Cup final by defeating Blackburn by a thrilling 6 goals to 4 at Villa Park.
The Birmingham based side won through 7-4 on aggregate after taking a 1-0 scoreline into this match following James Milner’s winner in the first leg at Ewood Park.
Blackburn, however, within 25 minutes had turned around their deficit, after their big centre forward Kalinic scored twice.
Stephen Warnock pulled one back from an Ashley Young cross, the ball fell to him from what looked like a push from Agbonlahor.
Agbonlahor would be in the thick of it again after he was brought down in the area by Samba for a clear cut penalty when he was clean through. He looked odds on to score so it was no surprise when the penalty decision was followed with a red card for the Blackburn defender. James Milner smashed the penalty right into the side of Paul Robinson’s net to level the scores on the night and take the aggregate lead.
With ten men, in the second half, Blackburn struggled early on. Soon they were further behind as James Milner hit a fine shot into the bottom left corner from the angle of the area. On closer inspection the ball brushed Agbonlahor on the way through, and the centre forward may claim the goal. The move was the result of great work from Heskey, who linked well with man-of-the-match Milner.
Heskey had worked hard and linked up as well – as ever – so it was just reward for the player when he was played in by Milner for a one-on-0ne with Paul Robinson – who had produced some fine saves in this half. Heskey cooly rounded the Blackburn stopper and slotted home left-footed while falling over. 5-2 (6-2 on aggregate). All over. Or was it?
Blackburn then produced a comeback of sorts. Within minutes Martin Olsson scored an overhead volley which nestled right in the bottom corner with twenty minutes remaining. Brett Emerton would give the visiting fans hope by scoring with a volley of his own to take it to 5-4 on the night.
Ashley Young sealed the victory, however, with a well placed curling right footed shot after he dribbled from the half way line, up the left flank, while Blackburn were hunting an unlikely equaliser.
Blackburn will feel aggrieved that a first half that they seemed to dominate ended with them 2-2 and on ten men, their manager, Sam Allardyce, indicating that, in his view, responsibility lay with the referee for missing what he felt was a foul on his central defender for the opening Villa goal.
However, the end result will stay the same: Aston Villa head to Wembley to contest the Carling Cup Final 2010.