Manchester City were unceremoniously dumped out of the League Cup by third-tier outfit Brighton & Hove Albion.
City embarrassed by lowly Brighton
LONDON // Manchester City were unceremoniously dumped out of the League Cup by third-tier outfit Brighton & Hove Albion last night, a day after the newly enriched English Premier League outfit was bought by a group from Abu Dhabi. Chelsea cruised into the fourth round with an emphatic 4-0 win at Portsmouth, while Tottenham began the defence of their title with a 2-1 victory away at Newcastle in a meeting of the Premier League's crisis clubs. Championship side QPR pulled off one of the biggest shocks of the night when they beat five-time champions Aston Villa 1-0 after Damion Stewart planted a 58th-minute header past the USA international goalkeeper Brad Guzan. Everton, semi-finalists last season, went down 1-0 at Blackburn and Wigan won 4-1 at Ipswich.
Man City rested Brazilian forward Robinho in one of five changes after Sunday's 6-0 trouncing of Portsmouth, but it backfired as the team squandered an opportunity to win their first major trophy in 32 years. The Brighton goalkeeper Michel Kuipers saved City's fourth penalty taken by Michael Ball as his League One team took the shoot-out 5-3 after it was 2-2 following extra time in the only second-round match. "We can't dwell on this too long," the City manager Mark Hughes said. "The game should have been ours and of course there is a lot of focus on us now but there will be ups and downs for the foreseeable future." The City midfielder Gelson Fernandes looked to have got the Eastlands club's winner when he turned Jo's pass home in the 64th minute, but Glenn Murray equalised a minute from time after second-choice goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel spilt Steve Thomson's shot. Brighton went ahead five minutes into extra time through Joe Anyinsah, only for Stephen Ireland to give City a lifeline in the 108th minute by forcing a shoot-out. Brighton will prepare to play Derby, while the team 52 places above it in the English standings will rue a chance to repeat its 1976 glory. It was a miserable night for the Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp, whose FA Cup-winning side have now conceded 10 goals in two matches. The England midfielder Frank Lampard put Chelsea ahead at Fratton Park from the penalty spot in the 36th minute after Michael Ballack was brought down by Nadir Belhadj. Salomon Kalou fed Florent Malouda to double the tally on the stroke of half-time, and then provided Lampard's second four minutes after the restart before getting a goal of his own to complete the 4-0 victory.
The Chelsea striker Didier Drogba started a game for the first time since May's Champions League final defeat to Manchester United and nearly opened the scoring as early as the third minute when he shot just wide of goalkeeper David James in the Pompey goal. St James' Park was less than half full as Newcastle lost their third straight match since manager Kevin Keegan quit last month to plunge the club into further turmoil.
A torrid first half between the sides occupying the bottom two league spots saw the Tottenham defender Jonathan Woodgate come close to scoring against his former club twice. He then rescued Spurs after the break by hooking wide one shot from Damien Duff and blocking another from Michael Owen. Roman Pavlyuchenko scored his first goal since moving to Spurs last month, soaring to head Aaron Lennon's cross past goalkeeper Shay Given in the 62nd minute.
Woodgate blocked Geremi's free-kick before Jamie O'Hara put Spurs 2-0 up in the 66th minute. O'Hara intercepted Fabricio Coloccini's pass across the defence before Steven Taylor could clear and scored on the eve of his 22nd birthday. Michael Owen pulled one backed for the beleaguered Magpies just before the full-time whistle was blown. Jeers from the beleaguered Magpies fans rang out around the ground at the final whistle, which is unlikely to impress possible investors with owner Mike Ashley having responded to fan protests by putting the club up for sale. The former England striker Robbie Fowler made an immediate impact on his Blackburn debut, playing a one-two with Martin Olsson, who fired past goalkeeper Tim Howard with just 10 minutes played.
The 33-year-old Fowler is on a three-month, performance-related deal after leaving Cardiff. Wigan breezed past Ipswich, regaining control after Lee Cattermole's 52nd-minute goal was cancelled out by Jonathan Walters' volley nine minutes later. Olivier Kapo took just three minutes to restore Wigan's advantage, with Paul Scharner (70) and substitute Henri Camara (90) completing a 4-1 victory.
Second round Brighton 2 Manchester City 2 (Brighton win 5-3 on penalties) Third round Aston Villa 0 Queens Park Rangers 1 Ipswich Town 1 Wigan Athletic 4 Newcastle United 1 Tottenham Hotspur 2 Portsmouth 0 Chelsea 4 Blackburn Rovers 1 Everton 0