Cardiff manager Makly Mackay shouts instructions during the npower Championship match between Cardiff City and Middlesbrough at The City of Cardiff Stadium in Cardiff, United Kingdom. (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)
The Carling Cup semifinals features one tie between two Championship clubs and another between two Premier League giants.
The Carling Cup draw has gifted most of the public exactly what they want to see, which is the potential for a "romance of the cup" moment. Cardiff City and Crystal Palace contest one semifinal, meaning that one League Championship club will play in the final at Wembley Stadium. The other half of the draw features a glamour tie, with Liverpool taking on Manchester City. Regardless of the outcome of the two semifinals, the final will feature a Championship club with a chance to slay a giant.
Cardiff and Palace are separated by less than ten points, but by eight places in the table. At present, Cardiff looks like a contender for promotion and a near lock for the playoffs, while Palace have an outside chance at the top six. Unfortunately, they will likely struggle in the first match of this tie, as the club has been hit by a virus. Julian Speroni, Paddy McCarthy, Anthony Gardner, Nathaniel Clyne,Mile Jedinak and Sean Scannell are all ill.
Liverpool and City both value the league more than the Carling Cup, but both are likely to play their best teams in mid-week. Partially because injuries and suspensions have given the managers little to choose from, and partially because they are not playing top competition in the league at the weekend.
Carling Cup Semifinals, First Legs
Crystal Palace vs. Cardiff City - Tuesday, 3:00 p.m. ET.
Manchester City vs. Liverpool - Wednesday, 2:45 p.m. ET
TV: FOX Soccer Plus (USA), Sportsnet World (Canada), Sky Sports 1 (UK)