Liverpool Vs. Manchester City, 2012 Carling Cup Semifinals: Craig Bellamy Sends Reds To Wembley

Liverpool entered Wednesday with a 1-0 aggregate lead in their Carling Cup semifinal thanks to their first leg win, but despite being at home, they were weary of the firepower on Manchester City's side. For all the firepower that the Citizens have though, it was the man who they let get away who made all the difference as a late Craig Bellamy goal gave Liverpool the 3-2 aggregate win to send the Reds onto Wembley for the first time in 16 years.

City were actually the first to strike, defying Liverpool's early dominance when Nigel de Jong hit a 30-yard rocket that beat Pepe Reina. With it being just his second goal in 118 appearances, de Jong was the most unexpected to score, but score he did to level things at 1-1 on aggregate and set the stage for a frantic final hour.

Just before halftime, the Reds were handed a gift. Phil Dowd whistled Micah Ricahrds for a handball that was very, very harsh. The Anfield faithful weren't going to complain though and neither would Steven Gerrard, who knocked home the penalty and the Reds were back on top, 2-1 on aggregate.

Manchester City would be further annoyed by Dowd when Charlie Adam took down Edin Dzeko in the box, only for the referee to wave off the Citizens' penalty appeals. Dzeko got his goal later on though when Alexander Kolarov got down the left and crossed beautifully for the Bosnian to tap in. There were just 23 minutes left, City were level and it looked like this one would be decided in extra time.

Then Bellamy stepped forward. The former City player who had been cast aside by Roberto Mancini made his mark against his former club 15 minutes from time thanks to a beautiful bit of play. Dirk Kuyt played the ball into the Welshman, who tapped it to Glen Johnson before getting it back and slotting the ball past Joe Hart. Anfield erupted and the plans for the trip south to Wembley were on.

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