It’s an all-Championship affair tonight in the Carling Cup semi-final second leg at Selhurst Park.
Or wait til full-time and we’ll see you in the chip shop.
Full-time: Cardiff 1 Crystal Palace 0 (1-1 on agg, aet; Cardiff win on penalties)
19.43 – We’re 90 minutes from Wembley, we’re in the last four in the race for the first trophy of the English season, the stadium is rocking… but you know you’re off Broadway when Steve Claridge is drafted into the BBC studio.
The former Leicester man is a Championship expert of course, and no better man on a night when Crystal Palace come to the Cadriff City Stadium with a single goal lead from the first leg in London.
The players are about to be led on to the pitch by some British military representatives while the likes of Joe Calzaghe sits high in the stands. Let’s get ready to rumble….
19.49 – And we’re off… here’s your teams… including two Irish skippers:
Cardiff: Heaton, Blake, Gerrard, Turner, Taylor, Cowie, Whittingham, Gunnarsson, McPhail, Conway, Miller. Subs: Marshall, McNaughton, Kiss, Earnshaw, Gestede, Mason, Ralls.
Crystal Palace: Speroni, Parr, McCarthy, Gardner, Clyne, Ambrose, Dikgacoi, Jedinak, Zaha, Murray, Martin. Subs: Price, Wright, Garvan, Scannell, Easter, McShane, Andrew.
Referee: Howard Webb (S Yorkshire)
20.13 – There’s absolutely nothing happening. That’s my analysis.
Martin Keown, who’s in the co-commentary position is pinning the blame of Cardiff’s goal on the goalkeeper – not the big centre half who nodded it in.
“Anthony Gardner is the fall guy, but it was a really whipped-in ball. Maybe the goalkeeper Julian Speroni should have communicated a bit better at the near post. A fantastic start, just what you wanted if you’re a Cardiff player.”
20.21 – We’ve just had a lingering 30-second shot of Stuart Pearse and Chris Coleman seated next to each other in the stands. It looks like the final shot of in an Episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm or something with both sat with arms folded and staring straight ahead. I’m not sure who insulted who.
On the pitch? Not much happening still, Jeff. Cardiff are pressing well and Palace look rushed in everything they do as a result. Half an hour on the clock now.
20.37 – OOOOF! It doesn’t seem to be Miller’s night… so far. The former Celtic man collected the ball with his back to goal, about eight yards out maybe. He swiveled delicately and got a shot away quickly but it came back off the base of the near post.
As I type, Howard Webb toots his whistle and the teams go in for their cup of tea, level on aggregate.
20.54 – And we’re up and running… 45 minutes to Wembley!*
*(Possibly 45 minutes plus extra time and penalties to Wembley)
21.09 – Off the line! Paddy McCarthy gets it away under pressure after the ball is nodded across the face of the yawning goal. Kenny Miller should have been there to tap that in, Keown says.
I agree with Martin.
21.54 – We’ve just endured a penalty box scramble, the like of which I’m familiar from playing six-a-side football. And Jonathon Pearse’s machine-gun commentary as the ball fizzed about in front of the posts was not unlike my internal monologue as I’m desperately chasing the ball up and down the astroturf like a dopey terrier after a plastic bag in the wind.
Ultimately, Cardiff wasted the chance. Again.
22.04 – We’re about to change sides during half-time in extra-time here, and it’s Cardiff who will rue missed chances again. Taylor swept two shots in quick succession towards goal which were blocked and when the ball broke to Gestede he drove it over.
Usually, I thought, teams just swap sides at this stage but Freedman has brought his 10 remaining players and the subs down in front of the travelling fans to offer his last words of advice tonight.
Belt yourself in for the last 15 minutes.
22.12 – Cardiff hit the crossbar! The ball is laid down for Kiss to hit and he obliges with a sweetly-struck half-volley which hops off the top of the bar.
Ten minutes left; file this under statement-of-the-obvious but Cardiff will regret all these missed chances if Palace nick it on spotters.
22.18 – Anthony Gardner is breathing a deep sigh of relief. The man who scored the winner in London and the aggregate equaliser into his own net in the first half tonight, almost turned the ball into his own net again.
Full back Taylor clipped the ball back to Whittingham from the byline, he stabbed at it and it took a ‘wicked deflection’ off the former Spurs man, but went wide.
About two minutes left, boys and girls.
22.26 – Action81 tweet us: “The booming music (before Hey Jude) was Welshman Will Not Yield, which was famously used in the movie Zulu.”
Here it is, good film:
YouTube credit: jeechs
So, what odds Paul McShane will kick the winning peno?
22.35 – Gary Lineker signs off quickly because he knows Paxman is waiting to go on. That’s good enough for me too.
Thanks for your company in what was a dramatic night of cup action. We’ll do it all again tomorrow night – when the heavyweights of Man City, Liverpool and our Niall take centre stage. Do join us.