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Carabao Cup: Five Times Nigerian Stars Have Reached League Cup Final

Carabao Cup: Five Times Nigerian Stars Have Reached League Cup Final

Alex Iwobi and Arsenal will hope to secure Arsene Wenger his first-ever English League Cup (Carabao Cup) when they face favourites Manchester City in the final on Sunday at Wembley Stadium.

Ahead of Sunday’s final, Completesportsnigeria.com’s JAMES AGBEREBI lists Nigerian players who have been involved in the League Cup final in the past…

AUSTIN OKOCHA (Bolton Wanderers, 2004)

Former Super Eagles skipper, Austin Okocha, came close to winning a trophy at club level for the first time in 2004. But it was not to be as Bolton Wanderers lost 2-1 to Middlesbrough in the final of the 2004 League Cup.

Middlesbrough raced to a 2-0 lead with goals from Cameroon’s Joseph Desire Job and a penalty from Netherland’s Boudewijn Zenden in the second and seventh minutes respectively.

Kevin Davies pulled a goal back for Bolton on 21 minutes but Okocha (skipper for Bolton) could not help his side complete the comeback as Middlesbrough held on to emerge victors.

MIKEL OBI (Chelsea, 2007)

Mikel Obi picked up his first trophy with Chelsea as they came from a goal down to beat Arsenal 2-1 in the 2007 League Cup final.

Mikel was brought on in the 63rd minute for John Terry who went off injured.

The current Super Eagles captain was however shown a straight red card in the 96th minute after he was involved in a scuffle with former Cote d’Ivoire defender Kolo Toure who was also sent off.

Theo Walcott gave Arsenal a 12th minute lead before Didier Drogba scored twice in the 20th and 84th minutes to help clinch the League Cup for Chelsea.

MIKEL OBI (Chelsea, 2008)

Unlike in the 2007 final, Mikel was in Chelsea’s starting eleven as they lost 2-1 to Tottenham Hotspur after extra-time in the final of the 2008 League Cup.

Mikel was replaced by Joe Cole eight minutes into first half extra-time.

Drogba shot Chelsea into the lead in the 39th minute before Dimitar Berbatov drew Spurs level from the penalty spot on 70 minutes.

And just four minutes into extra-time, Jonathan Woodgate scored the winner for Spurs.

OBAFEMI MARTINS (Birmingham City, 2011)

Former Nigeria international Obafemi Martins was the hero for minnows Birmingham City who shocked Arsenal 2-1 in the final of the 2011 League Cup.

Nikola Zigic gave Birmingham the lead in the 28th minute but Robin Van Persie equalised to bring for Arsenal.

But in the 89th minute, Martins who was brought on in the 83rd minute, scored the winner after calmly slotting the ball into an empty net following a defensive mix-up between Laurent Koscielny and Wojciech Szczesny.

KELECHI IHEANACHO (Manchester City, 2016)

Kelechi Iheanacho’s only piece silverware so far at club level is a winner’s medal as Manchester City beat Liverpool 3-1 on penalties in the League Cup final in 2016.

Iheanacho was however an unused substitute for Manchester City in that final.

Fernandinho gave City the lead in the 49th minute only for Philippe Coutinho to send the game into extra-time when he restored parity for his side with seven minutes left in the game.

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