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GUARDIAN – Diego Costa tries to light up Chelsea with his dark arts against Liverpool | Barney Ronay

The Spain forward roused José Mourinho’s men but it was not pretty – just downright ornery and ragged as they progressed to the Capital One Cup final• Match report: Chelsea 1-0 Liverpool (agg: 2-1)• Five talking pointsOh, Diego. Whatever are we going to do with you? This Capital One Cup semi-final second leg always seemed likely to provide an epic instalment in the season’s third-string competition – and so it did on a dirty, messy, thrilling night at Stamford Bridge. We came expecting expansive football from two teams overloaded with nimble attacking-midfielders. What we got, in the first hour at least, was a peculiar twin-track thing.On the one hand here was a match that resembled at times a drunken scuffle, not least in a poisonous first half centred on Diego Costa, a player who seems to run on pure, cold-blooded footballing rage. Meanwhile, below the headline drama of stamps and grapples there was a parallel match taking place in which Philippe Coutinho was the leading man early on in a series of high-velocity Liverpool attacks aimed at the tender rump of Chelsea’s defence. And from which Costa and Eden Hazard ultimately emerged as the dominant figures as Chelsea won 1-0 to reach their first Wembley final since José Mourinho’s return. Continue reading…

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GUARDIAN – Chelsea 1-0 Liverpool (aet; Chelsea win 2-1 on aggregate) | Capital One Cup semi-final second leg match report

There was a point here when the heat of the battle was becoming so intolerably high the two managers had come together on the touchline and were straying dangerously close to a full-on confrontation. That clash between José Mourinho and Brendan Rodgers seemed emblematic of a night when the undercurrent of bad feeling between the two teams was never too far the surface and Diego Costa went far enough the Football Association may feel compelled to act.It was a breathless encounter full of incident and drama and probably encapsulated by the way Mourinho did not even see the decisive goal. As Branislav Ivanovic headed in Willian’s free-kick four minutes into the first period of extra time the Chelsea manager had turned his back to the pitch to complain to the fourth official, Phil Dowd. Continue reading…

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