A Moment in Time

The Blues open our Carabao Cup campaign when we welcome Championship side Nottingham Forest to Stamford Bridge this evening for the first meeting between the teams since 2007.

To date, we have lifted the trophy on five occasions and, ahead of our opening game in this season’s competition, we pick out a selection of images from a famous victory under Wembley's Twin Towers 19 years ago when we recorded a second cup triumph over the same opposition in less than a year...

 

Chelsea v Middlesbrough, Sunday 29 March 1998, League Cup final, Wembley Stadium

Having beaten the already-relegated Teessiders in the FA Cup final the previous May, Chelsea, now under the management of Gianluca Vialli, went into the League Cup (known at the time as the Coca Cola Cup) final as strong favourites, but with experienced players proven at the highest level - such as Paul Merson, former Blue Andy Townsend and a certain Paul Gascoigne - fresh additions to the Boro squad it was clear nothing could be taken for granted.

In the photo below, England internationals Graeme Le Saux and Merson challenge for possession as Frank Leboeuf looks on.


There was little to choose between the teams in 90 minutes, and we had to wait until early on in extra-time for the deadlock to be broken. Frank Sinclair, buried under a pile of bodies in the image below, got forward to meet a Dennis Wise cross and power his header beyond Mark Schwarzer, a man who would go on to sign for the Blues many years later.


That man again! Roberto Di Matteo, scorer of the stunning opener in the previous season's FA Cup final, broke Boro hearts once more when he stole in to meet a Gianfranco Zola corner and force the ball home, making it 2-0 and putting the game out of the reach of Bryan Robson's side. 


Captain fantastic! After providing the assist for Sinclair's opener, Wise walked away with the Man of the Match award. The League Cup was the first of two trophies he would lift that season, with the European Cup Winners' Cup following a couple of months later.

For Vialli, it was a particularly sweet afternoon as he collected his first trophy as Chelsea manager. His first game at the helm after replacing Ruud Gullit had been the memorable semi-final second-leg comeback against Arsenal, when we overturned a 2-1 first-leg deficit.