7 of the most memorable League Cup games in Sunderland’s history
Sunderland will scratch a seven-year itch if they reach the fifth round of the Carabao Cup with victory over QPR at Loftus Road.
But while the Black Cats have not made that stage of what is traditionally known as the League Cup since 2014, they have enjoyed some glory nights in the competition.
From a derby shoot-out victory and a hair-raising night at Stamford Bridge to taking the lead at Wembley against England’s richest club, ChronicleLive looks at seven of the most memorable fixtures in Sunderland’s League Cup history.
Manchester United 2-1 Sunderland (3-3 agg; 1-2 pens)
In front of a sold out 9000-strong away end, the Black Cats booked their place at Wembley for the Capital One Cup final with a historic victory on penalties after a pulsating tie at Old Trafford.
Gus Poyet’s side defeated Man United 2-1 at home in the first leg, but their slim lead evaporated on 37 minutes when former Sunderland loanee Jonny Evans headed home, ultimately taking the tie to extra-time.
And penalties appeared to have been avoided when Phil Bardsley’s drilled shot straight at David De Gea was famously fumbled, giving Sunderland the lead with just seconds to go.
But Javier Hernandez’s heartbreaking goal in the 121st minute meant a shoot-out.
In a nerve-jangling, late-night finale, Black Cats ‘keeper Vito Mannone was the hero, saving from Rafael to send Sunderland to the final.
Newcastle United 2-2 Sunderland (4-4 agg; 6-7 pens)
1979-80 second round
Held to a 2-2 draw at home in the first of two legs, Sunderland’s short trip to St James’ Park for the return game was the last time the two teams met in major cup competition.
Alan Brown gave the Black Cats the lead on 74 minutes, but quickfire goals from Stuart Boam and Alan Shoulder seemingly turned the tie on its head with just six minutes to go.
But Brown equalised in the 90th minute, taking the game to extra-time and, eventually, penalties.
Then Sunderland goalkeeper Barry Siddall held his nerve, saving Jim Pearson’s penalty to give the Black Cats both bragging rights and a place in round three.
Sunderland 2-1 Chelsea
The round before that famous victory at Old Trafford, Sunderland took out another Premier League giant, defeating Chelsea after extra-time.
Frank Lampard gave the visitors the lead immediately after half-time, but Fabio Borini equalised with just two minutes to go.
With penalties looming, a moment of magic from Ki Sung-yeung sent the Stadium of Light into raptures, sealing victory in the 118th minute.
Arsenal 2-3 Sunderland
2002-03 third round
The season before their invincible Premiership campaign, Arsenal were beaten by a relegation-bound Sunderland side at Highbury.
Arsene Wenger’s side were cruising to victory and two goals to the good after barely half an hour through Robert Pires and Francis Jeffers.
But Kevin Kyle’s 56th-minute header gave Sunderland fans hope which turned into reality in the space of two minutes when a quickfire Marcus Stewart brace gave the away side the advantage.
Howard Wilkinson’s men duly hung on to secure a place in the fourth round of the then-named Worthington Cup.
Chelsea 2-3 Sunderland (2-5 agg)
Sunderland completed a memorable two-legged double at Stamford Bridge in a clash that is more famous for its scenes off the pitch than on it.
In an era where violence on the terraces was at its peak, the Black Cats took care of matters on the pitch, booking their place in the final with 3-2 victory.
Clive Walker’s brace and a goal from Colin West put the tie beyond doubt, despite 10-man Chelsea notching two goals of their own, and hundreds of their fans invading the pitch.
Sunderland 2-1 Manchester United
2000-01 fourth round
In a lesson to Sir Alex Ferguson about always picking your best players, a scratch Manchester United side en route to another Premier League title were stunned at the Stadium of Light.
In the absence of Giggs, Beckham, Keane and Scholes among others, Dwight Yorke - up front alongside Ole Gunnar Solskjaer - gave United the lead.
But Yorke was then sent off for a terrible challenge on Emerson Thome, and Julio Arca's 74th-minute strike meant extra-time.
On exactly 100 minutes, future Sunderland captain John O’Shea conceded a penalty, and Kevin Phillips – who else? - converted it to book the Black Cats’ place in the fifth round.
Manchester City 3-1 Sunderland
Sunderland headed to their first cup final in almost 30 years backed by 31,580 fans – but as arguably even bigger underdogs than when they shocked Leeds at Wembley in 1973.
The red and white half of Wembley erupted when Fabio Borini gave Gus Poyet’s team the unlikeliest of leads in the 10th minute.
But dreams of Borini joining Ian Porterfield in Wearside folklore were shattered early in the second half when Yaya Touré struck from 30 yards – with one of the greatest goals Wembley has seen – and Samir Nasri put City ahead barely a minute later.
Jesus Navas put the game to bed in the 90th minute, and Sunderland’s wait for a major trophy continued.