Cardiff City, the team from the Welsh capital, are heading to the Carling Cup final. The team defeated Crystal Palace in the first completed Carling Cup semi final. They will now play the winner of the Liverpool vs Manchester City tie which will be completed on Wednesday evening at Anfield. Liverpool head that tie 1-0, thanks to an away victory in Manchester in the first leg, secured by a Steven Gerrard penalty.
Cardiff City, having a decent campaign in the Championship as they seek promotion to the Premier League, now have a domestic cup final to also look forward to. They will no doubt be approaching the final as underdogs as whichever of Manchester City or Liverpool progress will surely be favourites, and understandably so. The two Premiership giants would be correct if they considered themselves to be in a different league altogether to Cardiff City, both literally and figuratively. A few seasons back Cardiff City would have been able to compete in the Carling Cup final on home soil. Whilst Wembley was under repair all domestic cup finals, overseen by the FA, were played at the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff. Now all the Cardiff City fans who wish to watch the match in person will have to travel to Wembley to follow their heroes and cheer them on.
Cardiff City won their semi final on penalties after drawing the tie 1-1 overall. At the start of the second leg Crystal Palace were presumed favourites to progress but Cardiff City found a way through against the odds. The team will now be hoping for a double success, that is, a triumph in the Carling Cup final, which will be played in February, and a play off place in the Championship. An automatic promotion position, for the top two in the Championship, appears out of sight at the moment, but Cardiff are well positioned to secure a play off spot where they will then have to venture through three matches, two at a minimum, if they are to navigate their way to the English Premiership, the top flight of English league football. Coincidentally, if Cardiff City do make it to the play off final, where they will play in a one off match estimated to be worth close to £50 million pounds to the victor, they will again be playing at Wembley where the play off final is held every year. Cardiff City fans will be hoping Wembley will be the scene of their glory in 2012, not the place where their hopes ended.