Liverpool end Wembley drought at City's expense

Craig Bellamy came back to haunt his former club Manchester City as Liverpool booked their first Wembley appearance for 16 years after a dramatic 2-2 draw with the Premier League leaders in the semi-final second leg of the League Cup.

Leading 1-0 from the first leg, Liverpool were undone by Nigel De Jong's spectacular 31st minute long-range finish before skipper Steven Gerrard restored their aggregate lead with a controverial 41st minute penalty.

Craig Bellamy. Pic/AFP.

But City striker Edin Dzeko made it 2-2 on aggregate after scoring from close range midway through the second half before Bellamy's well executed 74th minute finish sealed a breathtaking tie in Liverpool's favour, the Mereyside club advancing 3-2 on aggregate.

"It was a fantastic performance, although the game finished a draw, we were deserved qualifiers," said Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish. "All but one of the first-team squad have played on this run and they have been magnificent. It was a fantastic evening for everyone."

His City counterpart Roberto Mancini was left fumbling for excuses as he saw another trophy slip from his and his expensively-assembled side's grasp.

"We did a good performance, scored two goals. I think it was not a penalty for Liverpool and was for us. This changed the game," moaned the Italian, who still has the Premier League title and second tier European trophy Europa League to play for.

Liverpool will play Championship club Cardiff in the final on February 26 - Liverpool's first final at the famous stadium since losing 1-0 to Manchester United in the 1996 FA Cup final.

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