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Football: BLACK AND BLUE; CARLING CUP ARSENAL 1 CHELSEA 2 3 sent off after a mass brawl Terry is KOd in sickening clash Drogba double wins it for Jose.

Byline: By Colin Duncan

AHORRIFIC injury to John Terry and a disgraceful mass brawl tainted a memorable Carling Cup Final as Chelsea triumphed in Cardiff.

Arsenal duo Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Adebayor and Chelsea's John Obi Mikel were red-carded in stoppage time as all hell broke loose in the Millennium Stadium.

Amid incredible scenes rival bosses Jose Mourinho and Arsene Wenger raced on to the pitch in a desperate attempt to calm their players down as punches were thrown and discipline went out the window.

It was a distasteful end to a sensational match which also saw skipper Terry knocked unconscious and stretchered off the pitch wearing aneck brace and an oxygen mask. As his team-mates celebrated another trophy success under Mourinho the Chelsea skipper was lying in a Cardiff hospital.

Terry's face was splattered when Abou Diaby accidentally caught him with a flying boot just before the hour.

Frank Lampard lifted the trophy in the captain's absence with Chelsea's victory a triumph for power and pragmatism over the skill and finesse of Arsenal's exciting young side.

In the end brute force helped them come from behind and survive an early pounding with two clinical Didier Drogba strikes cancelling out Theo Walcott's opener.

It was billed as cash versus kids and men against boys and in the end Chelsea's experience saw them through against the youngest team to contest a major final.

The pre-match debate centred on whether Wenger would keep his promise and stay loyal to the precocious youngsters who carried Arsenal all the way to Cardiff. And the Frenchman proved true to his word, resisting calls to bring back experienced and world-class campaigners like Thierry Henry, Jens Lehmann and William Gallas. There wasn't even space for them on the bench.

Instead he went into battle against his great nemesis fielding a side with an average age of just 21.

The selection policy of Wenger, who had failed to get the better of Mourinho in six previous attempts, represented a huge risk and it was a gamble which would ultimately backfire.

Unlike his great rival Mourinho has fielded strong teams throughout the competition and his big guns were out in force again. Lampard had recovered from flu while Terry completed a Lazarus-like recovery to take his place at the heart of the Chelsea defence.

The skipper was expected to be sidelined for four at least four weeks after damaging ankle ligaments against Porto in midweek but only four days later here he was leading out the Blues at Cardiff.

But the England captain was unable to see out the match after he was knocked unconscious in the 53 rd minute when he bravely threw himself at a loose ball in the Arsenal penalty and was caught by the flying boot of Diaby.

Terry was treated for almost 10 minutes by medical staff from both teams before leaving the pitch on a stretcher and wearing a neck brace.

Fears that Arsenal's youngsters would freeze were unfounded as they passed their bitter rivals into submission with an early blitz.

With teenaged duo Cesc Fabregas and Denilson pulling the strings in midfield they zipped the ball about on the pristine surface with pace and purpose.

Lampard and Michael Ballack both looked heavy-legged and out of sorts as Arsenal piled forward in droves.

Terry proved his importance with a last-ditch intervention to deny former Celtic striker Jeremie Aliadiere then a stunning stop from Petr Cech turned away Julio Baptista's drive.

But they were powerless to prevent Arsenal taking a deserved lead when Diaby's first time through ball caught the Blues rearguard on the back foot.

Two quality touches from Walcott took him away from Ricardo Carvalho and before Cech had time to react the former Stamford Bridge ball boy had blasted a sublime opener past him. Walcott couldn't have timed his first goal for Arsenal any better.

But totally against the run of play Mourinho's men found themselves level when Ballack, anonymous until that point, made his first notable contribution. A deft, lofted pass over the heads of the Arsenal back four reached Drogba and while there was ahint of offside the Premiership's leading scorer made the most of his good fortune by calmly slotting under the body of Manuel Almunia.

Terry's unfortunate injury, unsurprisingly, disrupted the flow of the game and it was fully 15 minutes after he was stretchered off that the pace picked up again.

When it did Chelsea found themselves in the ascendancy for the first time and only the crossbar kept out Lampard's 30-yard blockbuster.

But the woodwork was unable to save Wenger's young side six minutes from the end when Drogba again got the better of Philippe Senderos to head home Essien's cross for the winner.

But the drama wasn't finished there as every player on the pitch became involved in an unseemly melee in the centre of the pitch which resulted in Arsenal finishing the game with nine men and Chelsea clinching victory with 10.

CAPTION(S):

JOHN THE RECEIVING END: Terry takes a sore one, main pic, after Walcott had put Arsenal ahead, top, only for Drogba to level. But even a mass brawl, centre, couldn't stop Chelsea celebrating after Drogba had headed the winner, second bottom
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Feb 26, 2007
Words:872
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