A sensational performance from
born Craig Bellamy tonight, saw Cardiff Liverpool get past to secure their place in the Carling Cup final against Manchester City at the end of next month. Cardiff City
After last night’s drama in
the second semi final was a sensational encounter that was on a knife edge throughout. Cardiff Liverpool simply wanted it more over the two legs and after Saturday’s awful showing at Bolton Kenny Dalglish needed his players to stand and deliver.
Having watched his boyhood Bluebirds book their place in the showpiece final there was no way he would miss out on joining them. He hounded the City backline all night, a constant menace at times unplayable.
In the early stages Bellamy tested the impressive Joe Hart who kept City in the tie, as he caused havoc.
He was his usual self continually snipping at the City players and mouthing off to his own players particularly Stuart Downing. He forced Roberto Mancini into a tactical change when Stefan Savic had to be replaced at half time as he torn apart time and time again by Bellamy.
When Edin Dzeko got on the end of Alexander Kolorov’s cross it looked like it would all in tears for
Liverpool and Bellamy. Despite the hammer blow Dalglish did not panic and decided to stick with Bellamy and boy he delivered.
He showed great composure to bury his chance and finally beat his nemesis Hart and sent
Liverpool to their first Wembley final since 1996.
He went off to a standing ovation in the closing minutes and the sheer respect that his former City colleagues showed him, proved how highly Bellamy is thought of by those who have played with him.
Nobody deserves a place in a showpiece final more than Bellamy, he was an unused sub in his only other final in football in
Liverpool’s Champions League defeat in 2007.
His performance tonight has set up what will be memorable day for everyone involved with Welsh football but be rest assured he will not be giving his home town club an easy ride.