Diego Costa in the spotlight as Chelsea advance to the League Cup final
It a rip-roaring semi-final second leg as Chelsea reached the League Cup final.
Branislav Ivanovic’s towering extra-time header helped them secure a 1-0 victory over Liverpool at an electric Stamford Bridge on Wednesday (Jan 28, Singapore time).
After the game, however, Chelsea's Diego Costa was the focus of attention.
The Brazil-born Spain international twice appeared to tread on opposing players – Emre Can in the first half, Martin Skrtel in the second – and could now face retrospective action from the Football Association.
Was this deliberate? Diego Costa appeared to stamp on Emre Can.
Costa also seemed to stamp on Skrtel.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said the incidents were “poor".
But Mourinho claimed the outcry had been manufactured by a television pundit whom he refused to identify.
“I don’t know what you understand by ‘stamp’
I think maybe you (the media) are already influenced by – I’m going to use the word that put me in trouble – but I think this time I cannot be punished to say that there is a campaign on the television with a certain pundit that is saying (alleging) Diego Costa crimes.
“This guy must be nuts, the guy that is saying that.” - Jose Mourinho after the game
While Mourinho did not named the pundit that he was referring to, AFP reported that Mourinho appeared to be referring to either former Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp or ex-Arsenal striker Thierry Henry, who analysed the game for Sky Sports.
‘Get our flow back’
Rodgers expressed optimism - though the result brought Liverpool's run of 10 games without defeat to an end.
"For us to be successful, at times it’s got to hurt.
"In this competition particularly, we’ve started to get our flow back again."
The Liverpool Echo also echoed Rodgers' optimistic assessment, saying the Reds can challenge for the Premier League tittle next season.
Liverpool created the better chances in the first half, with Courtois saving from Alberto Moreno and Philippe Coutinho.
The first half was played at full throttle with both teams looking to seize the early initiative, but the visitors had the better chances - with Chelsea keeper Courtois producing excellent saves to deny Alberto Moreno and Philippe Coutinho.
Chelsea took control after the break and Mignolet was twice called upon to thwart Costa before Ivanovic made the breakthrough in the fourth minute of extra time.
Chelsea will face Tottenham Hotspur or Sheffield United, who play the second leg of their last-four clash on Thursday morning (Jan 29).
Sources: Reuters AFP, Vine