PRE­MIER BIG GUNS STUNNED BY CUP HAT-TRICK

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Jon Couch

CHAM­PI­ONSHIP clubs cel­e­brated a mo­men­tous clean sweep of Pre­mier League big guns this week as all three re­main­ing sides took their places in the last eight of the Cap­i­tal One Cup – against all odds.

Per­haps the most un­likely tri­umph came at Old Traf­ford on Wed­nes­day night where over 10,000 trav­el­ling Mid­dles­brough fans watched Aitor Karanka’s Boro top­ple Manch­ester United in a penalty shoot-out.

Stew­art Down­ing’s rasp­ing drive was bril­liantly tipped over the bar by Ser­gio Romero, while Da­ley Blind put the ball into the own net, only for striker Kike to be flagged off­side.

England trio Wayne Rooney, Michael Carrick and Ashley Young all missed in the shootout, while Grant Lead­bit­ter, Down­ing and Ben Gib­son all held their nerve to earn Boro a last-eight home clash with Ever­ton.

Mean­while, on Tues­day night, Sh­effield Wed­nes­day en­joyed their own gi­antkilling act as they swept past a lack­lus­tre Arse­nal 3-0 at Hills­bor­ough.

The Gun­ners lost both Alex Oxlade-Cham­ber­lain and Theo Wal­cott to in­jury in­side the open­ing 15 min­utes be­fore goals from Ross Wal­lace, Lu­cas Joao and Sam Hutchin­son wrapped up a mem­o­rable night for the Owls and earned a quar­ter­fi­nal trip to Stoke City.

The clean sweep was com­pleted by Steve Bruce’s Hull City, who did what many Pre­mier League sides are strug­gling to do at present, and beat Le­ices­ter City – again af­ter a shootout.

David Meyler struck the win­ning fifth penalty as the Tigers scored with all of their ef­forts, while Le­ices­ter’s Riyad Mahrez hit the post with his.

Af­ter 90 goal­less min­utes, Mahrez put the Foxes in front in the first half of ex­tra-time be­fore Abel Her­nan­dez equalised six min­utes later.

Bruce’s men now make the daunt­ing trip to cup favourites Manch­ester City.

CUP KING: Aitor Karanka

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