Late Ki goal secures semi-final berth.
Ki Sung-Yueng saw Sunderland through to the last four of the Capital One Cup in dramatic fashion with a last-gasp extra-time winner against Chelsea on Wearside.
The South Korean climbed off the bench to net a coolly-taken decider with just two minutes left in extra time to down the Londoners.
Chelsea had taken the lead moments into the second half when a cross was turned in from close range by Frank Lampard, who was being challenged by Lee Cattermole.
The visitors held their lead until the final minute of normal time when another sub - Fabio Borini - popped up to level in dramatic fashion against his former club with a powerful finish from close range.
That forced extra time, and another late goal booked Sunderland’s spot in the semi-finals – Ki showing remarkable cool to win the match with a composed finish just when it looked as if penalties might be required to separate the two sides.
And this was very much a tale of two substitutes as Ki and Borini took the game by the scruff of the neck following their second-half introductions, with the latter laying on the winner for his colleague for good measure.
The pair were the very definition of impact subs as Gus Poyet earned a victory against a club to whom he gave sterling service as a player.
The Uruguayan opted to bring in Adam Johnson, Andrea Dossena and Craig Gardner ahead of the game, with Ki and Borini dropping to the bench along with Phil Bardsley.
Meanwhile Chelsea made eight changes to the team which beat Crystal Palace and it was the visitors who were up and about early on, with both Andre Schurrle and Willian testing Vito Mannone with low drives from the edge of the box.
But barring those two efforts on goal the early stages were a quiet affair, with neither side creating many opportunities – hardly a portent of the topsy-turvy drama to come.
Andre Schurrle caused a moment of concern when he wriggled free to the right of goal just before the 20-minute mark, but his low cross-shot flashed across goal with team-mates well-placed.
Sunderland, meanwhile, almost cashed in from a set-piece when Emanuele Giaccherini touched back a Seb Larsson free-kick, but the visiting defence hurriedly cleared their lines before Adam Johnson could get a shot away.
Both Willian and Schurrle then blasted wide, while Sunderland’s only other half-chance of the first half came when Giaccherini fired over from 20 yards just before the break.
A quiet first half was in contrast to the start of the second as Chelsea took the lead within a minute of the restart.
Cesar Azpilicueta got away down the right and crossed for the onrushing Lampard, who forced the ball home from point-blank range despite a challenge from Cattermole.
It should have been two eight minutes later when Gardner’s loose pass was seized upon by Samuel Eto’o, who raced through only to place the ball past the post when one-on-one with Vito Mannone.
The Italian keeper also saved well to deny Kevin de Bruyne, diving away to his right to turn away the Chelsea man’s powerful drive.
With the Blues in the ascendancy – Lampard just missing with a powerful blast from an Eto’o lay-off – Poyet opted to introduce Ki in place of Gardner.
His side began to look brighter as Larsson saw a shot blocked before the rebound ran to Johnson, who curled high and wide.
And Cattermole stung the gloves of Chelsea keeper Mark Schwarzer with a good effort from distance after picking up a loose ball 30 yards from goal.
Borini entered the action in place of Johnson for the final 15 minutes, with Schurrle and Ki then shooting wide at either end.
Meanwhile Schurrle was denied by another good save from Mannone before substitute Demba Ba volleyed narrowly beyond the far post.
But just when it looked as if Chelsea might prevail, Sunderland struck in dramatic fashion with just a minute left on the clock.
Good work in the central area from Cattermole and Giaccherini created space for Jozy Altidore, whose shot was blocked.
It looked as if the chance might have gone but Borini, racing in, had other ideas as he blasted the ball through the legs of David Luiz and into the far corner from a narrow angle.
The little Italian could have won the match within normal time just moments later when he raced through the middle only to be denied by a super saving tackle by Gary Cahill, who made up ground to nick the ball away from his opponent.
There were no signs of heavy legs in the Sunderland camp as they started extra time well, with Ondrej Celustka seeing a cross-shot deflected away by sub Michael Essien.
And they manufactured an excellent chance when Andrea Dossena crossed deep to the back post for Borini, but the striker couldn’t get a clean connection on the ball and could only clip a shot wide.
Both sides had chances in an exciting second period of extra time which saw Sunderland grow stronger as the minutes ticked by.
A shot from de Bruyne flashed narrowly wide, while at the other end Altidore saw a goalbound shot blocked by Essien after Larsson’s free-kick caused chaos in the Chelsea box.
It was end-to-end stuff as Ba nudged a delivery just wide at the near post, but Ki provided a taste of what was to come when he almost found the net seven minutes from the end.
Larsson’s magnificent cross from the right found the South Korean, whose placed header was tipped over the top by Schwarzer.
And from the resulting corner Larsson’s training-ground delivery found Celustka, who turned but couldn’t pull his powerful shot back on to the target.
Sunderland, finding new reserves of energy, were on top and searching for a late way to win with penalties looming.
They accomplished that mission in style with just two minutes of extra time remaining.
Borini showed a good first touch to bring down Celustka’s cross and find Ki, who took a couple of touches across a defender before calmly slotting the ball inside the post to spark bedlam inside the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland have punched their ticket to the Capital One Cup semi-finals.
- Yellow Dossena
- Gardner (Ki)
- Johnson (Borini)
- Giaccherini (Bardsley)
- Azpilicueta (Essien)
- Luiz Moreira Marinho Yellow
- Schürrle (Hazard)
- De Bruyne
- Borges Da Silva
- Eto'o (Ba)
- Yellow Ki
- Adilson Cabral
- Essien Yellow
- dos Santos Emboada Junior