Blackburn 3 Chelsea 3 (AET) Rovers win 4-3 on pens: Gael Kakuta is shootout flop as Paul Robinson saves day for hosts

Teenage prospect Gael Kakuta could be forgiven for wondering what he let himself in for when he agreed to join Chelsea after his fledgling career in English football suffered another bewildering twist at Ewood Park.

The 18-year-old’s arrival from Lens two years ago caused such a rumpus that Chelsea were hit with a 16-month transfer ban that was subsequently suspended on appeal.

If that brought him unwanted attention when he made his Chelsea debut as a substitute against Wolves, he found himself under the spotlight again as a
dramatic Carling Cup quarter-final reached a nail-biting conclusion.

Paul Robinson

Nice one son: Blackburn players celebrate with Paul Robinson after their penalty-shoot out win over Chelsea

An equaliser by Paulo Ferreira with the last kick of extra time forced a penalty shootout that was finely balanced when Kakuta stepped forward for a kick he had to convert to keep Chelsea in it.

Although he hit his left-footed effort with power, the Chelsea youngster was left holding his head in despair after directing his shot too close to Paul Robinson and seeing the Blackburn keeper save.

While Blackburn’s jubilant players rushed to mob Robinson, Chelsea keeper Henrique Hilario did his best to console the visibly upset Kakuta.

Chelsea had started brightly enough, but they went behind in the ninth minute when Pascal Chimbonda reached the bye-line on the left and cut the ball back for Nikola Kalinic to slot home from close range.

Sensing his side lacked a cutting edge, manager Carlo Ancelotti sent on Didier Drogba at the start of the second half and saw it pay instant dividends as the Chelsea striker rose at the near post to power a header past Robinson from Florent Malouda’s 48th-minute cross.

Gael Kakuta

Disappointment: Gael Kakuta looks back after missing his crucial penalty at Ewood Park

There was an equally familiar look about the goal that put Chelsea in front four minutes later, Salomon Kalou latching on to a through-ball from Yuri Zhirkov and keeping his cool to sidefoot past the advancing Robinson.

But Chelsea let slip their advantage as Hilario, distracted by Kalinic’s leap in front of him, allowed Brett Emerton’s cross to sail past him for a 64th-minute equaliser and they were trailing when Zhirkov fouled substitute David Hoilett for Benni McCarthy to convert a nerveless 93rd-minute penalty.

They earned a reprieve when Ferreira forced home Malouda’s 120th-minute free-kick, but it was to prove short-lived as Robinson had the final say at Kakuta’s expense.

Ancelotti revealed that he nominated Kakuta to take the all-important fifth penalty in a remarkable admission that underlined the ruthless side to his nature.

Paulo Ferreira

The late late show: Paulo Ferreira is mobbed by team-mates after scoring Chelsea's third goal at Ewood Park

It looked a daunting task for a teenage newcomer to English football but the Italian coach brushed aside suggestions that Kakuta had volunteered to step into the breach, saying: ‘No, that was down to me. I put him forward to take the kick. I chose him for the fifth penalty.

‘I had seen him on the training ground and appreciated how good he is at taking penalties. He kicks a good penalty, so I had no concerns about asking him to do it.

'I have no regrets about the line-up I put out here because we looked at our priorities and realised they were in our Premier League games. Anyway, I would describe this as a strong team.

Benni McCarthy

On the spot: Benni McCarthy celebrates after scoring a penalty for Blackburn in extra time

‘The first half was not so good because we didn’t take enough determination out on to the pitch with us. But after losing Salomon Kalou through injury we showed great spirit with 10 men against 11 and a good mentality. When you consider the young boys out there, this is good for the future.

‘Kalou injured his leg but I am not sure how long he will be out. I thought the young boys who went on in the second half did well and Kakuta should not worry about his penalty because he showed he has very good quality and can play an important part at this club.'

While Ancelotti must have some concerns about how Kakuta might cope with such an ordeal, he my be just as deterred by the way his side were given an ominous warning.

Joe Cole controls the ball under pressure from Morten Gamst Pedersen

Tough battle: Joe Cole controls the ball under pressure from Morten Gamst Pedersen at Ewood Park

The Chelsea manager believes he has the resources needed to cope with the loss of key players to the Africa Cup of Nations after assessing the strength of his squad and concluding he has good cover.

He may have to think again after making seven changes to the starting line-up that saw off Arsenal and seeing a side still packed with pedigree and know-how hustled out of their stride and rightly denied a place in the semi-finals.

The way a lionhearted but limited Blackburn side came back from 2-1 down and proved too strong for Chelsea until the last kick of extra time should fill Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson with confidence in his battle to prevent the Barclays
Premier League title heading back to Stamford Bridge.

Nikola Kalinic

Perfect start: Nikola Kalinic fires Blackburn ahead early on at Ewood Park

After absorbing the shock of going behind so early, Chelsea hit back after half-time when Drogba revelled in his unlikely role of substitute, and Kalou showed his customary composure in front of goal.

But they were slowly but surely hustled out of their stride by Blackburn’s aggressive, direct style and, although Ferreira made the most dramatic of contributions in the final seconds of the added half-hour, Robinson snatched the glory for Rovers.

So Blackburn head for a semi-final with Aston Villa, the perfect tonic for boss Sam Allardyce as he recuperates after heart surgery.

The comments below have been moderated in advance.

The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now