Thursday, January 7, 2016

7 January 2006 - Alonso's Long-Distance Delivery

On 7 January 2006, Liverpool overcame a two-goal second half deficit against Luton Town in the FA Cup Third Round, capping the win with a 65-yard goal from midfielder Xabi Alonso.

The reigning Champions League winners, Liverpool were sitting third in the Premier League table, having just ended a 10-match winning streak with a draw against Bolton. So it was no surprise when they opened the scoring with a 16th-minute Steven Gerrard to take the lead against Luton, then a mid-table Championship side freshly promoted from League One.

But the tide turned midway through the first half, as the Luton midfield took control of the match. They were rewarded with a 31st-minute equalizer from forward Steve Howard, then took the lead 12 minutes later with a goal from midfielder Steve Robinson. In the second half, the hosts were awarded a penalty when Liverpool goalkeeper Scott Carson brought striker Rowan Vine down in the box. Luton captain Kevin Nicholls converted the 53rd-minute spot kick to extend the lead to 3-1.

But the hosts began to wear down, conceding three goals in the space of 12 minutes, including a brace from substitute Florent Sinama-Pongolle (62', 74') and one from Alonso (69'). Alonso secured the win with a flourish in stoppage time, collecting the rebound from a Luton corner, rounding the keeper who had come up for the kick, then driving a left-footed shot from inside his own half that curled into the center of the unguarded Luton net.

Liverpool used the victory as a springboard, going on to win the Cup that year.

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