The afternoon Chelsea ‘keeper Carlo Cudicini stood between Norwich City and FA Cup glory
- Credit: Eastern Counties Newspapers
It's one of the biggest asks in the third round of the FA Cup, but Norwich City have been here before when it comes to knockout ties against London giants Chelsea.
For those of a certain vintage, this weekend's tie will stir memories of a terrific afternoon at Carrow Road in January, 2002 when only goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini stood between the Canaries and a place in the fourth round.
It was a game in which Cudicini worked wonders - while at the other end Robert Green was a virtual spectator.
The return leg was somewhat different - Chelsea won 4-0 and Green was at the centre of THAT Gianfranco Zola backheel goal ... but for now, it is perhaps time to reflect that giantkilling can still be a thing, as long as your opponents don't have a keeper auditioning for worldy performance of the season award.
Chelsea did worry City in the opening exchanges when Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (a bit of a moaner all afternoon) fired over and Marcel Desailly headed over when he should have scored. But that was it.
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The first half was more an attritional contest in midfield, but City were becoming increasingly aware that the game was there to be won.
At the time, City were fourth in Division One, Chelsea sixth in the Premier League, so make no mistake, this was a scalp.
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Paul McVeigh was the first to be denied, his shot forcing the Italian keeper high to his left to palm it away.
Marc Libbra was denied by a William Gallas tackle before Alex Notman fired in a low shot which Cudicini turned around a post.
Then it was the turn of Darren Kenton, on the end of a move involving Notman and Steen Nedergaard – but when Kenton pulled the trigger his rising effort was like a magnet for the Chelsea keeper.
Mark Rivers then got in on the act, twice denied by Cudicini – the first time with 10 minutes to go when the keeper's feet saved the day for the Blues, the second – and probably his best stop of the day – when he denied Rivers what would almost certainly have been a famous winner.
Carrow Road rocked that day – Malky Mackay said it has been was the best atmosphere since he had joined the club – but the over-riding memory of the game is about one man, as manager Nigel Worthington summed up: 'Their keeper has done what he's paid for and pulled off some world class saves.'