Ten years at the Liberty: A classic cup derby

15th March 2016

To celebrate Swansea City's tenth season at the Liberty Stadium, we are looking back on the stand-out moments over the last decade.
Here, we reflect on a cup classic as the Swans knock Cardiff City out of the League Cup thanks to Jordi Gomez's free-kick.

Swansea City 1 Cardiff City 0
League Cup third round
September 23, 2008

Roberto Martinez's classy Swans had run away with the Coca Cola League One title in some style the previous season, but now that they were back in the Championship after an absence of 24 long years, they were finding life a little tough during the early stages of the new campaign.
But on September 23, 2008, it was the cup that took centre-stage at the Liberty Stadium, where, for the first time in nine years, the Swans met archrivals Cardiff City in the third round of the League Cup.
The atmosphere in SA1 was red hot, with a major police presence in-and-around the stadium for what was set to be a fiercely contested encounter between the two Welsh sides.
Amid the cauldron of noise, Cardiff settled the better and were on the front foot early on into proceedings as a Stephen McPhail header tested the reactions of Dorus De Vries in the home goal.
As was to be expected in a derby match, the first booking of the game arrived shortly after kick-off when Cardiff midfielder Joe Ledley was cautioned for a late challenge on Leon Britton. The booking set the tone for the rest of the game, with heavy challenges becoming a common theme in what was a frenetic opening 45 minutes.

Swansea's first opportunity came when Jason Scotland caused some panic amongst the Bluebirds' defence after finding himself a yard of space inside the penalty area, but Cardiff stopper Peter Enckelman was able to smother the Swansea striker's effort at the second attempt.
Midway through the first period, Cardiff carved open the home defence with a slick passing move, but De Vries was again on hand to keep out Jay Bothroyd's low drive with a fine save.
The Swans then spurned two golden chances to take the lead before the interval as Jason Scotland's mazy run into the visitors' penalty area forced Enckelman into a save, before Garry Monk headed narrowly wide from the resulting corner.
Unlike the first half, the Swans began the second half in the ascendancy, having found their silky smooth passing game thanks in part to the influence of midfielder Ferrie Bodde. Alongside Jordi Gomez in midfield, they began to dominate the ball, pushing Cardiff further back to defend just outside their 18-yard box.

Then on 57 minutes came the goal that all in West Wales had been waiting for. With Cardiff on the back foot and the Swans pushing forward, another foul, this time by McPhail on Gower, saw Gomez step up to take the free-kick in dangerous territory.
Gomez struck low and hard, and as the Cardiff wall jumped - expecting an attempt over the wall - the ball caught the bottom of Gavin Rae's boot, rearing up and flying past Enckelman in the Cardiff goal. Cue bedlam amongst the Swans faithful.
What was already a bleak situation for the visitors became even bleaker when McPhail, who had already been booked in the first half, received his marching orders for a second bookable offence.
Despite enjoying the one-man advantage, the Swans had no plans to relax their grip on the game, and substitute Gorka Pintado skied a superb chance to double the advantage in the dying minutes.
Fortunately for the home side, it didn't matter. The narrow victory ensured the bragging rights stayed in West Wales once more.

Player profile
Jordi Gomez (2008-2009)

Born in Barcelona, Jordi Gomez rose through the ranks at his hometown club FC Barcelona, for whom he turned out for their B side before moving to neighbours Espanyol in March 2008.
Having featured in just three La Liga games for the Catalan side - his debut coming in a 4-0 away defeat to Real Murcia - Swans manager Roberto Martinez recognised his compatriot's potential and signed him on a season-long loan.
It proved a smart move by the Spanish manager, and Gomez's obvious talent shone from the word go.
The midfielder scored 14 goals in what was an extremely successful campaign in South Wales for both club and player.
At the end of Gomez's season-long loan, the Swans made enquiries about signing him on a permanent basis but unfortunately could not come to an agreement with his parent club Espanyol.
However, when manager Martinez departed Swansea to join Premier League side Wigan Athletic, he signed Gomez for a reported fee in the region of £1.7million.
During his five-year spell with the Latics, his undoubted highlight was helping them win the FA Cup following a 1-0 victory over favourites Manchester City in 2013.
But perhaps his lowest point at Wigan came just days later when they were relegated from the top flight following a 4-1 defeat at Arsenal.
Gomez featured in Wigan's only European adventure the next season, but at the at the end of the campaign he moved back to the Premier League, signing for Sunderland, where his silky skills are still on show today.