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Defining moment - Jonathan Woodgate: "It looked like penalties, then I popped up!"

Posted on 16 August 2017  - 15:42

In a new, occasional series, we’ll feature a player’s defining moment in a Spurs shirt. First up, with Chelsea next in our first Premier League match at Wembley on Sunday, Jonathan Woodgate remembers the 2008 League Cup Final.

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Jonathan Woodgate took less than a month to carve his name in Spurs folklore.

The cultured defender joined us from Middlesbrough on January 28, 2008.

He scored the winner against Chelsea in the League Cup Final at Wembley on February 24, 2008.

It wasn’t just the goal though, ‘Woody’ and Ledley King were imperious as a central defensive partnership - incredibly, the first time they’d played together!

We were the better team throughout only for Didier Drogba give Chelsea the lead from a free-kick just before half-time. Dimitar Berbatov’s cool-as-ice penalty levelled it in the second half as it ended 1-1 and just four minutes into the first half of extra time, Woody headed home what turned out to be the winner.

Below: Woody celebrates his winner at Wembley

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Here are his memories...

“I’d only just signed. Michael Dawson had played all the games but he was injured. I remember day before the final, Juande Ramos (manager) took us away to The Grove (hotel). We went go-karting and had a great day together. It settled us all down.

“We had a good team on paper and I remember thinking in a one-off game, we had a really good chance. We had individuals who could produce on the day like Dimitar Berbatov, Robbie Keane, Jermaine Jenas, Ledley King and Aaron Lennon. We had a lot of quality.

“We started really well but they went 1-0 up just before half-time. We then got the penalty. Berba - I didn’t think he’d miss. It was never in doubt. He just rolled it past Cech! That was him, just cool, and an awesome player.

“Didier Zokora had an unbelievable chance late on but he blazed it over the bar. To be honest, it looked like it would end up going to penalties, but then I popped up!

“We had a free-kick and Chelsea’s defence went a bit high up. Drogba was marking me and wasn’t the best marker from set-pieces, I’d played against him before. I was pointing to JJ where to play it and I saw Cech come out, went up for it and it went in. It was perfect.

“I just took off after scoring. I was getting cramp at that time as well! We were into extra time but Ledley’s body was used to it, he didn’t train, would play and was huge for the team. We could read each other and what other players were going to do. We enjoyed the challenge against Drogba because he’d muscle in on you and we didn’t mind that.

“To score the winner in a cup final at Wembley, it’s the dream as a young kid. You all want to win. That was the most important thing and to see all the fans going crazy was fantastic. It’s what you dream about.”