Sunderland's chances of progressing past Manchester United in the Capital One Cup Semi-Final were boosted tonight as Nemanja Vidic was given a straight red card and Patrice Evra limped off as Chelsea comfortably beat the defending champions 3-1 at Stamford Bridge.
Manchester United suffered their first blow just before the hour mark as Patrice Evra limped off and had to be replaced by Chris Smalling, with Rafael shifting over to left back, which should mean the veteran French defender will be a doubt for Wednesday.
Then David Moyes' side suffered an even bigger blow, as their captain Nemanja Vidic was given a straight red card for a lunge on Eden Hazard just before the end of the game:
The defending Premier League champions can appeal his red card but with the new directive to hear appeals faster (see Wes Brown's appeal for his sending off at Stoke taking place on the Tuesday following the game), his case should be heard before the Semi-Final and as it looks unlikely that he will win his appeal, he should miss out. Which will be a huge boost for Sunderland, especially considering his strength at set-pieces at both ends of the pitch.
Manchester United should have also been missing Rafael for Wednesday too, as the Brazilian full back made a flying two-footed tackle on Gary Cahill. You suspect referee Phil Dowd was reluctant to send off another United player so soon after sending off Vidic, as it was an obvious red card offence. You can see the Rafael challenge HERE.