Rooney takes Manchester United into Carling Cup final
MANCHESTER: The red half of Manchester triumphed over the blue in a tense and pulsating encounter in the second leg of the Carling Cup semi-final at Old Trafford. United won 3-1 on the night thanks to goals from Paul Scholes, Michael Carrick and a stoppage time winner from Wayne Rooney.
With seconds remaining on the clock, Rooney headed in a crucial 3rd goal to take United to the hallowed greens of Wembley for the Carling Cup finals. Carlos Tevez, had a part in the proceedings too as he levelled the two teams on aggregate with a classy finish of his own.
However, the former United hit-man''s 3 goal haul over the two legs against his previous employers wasn''t enough as United emerged victorious in their defence of the Cup.
Manchester United and Manchester City squared up in a match that was being billed as no less than a Champions League final. The local rivals had the carrot dangling before their very eyes - a place at Wembley in the Carling Cup final against Aston Villa.
City had the edge in the match because of their 2-1 win at Eastlands in the first leg a couple of weeks ago. United on the other hand, had plenty of big match experience to overturn the deficit and also had a crucial away goal as an added bonus.
Carlos Tevez, after his virtuoso performance at Eastlands had been in the news a lot in the run up to the clash, and was a marked man on victory night. Sir Alex fielded a side bereft of a second striker in support of the irrepressible Wayne Rooney.
Ryan Giggs and Nani were the two wide men while Carrick, Fletcher and Scholes were the men in the engine room, of the United midfield. Rio Ferdinand, started the game with Johnny Evans at the back with Rafael and Patrice Evra as the right and left backs while Edwin Van der Sar took his place between the posts.
City on the other hand were looking to display their attacking wares and had a team built to attack on the counter, Tevez, Bellamy and Shaun Wright Phillips were expected to provide the attacking thrust. De Jong, Zabaleta and Barry were the mid field generals for Roberto Mancini''s team.
Kompany and Boyata were the central defence pairing whileRichards and Garrido were employed as the right and left backs. Shay Given, City''s saviour on many an occasion was the custodian in goal.
The difference between the two teams could have been the bench strength. United boasted of players of the calibre of Berbatov, Owen, Valencia and Vidic while City only had the returning Togolese international Emmanuel Adebayor, who could really come on and change a game.
United had a string of corners at the start to dominate the early proceedings. It was a measured start from both teams with United dominating and City defending stoutly.
In the opening 15 minutes, United had plenty of dead ball situations but couldn''t make the most of them. The only piece of excitement was a flailing arm from Rio Ferdinand which seemed to catch Tevez flush on the face much to the cheer of a baying home crowd, the referee as one would expect on such a night missed what 75,000+ at Old Trafford had seen. Every touch from the former United man was greeted by a loud chorus of boos from the United faithful.
City almost edged ahead of United in the 24th minute following a fast break led by Tevez and it was only a despairing lunge from Rio Ferdinand that saved United from falling behind. It was another close shave for United as on another day, many a referee would have happily given a penalty without much of a fuss. The midfield battle, was being dominated by City as United struggled to get the ball to their prime target Wayne Rooney.