Man City 2 Man United 1: Tevez has final say as United are silenced

21 January 2010 12:38
Sir Alex Ferguson must feel those noisy neighbours are really starting to push their luck.

First they have the temerity to tell Manchester United to tone it down. Then they complain that they cannot hear them. And now they intend to come round next week and try to stop his boys making another visit to Wembley.

Much to Ferguson's very obvious disappointment, it was Carlos Tevez who did all the talking. Tevez who silenced Wayne Rooney, told Gary Neville to belt up and then ran in front of the dug-out and made what looked like a gesture to the same United directors who allowed him to cross the city to Eastlands.

'Fergie, Fergie sign him up,' United's supporters used to sing. Last night City's supporters delivered their very own version.

It did amount to a wonderful piece of theatre, not least when Tevezconverted the rather dubious penalty that dragged Roberto Mancini'sside back into this most intriguing Carling Cup semi-final.

On the spot: Tevez fires City level with a thumping penalty

Furious that it had even been awarded for what looked like a fouloutside the 18-yard box, United did everything they could to unnervetheir former colleague. Edwin van der Sar wasted so much time he wasbooked and Rooney appeared to bark abuse at him as he made his run-up,but Tevez ignored them before nervelessly blasting the ball into theroof of the United net.

It was a terrific penalty, the perfect riposte, and it gave him the opportunity to respond to comments he must have read, or at least heard about, yesterday.

Neville had publicly supported his manager's decision in refusing topay the money required to keep the diminutive Argentine at Old Traffordand Tevez replied by running to the touchline and telling the OldTrafford skipper, among the substitutes last night, exactly what hethought. 'You're all mouth,' seemed to be the message. Neville appearedto flick an angry response.

Tevez was not finished, though. Not by a long way. Having cancelledout a 17th minute opener from Ryan Giggs, he then made United reallypay. A second goal in the 66th minute, and with it not only theadvantage but the opportunity to dish out some more. On this occasionto his old paymasters.

A cupping of the hands suggested he still could not hear them, justas he couldn't when he made the exact same gesture after scoring forUnited against City at Old Trafford last season.

Loud and clear: Tevez turns to the travelling United fans with a clear message after scoring his second for City in front of an ecstatic Eastlands crowd

It must have been more than a little perplexing for Mancini. It hadnothing to do with him after all. But what a way to finish what he musthope will be the first of many such encounters. 'Welcome toCorrespondentManchester, Roberto.' It could have been a personalmessage from Tevez.

The advantage is with City. Not by much when the away goal Unitedscored could yet prove decisive if the scores are level at the end ofextra time next week. But it is an advantage Mancini should be contentwith after rather bullishly declaring that City could soon supersedeUnited as the biggest club in Manchester.

Old Trafford should prepare for another classic contest. A contestthat could yet rival that seven-goal thriller in September Fergusonconsiders the greatest Manchester derby in history.

For both sides so much is at stake. For City a real chance to go toWembley and end their 34-year wait for a trophy. For United thebragging rights they appear to consider more important than thecompetition itself.

When United reached the final last season, Ferguson played a mixture of reserves and first-team regulars and so allowed playerslike Ben Foster to taste a bit of success. But last night he selectedthe strongest side he possibly could, albeit a side missing key playerslike Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Dimitar Berbatov.

Two good: Tevez heads City in front at Eastlands

Their injury problems did not compare to City's however, even ifthere were players on the bench Mancini could have chosen ahead ofPablo Zabaleta. The full back was asked to occupy a more central rolethat sometimes added strength to City's midfield and sometimes saw himact as a foil to Tevez, and the fact that he was even asked to do itrevealed how little City's manager must think of Robinho.

For Mancini, though, the headaches did not end there. No centre-halves meant he had to select a youngster in Dedryck Boyata alongside a midfielder in Vincent Kompany and a lack of experience soon proved costly.

If Antonio Valencia did well to muscle his way past Craig Bellamyand deliver a low cross in the 17th minute, City's back four reallyshould have done better in dealing with the danger. As it was, Rooneymet the ball virtually unopposed and, when Shay Given parried, it wasGiggs who was there to strike from close range.

Ferguson could not hide his delight, immediately springing to his feet and throwing up his arms in celebration.

Delight: Tevez celebrates after putting City in front in the semi-final first leg

But the sense of elation did not last long. Not when City were asquick as they were in applying the pressure on a United defence alsoweakened by injury. Tevez probably should have scored when ShaunWright-Phillips sent in a teasing cross, but he drove his header intothe ground and wide.

De Jong went closer with a blstering effort in the 37th minute that forced a fine save from Edwin van derSar, but when Mike Dean awarded what appeared to be a rather dubiouspenalty in the 41st minute City drew level.

Rafael Da Silva certainly looked unlucky. Dean tried to tellUnited's players that Da Silva had tugged Bellamy's shirt not once buttwice but television replays suggested both fouls were committedoutside the area.

It mattered not to Tevez, of course. He ignored Van der Sar'sunsporting conduct and what seemed to be a few choice words from Rooneyand hit the ball as hard and as straight as he possibly could. Van derSar dived to his left. Bad call.

Perfect start: Ryan Giggs put United in front early on

It made for a wonderful second half. Micah Richards saw an effortcleared off the line by Evra and then Giggs threatened with a header.

But when Zabaleta seized on United's failure to clear a corner andKompany met his colleague's header with a ball into the six-yard box,it was Tevez who pounced and then ran to the dug-out.

Other opportunities followed. For Michael Owen, on as a substitute,and Valencia; for Wright-Phillips, too. But this was Tevez's night anda night when he finally had his say.

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Source: Daily_Mail