Fulham X Man United X: Tevez at the double in Cottage cakewalk
07 March 2009 06:58
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson made two changes to his starting XI for the FA Cup quarter-final against Fulham, with Cristiano Ronaldo not in the matchday squad. Ronaldo had been involved in United's recent busy schedule was rested while striker Dimitar Berbatov was on the bench at Craven Cottage.
South American duo Anderson and Carlos Tevez were drafted in as United continued their fight on three remaining fronts having already secured the Club World Cup and Carling Cup.Fulham were unchanged from the side that were defeated by a last-gasp Hull goal in midweek, with skipper Danny Murphy leading the side out.
United gave the hosts a warning within three minutes after Brede Hangeland carelessly gave the ball away.Wayne Rooney stabbed the ball to Tevez and his shot was saved at full stretch by Mark Schwarzer, with John Pantsil beating Rooney to the rebound. Fulham's solidarity at home has been built on defence but in the 13th minute they showed their attacking threat when Simon Davies lofted a ball over the top. Andrew Johnson got his toe on the ball on the edge of the area to wrong-foot Edwin van der Sar, with Nemanja Vidic required to race back and clear before it trickled over the line.Van der Sar plucked Clint Dempsey's header from under the crossbar then Bobby Zamora, who had provided the cross for the American, fired over from the edge of the area.Their good start was undone in the 20th minute when United took the lead. Anderson's corner was flicked on by Rooney and Tevez steered his header between the post and Paul Konchesky.
Fulham were almost offered an immediate equaliser when Vidic nearly headed over Van der Sar - but the United goalkeeper saved the blushes of his centre-back.
Rooney had set up the opener and he was trying his hardest to add a second, including a 50-yard effort that went just over the bar. The England striker was unfortunate to be flagged for offside when he rounded Schwarzer and tucked the ball home. Tevez slipped his strike-partner through and Rooney went wide, then he struck the post when Ji-sung Park cross from the right flank. Fulham still showed ambition and Davies snatched at a shot from the edge of the area when Zamora chested the ball into his path.But Tevez added the second with 10 minutes remaining in the first half with his stunning second.
The Argentina forward picked the ball up on the halfway line, headed towards goal and cut inside before finding the top corner with a fearsome strike.Fulham had a penalty claim turned down when Zamora appeared to have his shirt pulled by John O'Shea, and Rio Ferdinand blocked bravely when Johnson raced through. O'Shea almost finished off a long passing move before the break, after Michael Carrick threaded the ball through, but Schwarzer saved at the near post.
Head for heights: Bobby Zamora and Nemanja Vidic battle to win the ball
Ferdinand was taken off at the break after appearing to pick up a knock, then United were three goals ahead within five minutes of the restart.
Dickson Etuhu's poor clearance eventually found its way to Rooney, who curled an effort from 20 yards that found the bottom corner. The third goal prompted Ferguson to take off O'Shea and give Richard Eckersley a run.
Fulham took off Johnson and Murphy, with Diomansy Kamara and Olivier Dacourt coming on. Park had a couple of efforts that required Schwarzer to save, with United looking to add to their advantage. Rooney had second-half tussles with Dempsey and Etuhu that almost boiled over - he was taken off in the 64th minute which ensured there would be no needless bookings.