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Man United 3 Man City 1 (United win 4-3 on agg): Rooney finds killer blow

28 Jan 2010 10:40:14

Man United 3 Man City 1 (United win 4-3 on agg): Rooney finds killer blow

To Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Teddy Sheringham now add the name Wayne Rooney. To the list of great stoppage-time goals from the men who have so valiantly served Sir Alex Ferguson in 23 remarkable years at Manchester United, add the header that the finest striker in England produced to settle this stunning Carling Cup semi-final on Wednesday night. It was an extraordinary encounter. From Ferguson's decision to start with Rio Ferdinand to the sight of Michael Carrick seemingly securing victory with a quite brilliant, 71st-minute finish. Unbelievable drama: Wayne Rooney nods the winner for United From the moment when Carlos Tevez dared try to extend it for afurther 30 nerve-shredding minutes, possibly even penalties, to theexplosion of emotion when Rooney struck in the second minute ofsecond-half stoppage time. 'The white Pele' was how one poster described him here at OldTrafford and the greatest player in history would not have disapproved. For Ferguson this would have been every bit as sweet as that Everybit as satisfying when the thought of losing to those 'noisyneighbours' at Manchester City amounted to the stuff of nightmares atthe Theatre of Dreams. The selection of Ferdinand demonstrated just how important it was toUnited's manager. More important, seemingly, than what could yet be arecord fourth consecutive championship given the likely consequences ofappealing against that Football Association charge for violent conduct. Ferdinand could now miss four Barclays Premier League matches ratherthan two but for the first time during Ferguson's tenure, the CarlingCup took precedence. False dawn: Carlos Tevez restored parity on aggregate with a clever flick Judging by Ferguson's reaction to Rooney's goal it looked like itwas worth the risk, because City appear to have got to Ferguson in away that Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea have never quite managed. He is clearly incensed by their wild declarations of intent and whathe sees as a serious lack of respect. Infuriated by their posters andthe posturing of over-confident chief executive Garry Cook. It is whatmade this game so special. A derby to top all Manchester derbies and one that did not disappoint in terms of sheer drama. In the blue corner came a team looking to reach their club's firstWembley final in 29 years. Looking, in the words of manager RobertoMancini, to change history and launch a new era of success for thecash-rich pretenders. In the red corner came a side not just determined to remain at thepinnacle of English football but also to put those upstarts from acrossthe city back in their place. Hells Bells: Craig Bellamy is narrowly missed by a cider bottle Predictably, it was tense at first. Ferdinand was a rock at theheart of the United defence; Nigel de Jong a ubiquitous presencewhenever United dared attack. Rooney was an isolated figure for much ofthat opening half. Until Paul Scholes struck in the 51st minute this was threatening tobecome the night when United's neighbours became the worst kind ofsquatters. But Scholes had other ideas. One chance was all he required. One chance, at the end of a movesparked by a supreme ball from Rooney, and Scholes had once againdemonstrated that incredible finishing ability with his right foot. If the scores had stayed as they were, that would have meant extratime. A 1-0 win for United in normal time after City's 2-1 win atEastlands last week. A 1-0 win that would see United through on theaway goals rule if there were no further scores. Double whammy: Michael Carrick fizzes in United's second But then came the strike from Carrick in the 71st minute - awonderfully precise finish from the England midfielder. Set upbrilliantly by the irrepressible Darren Fletcher, Carrick somehowguided his shot through a sea of bodies and past Shay Given. Old Trafford erupted at that moment but the sense of elation wasshortlived. Five more minutes, with it the arrival of Emmanuel Adebayorfrom the bench, and 'you know who' had scored. 2-1 on the night. Heading for extra time again. Intent on making United pay forletting him leave Old Trafford at every opportunity, Tevez added to thetwo goals he scored at Eastlands with another one here. It was apoachers goal but a terrific one all the same. A ball to Craig Bellamy - struck minutes earlier on the back of thehead by a coin - was followed by a fine cross from the Welshman,inviting Tevez to accelerate in front of Ferdinand and guide a volleypast Edwin van der Sar with an outstretched boot. Crisp strike: Paul Scholes fired United ahead For Tevez it amounted to the perfect riposte. Another reply from thelittle Argentine striker so affronted by Gary Neville's comments in arecent newspaper column. But this time he would not have the last word. This time that wouldbelong to Rooney. Once his partner in attack but now his tormentor.City's tormentor. Ferguson, understandably, was ecstatic. It mattered not to him thathe had reached another final at Wembley. Mattered not to him that AstonVilla will be waiting for United on February 28. No love lost: Rio Ferdiand and Carlos Tevez collide When the stadium announcer reminded Old Trafford of the fact, nobodypaid a blind bit of notice. This was bigger than that. This meanteverything.  Your old man's a dustman and ours is really cool: Liam Gallagher backs stylish Roberto Mancini to outdo Sir Alex FergusonManchester on red alert as police make arrests ahead of derby at Old TraffordMANCHESTER UNITED FC


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