United 1 Wolves 0
MANCHESTER United progressed to the Carling Cup last 16 despite playing for over an hour with 10 men against Wolves. Full-back Fabio Da Silva was sent off early on for a professional foul on Michael Kightly, but Danny Welbeck scored after the break to send the Reds through. Fabio?s speed couldn?t contend with Wolves? 29th minute break after Wes Brown and the giant Stefan Maierhofer?s collision allowed the ball to run free and Michael Kightly came bursting through. The young South American made one clumsy effort to stop the striker and then a second rugby style effort finally halted his clear run on goal. The 19-year-old was distraught as he walked off down the tunnel. Seconds later it was Federico Macheda?s turn to be downcast as he was sacrificed by Sir Alex Ferguson in order to right the defence again by bringing on Ritchie de Laet to fill the vacant left back spot. It was an inauspicious ending for the Roman in comparison to his last Old Trafford outing when he struck that April stunner against Aston Villa. It was never going to be easy after the heart-stopping and breathtaking Manchester derby to replicate Sunday?s drama and not surprisingly Old Trafford took a breather after that exhausting afternoon. Not a single starter from the local showdown began against the Premier League newcomers and there were only four survivors who started at Wembley last March in the League Cup final when the Reds beat Spurs in another thrilling story. Old Trafford excitement The three-quarter-filled stadium were hardly on the edge of their seats with only rare moments of goalmouth excitement providing value for money. Apart from a couple of trademark crisp strikes from Darron Gibson the nearest United came in the first half to a goal was a header from derby hero Michael Owen. But whereas on Sunday he was lethal a 34th minute effort here was lifeless. It was hard to tell that Wolves had a one-man advantage such was United?s ability to cover up for the loss of Fabio and their domination. Frustratingly for the fans United?s superiority was never truly transformed into a procession of goal opportunities. The game had all the hallmarks of a stalemate destined for another turgid half hour of extra time and penalties so Welbeck?s 66th minute winner was greeted with a huge roar of relief that not only would the holders progress but everybody could get to bed early. It was the one true moment of quality of the whole event. Carrick played a ball to the Mancunian striker who exchanged a swift one-two with Owen before he drilled in a low shot that his more experienced front partner would have been proud of. Mick McCarthy brought on his sub Kevin Doyle in an attempt to drag the match out and in the late stages he nearly swept two efforts home as he brought a threat to the Midlanders attack. While this may have been a United League Cup line up bearing the look of a more senior squad enjoying some pitch time to add to United?s fans enjoyment of watching local lad Welbeck strike the winner they also had a nine minute view of his replacement Joshua King. The Norwegian youngster had only been afforded a senior squad number 24 hours before this match but he served notice that with Welbeck having put the Reds into round four he might enjoy some more first team opportunities in the tournament. What is your verdict on the action? Have your say.
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