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United 3 City 1 (Utd win 4-3 on agg)
Published : 27 Jan 2010 22:28:58
WAYNE Rooney scored in injury time to send Manchester United into the Carling Cup final and leave City heartbroken once again. Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick put United in command before Carlos Tevez pulled the Blues back into contention. However, just as they did in the league game earlier this season, United delivered the hammer blow in added time as Rooney headed home. If there were any lingering doubts as to whether another Wembley appearance for United was paramount then Rio Ferdinand's name on the team sheet confirmed it. Having contested his violent conduct charge the Reds defender is risking an extra Premier League match ban if the FA decide he chose that option simply to play in the Manchester derby. The Reds know the consequences but Ferdinand in their rearguard is a must as far the Old Trafford camp are concerned and after Tevez's mayhem at Eastlands who can blame them. But it was almost a gamble that completely back-fired. Having been caught out by the cameras on Saturday on his return to the senior side the 31-year-old has risked another trial by video. Having settled into the tie better than the Blues with the Reds registering a Darren Fletcher header, a Wayne Rooney shot and a Paul Scholes screamer, Tevez lit up for the first time in the 20th minute and as Rio sought to get ahead of his former colleague his left arm connected suspiciously with the Argentine. If the Hull incident was picked out by the all seeing TV cameras then Ferdinand might be fortunate not to be facing a similar charge in the coming days. Tevez danger Fortunately the consequences didn't unhinge the England centre back and he and Jonny Evans doubled up to keep Tevez from causing maximum danger. Nevertheless, the South American was still a pain in the backside and Ferdinand needed to have his wits about him in the 24th minute to do enough to halt Tevez as he wriggled his way into the six-yard area. No matter the anti-Tevez feeling around Old Trafford United once again could have done with someone like him up front to help out Rooney. But that extra midfielder certainly counted when the Reds piled forward in the 52nd minute. Not surprisingly it was Rooney who initiated the killer counter-attack as he drilled a cross field pass to Giggs. City got back in numbers but so did the Reds engine room with Nani, Carrick and Scholes making up ground swiftly to halt the clearance. Finally it was nudged to Scholes and there is nobody better when you need power and accuracy. Sir Alex Ferguson had called for a European night atmosphere and had reminisced about the Barcelona semi here in `08. Scholes it was then who delivered a sensational strike to lift the roof off the stadium. The noise last night when Scholes' hit evaded Shay Given was every bit as ear-splitting. Any further misgivings about over filling the midfield were ditched when once again the Reds engine room got themsleves in City's box in numbers to score the second. Nani and Fletcher steamed into the box and finally forced the ball to Carrick. It was a cool sidefoot in a frenzied environment that appeared to send the Reds Wembley-bound. But with United in authority the Reds found their old team-mate too hot to handle yet again. Ferdinand must have forgot how brave the Argentine is and as he shaped to clear Bellamy's cross Tevez risked a raking stud to steer the ball home. However, late winners against the Blues in front of the Stretford End are a United forte this season as Rooney finally got a word in in this cracking tie. What is your verdict on the action? Have your say.