Much was expected from Manchester United when they hosted Manchester City at the Old Trafford for the second leg of the Carling Cup semifinals; and the Red Devils did not fail to make their fans happy at the end of the day.
3-1 was the final score line in favor of the Red Devils, and on the scoring sheet were Paul Scholes, Michael Carrick, Carlos Tevez, and Wayne Rooney.
Rooney was good enough to put the pressure on the Citizens after only 8 minutes, shooting from long range, but the ball went straight into the arms of the well-positioned Shay Given.
City got their first chance of the game later on when Shaun Wright-Phillips formed the attack for his side. His cross found Craig Bellamy; however Edwin Van der Sar was cautious and made no mistake in recovering perfectly for the home side.
The Bellamy-Tevez attacking duo was a real sign of danger for the United defense in the following minutes of the game, but fortunately for Fergie, Van der Sar and Rio Ferdinand were always at their best to contain the two strikers.
The first half ended goalless for both sides, and one could imagine that both coaches had a lot to tell their players in the dressing room. Indeed, the heat went up in the second half, and City directly attempted to snatch the lead.
A superb tackle from Micah Richards was the creation of a decent opportunity for the center back to produce something positive for Manchester City. His powerful bullet outside the penalty zone flew towards the top right-hand side of the goal; but luckily for Manchester United fans, Van der Sar‘s eyes saw the ball coming quick enough to punch it away for a corner.
A poor corner from City turned into a glorious chance for United. The Red Devils didn’t waste any time in cruising forward in search of the opener.
Wonder-man Wayne Rooney superbly passed the ball to Giggs, who sent it at the center after being forced wide by Given. City tried to clear the danger out, but Carrick arrived and handed the ball over to Paul Scholes, who crushed the ball low into the corner of the net.
Manchester United had taken a brilliant 1-0 lead against Manchester City, and they had even more on 71 minutes – when Carrick enlightened his side’s hopes of playing in the Carling Cup final by adding to the tally to make the score line 2-0 for the Mancunians.
Wayne Rooney then wasted an opportunity to make the score 3-0, shooting wide from close range after a cool run by Patrice Evra.
It looked like this splashing of the ball from the home side did not go unpunished, as City pulled a goal back shortly after.
Rio Ferdinand thought he was in control at the back, preparing to reject from cross by Craig Bellamy, but at his surprise, Carlos Tevez came out of nowhere to blast the ball past a stunned Van der Sar – and eventually get his third goal of the semifinals. 2-1 was the result at that moment.
Manchester City were looking forward to killing off their opponents in extra time; nevertheless, they had forgotten that Old Trafford was the Theater of Dreams…
An injury time corner for Manchester United was smoothly taken by Ryan Giggs. The ace decided to go for a cross which found Wayne Rooney, and the phenomenal striker – then unmarked – headed the ball at the back of the net to send the Red Devils into the Carling Cup final.
3-1 was the final score line for Manchester United, and with no extra time, Manchester City only had to believe their eyes and accept an unpreventable defeat.
Manchester United will now face Aston Villa in the Carling Cup final.
Watch the video highlights of “Manchester United 3-1 Manchester City” in the Wayne Rooney Video Gallery.
Isaac Asante, Footballfantalk.com
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