Carlos Tevez scored a dramatic double against his former club as the blues take a slender advantage in the 1st Leg of the Carling Cup Semi-Final.
After September’s 4-3 thriller at Old Trafford, the game was given extra spice but the first ten minutes failed to live up to expectations as both team defended deeply.
But that changed in the 17th minute. Javier Garrido left winger Antonio Valencia completely unmarked down the right wing and his cross was met by Wayne Rooney but Shay Given parried his shot into the path of Ryan Giggs who gave United the lead with a simple tap-in.
City began to press and Tevez had a good chance to equalise when Shaun Wright-Phillips escaped down the right and crossed into the box but Tevez was unable to turn his header goalwards.
Roberto Mancini changed his formation and moved Craig Bellamy out to the left and his tactic worked three minutes before half time. Tevez released the Welshman who was then pulled back outside the box by Rafael. The Brazilian let go but made contact again in the box, Bellamy went to ground and the referee awarded City a penalty, much to the derision of the United players.
Old Trafford’s unwanted man Carlos Tevez stepped up to take the spot kick and hit it with such power that it could well have broken the net. City had the impetus and knew the game could be won in the second half.
Rooney had a chance early in the second half as Vincent Kompany lost sight of the ball and the England man but Given was alert to the danger and blocked the shot. Giggs could have given United the lead for a second time on the hour mark but Given was again equal to it.
His miss would be punished five minutes later and it was that man Tevez again doing the punishing. Bellamy’s corner was not dealt with by the United defence and Kompany hooked the ball into the six yard box for Tevez to score with the easiest of headers with United appealing in vain for offside.
Wright-Phillips almost made it three after a sweeping move but Van Der Sar just got his body down in time to block the shot.
With 18 minutes left, Ferguson threw on Michael Owen who, shortly after coming on, played Rooney into the area. His shot was blocked again by Given and the rebound fell to Owen whose goal bound effort was cleared by Nedum Onuoha.
United pressed further and Rooney saw another attempt saved by Given as normal time ran into five minutes of extra time. Unfortunately for Ferguson and United, five minutes is all they got and the attention now switches to Old Trafford next Wednesday for the second leg.
City need only to draw the game to progress to their first major final for 29 year. What are the odds on them doing it?
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