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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Manchester United Vs. Derby County Highlights Video

United can add a third League Cup to the honours board on 1 March after booking a place in the Wembley final with a thrilling 4-2 win at Old Trafford.

Trailing 1-0 from the away leg, the Reds wasted little time in taking control of this tie with first-half goals from Nani, John O’Shea and Carlos Tevez. But the world champions needed a penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo to make absolutely sure of victory in the second half when substitute Giles Barnes claimed a memorable brace for brave Derby County.

Sir Alex Ferguson made two changes to the side which slipped to a first-leg defeat at Derby, with Ben Foster making his first start in goal since the quarter-final victory over Blackburn and Ryan Giggs replacing Paul Scholes in midfield.

Though United started strongly, Kris Commons soon reminded us why the Rams came to Old Trafford with an advantage when he unleashed a tremendous shot not dissimilar to his goal at Pride Park; this one swerved just wide with Foster pawing the air.

Moments later Ryan Giggs tested his former team-mate Roy Carroll with a teasing ball towards the back post and while the Derby goalkeeper coped well with this one, he had no answer to United’s glorious opener.

If stunning goals marked Nani’s arrival at Old Trafford, then another could reignite his form in a challenging second season. There seemed little danger to Derby when he picked up the ball close to halfway but seconds later it was nestling in the net after the Portuguese raced at the Rams’ defence and cut inside to strike an unstoppable shot beyond Carroll.

Rafael’s rash challenge on Derby left-winger Steve Davies brought the game’s first yellow card. In the ensuing play from the free-kick, Gary Neville was twice called upon to make commanding headers at the heart of defence, the second directed into the hands of his own goalkeeper.

John O’Shea doubled United’s lead in the 22nd minute when Danny Welbeck fed a first-time ball into the area and the Irishman steadied himself before sliding a low shot to Carroll’s right. O’Shea lapped up the applause and why not, it being his first goal since April 2007 when he scored in the pivotal 4-2 league win at Everton.

Carroll’s agility thwarted a third inside the first 30 minutes when Welbeck’s shot hit the ground and bounced up dangerously, only for the Rams keeper to flick the ball over the bar. But the Reds would not be denied for much longer and when Rafael whipped in a superb cross from Ryan Giggs’ short corner, Tevez was perfectly placed to nod home emphatically from six yards.

The third goal’s provider almost turned goal scorer when he raced forward yet again, traded a one-two with Giggs and lashed a rising shot into the side netting. It was to be Rafael’s last act unfortunately – picking up an injury, he left the field shortly before half-time to be replaced by Darren Fletcher.

The Reds started the second half in the same attacking manner but when Nani swung a boot with the fans urging him to shoot, the Portuguese found only fresh air under a foul challenge from Rams substitute Robbie Savage. From the resulting free-kick Giggs almost punished his former Wales and United youth team-mate, but his neatly curled free-kick was palmed away by Carroll.

Another near miss left Tevez clutching his head in agony – the Argentine’s aim was true but the linesman rightly spotted he’d strayed offside before beating Carroll again.

Bringing on Cristiano Ronaldo seemed almost a cruel act by Sir Alex Ferguson but far from being intimidated, the Rams launched the very next attack and almost pulled a goal back when Neville’s touch on Rob Hulse’s cross skidded fractionally wide of the far post. Hulse later won Derby’s first corner with a shot on the turn and when United struggled to clear the setpiece, Paul Green fired just over the top.

Derby’s reshuffle after an injury to centre-back Andy Todd reflected their predicament – chasing the game, Nigel Clough sent on Dutch attacking midfielder Nacer Barazite, a loan signing from Arsenal. Later he replaced Kris Commons, another injury victim, with fit-again prospect Giles Barnes.

The most significant substitution, however, saw Sir Alex give 19 year-old James Chester his United debut. The reserve team captain replaced his senior counterpart Gary Neville in the 67th minute and while the 3-0 cushion suggested it would be an easy introduction, Derby pressed enough to make it a decent test for the teenager. Hulse headed over from Paul Connolly’s cross, for example, as Jonny Evans nursed a worrying injury at the heart of United’s now unfamiliar defence.

Evans’ woes were compounded when his sliding challenge brought Green down in the box and referee Mike Dean pointed to the penalty spot in the 79th minute. Derby sub Barnes despatched the dead ball with aplomb to Foster’s right and set Old Trafford up for a tense last ten with only more goal needed to take the tie into extra-time.

Carroll made a double save to deny a Portuguese one-two, stopping Ronaldo’s shot with his feet and then punching away the rebound effort from Nani. But Derby’s hero in that moment turned villain when he crazily hacked down Tevez for another penalty, this time at the Stretford End, and Ronaldo did the rest to end the contest, surely?

In fact, the action didn't end there. After the Portuguese's powerfully drilled shot made it 4-1 on the night, Barnes struck a free-kick in off the post for his and Derby’s second goal of a dramatic semi-final night in the Manchester rain.

Manchester United Vs. Derby County Highlights Video

Manchester United [4 - 2] Derby County
16' [1 - 0] Nani
22' [2 - 0] J. O'Shea
34' [3 - 0] C.A. Tevez
80' [3 - 1] G. Barnes (pen.)
89' [4 - 1] C. Ronaldo (pen.)
90' [4 - 2] G. Barnes

16' 1-0 Nani [Manchester Unt.]

22' 2-0 O' Shea [Manchester Unt.]

34' 3-0 Carlos Tevez [Manchester Unt.]

80' 3-1 Barnes [Derby]

89' 4-1 (pen) Cristiano Ronaldo [Manchester Unt.]

90' 4-2 Barnes [Derby]