It was a game that actually lived up to the pre-game hype. In probably the most anticipated Carling Cup game in recent memory, defending champions Manchester United beat archrival Manchester City 3-1 to reach the League Cup final against Aston Villa.
Wayne Rooney’s 21st goal of the season in stoppage time prevented the Manchester derby going into extra time, and sent United through 4-3 on aggregate.
“There was a lot of spice and at the end there was a special kind of celebration,” United manager Alex Ferguson said. “We stayed patient and looked a threat when we stepped it up. I thought Wayne Rooney produced a world-class performance tonight, he played better than he did on Saturday when he scored four goals (against Hull). Phenomenal.”
After a tight first half, the game opened up in the second when goals from Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick seemed to have booked United’s trip to Wembley. But then, Carlos Tevez popped up once again to volley past van der Sar to level the semifinal at 3-3 on aggregate.
With away goals not counting until extra time, another 30 minutes was looming until United crushed City’s hearts once again in stoppage time. This time it was Wayne Rooney who headed past Shay Given in the second minute of stoppage time.
“We played very well—we were only under pressure for 10 minutes and in those 10 minutes we were very unlucky,” City manager Roberto Mancini said. “But the rest of the game we played very well and I feel very sorry for the players and the fans. I only give compliments to my players, we can go on and win the FA Cup now.”
28 February: Carling Cup Final Tickets:
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