Man United put their troubles from the last week behind them as they beat arch rivals Man City 3-2 at Eastlands.
Roberto Mancini was left fuming with referee Chris Foy after the official sent his captain Vincent Kompany off for a two footed challenge just eleven minutes into the game. By that stage United had taken the lead and drew first blood thanks to a fine goal from Wayne Rooney. Despite a bright start from the holders, Giggs found Rooney in space before the former Everton man spotted Valencia on the right who in turn whipped in a drilled cross for Rooney to meet at full tilt and crash off the underside of the bar and put the visitors into an early lead.
A lot of the talk before the game was the speculation surrounding Rooney’s future. A newspaper article published on Friday suggested his time at Old Trafford was over following another row with Fergie but if his celebration was anything to go by, the striker isn’t going anywhere for now.
Just moments after Rooney had put United into the lead, the game took another dramatic twist as Vincent Kompany lunged in on Nani to be shown a red card. The Belgian international might have been slightly hard done by but he did go in two footed and both feet were off the ground before he made contact with the ball. The Ethiad Stadium was shocked and United doubled their lead moments after Anders Lindegaard pulled off a fine save from Aguero. Nani linked up well with Evra down the left, the United skipper drilled a low ball into the box before Danny Welbeck superbly hooked the ball towards the far corner and gave ‘keeper Pantilimon no chance.
United were now in full swing in the Manchester rain and it was 3-0 before long as Welbeck was tumbled by Kolarov in the box and the referee had no hesitation at awarding the spot kick. Up stepped Rooney but his initial effort was well saved by the giant Costel Pantilimon but United’s number ten followed up and headed home from a couple of yards.
It seemed as if the visitors would hammer home their advantage before the break as they dominated the last few exchanges of the opening half. Mancini feared an onslaught in the second half and after seeing what happened at Old Trafford earlier in the season, the Italian withdraw Silva and Johnson and brought on defenders Zabaleta and Savic. He might have been regretting that decision as Kolarov’s free kick brought City back into the tie just minutes into the second period.
Despite lifting their fans, the home side were pushed back by United who kept the ball well but failed to create a clear cut second half chance. They were denied a stone wall penalty though as Valencia tormented the less than impressive Kolorav down the right before the defender clumsily hauled down the United winger but perhaps referee Foy might have had a little word in his ear at the break.
United’s injury worries are bad, so bad it seems that Paul Scholes announced before the game he was coming out of retirement and United followed with issuing a statement that the midfielder had been signed on a deal until the end of the season. Hard to believe but he came on for Nani with half an hour to go just six months after his farewell testimonial. It was he though that aided City back into the game as his sloppy lay off let Milner advance down the right before finding Aguero free in the box. His effort was stopped by the United shot stopper but Lindegaard couldn’t handle the greasy ball and the Argentine Aguero followed up to slot home. It was game on but with a one man advantage, United kept possession well and ran the clock down with Scholes at the heart of it. Despite surviving a late scare, Fergie’s men advance to the fourth round and knock out their bitter rivals Man City- slight revenge for that game?