Wednesday, January 27, 2010

United 3 - 1 City (United win 4-3 on aggregate)

The question of whether a one goal lead from the first leg was enough was one talked about in the lead up to the return leg at Old Trafford. Whilst many thought it would be, in the end - like our performance this evening - it proved not to be as we ultimately fell short.

Inevitably, if we were going to exit the competition tonight it would be in heartbreaking fashion, and with time ticking down towards an added thirty minutes we conceded a soft goal that sent us crashing out.

The first half had gone as well as Mancini could have hoped, almost perfectly in fact. Setting up similarly to the first leg, United were restricted and with both sides playing a little cagily it was no surprise the half ended scoreless. Playing on the counter, we had carved a couple of opportunities through the attacking trio of Bellamy, Tevez and Wright-Phillips and suggested we had enough to stretch United in the second half as the game went on.

It was not to be though as we conceded early into the second half which sparked the game into life and make it a compelling affair. Not only did it put the tie back on level terms, but it really handed the initiative and ascendency to United, who looked the more likely to to score again as they forced us on the back foot.

Perhaps just when the tie was looking beyond us though, Carlos Tevez conjoured up a goal out of nothing with an instinctive finish to seemingly send the game into the extra time.

It was not to be though, and after missing a golden opportunity earlier on, Rooney headed home unmarked from a Giggs cross to send United through and kill hopes of a Wembley visit. Mancini talked beforehand about concentration, and for each of the goals as a defence we perhaps guilty of not adhering to this as on reflection they were all preventable.

No doubt there will be plenty of plaudits coming our way, and that we are on the cusp of achieving big things, but that is no consolation at the moment.

We are still to take that next step. So near, yet so far.

vote it up!

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