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Gibson double ends cup dream

Posted on 1 December 2009  - 12:00

Our Carling Cup journey for season 2009-10 came to an end at Old Trafford when two first half goals from Darron Gibson proved enough for Manchester United to progress to the semi-final stage.

Gibson double ends cup dream

Our Carling Cup journey for season 2009-10 came to an end at Old Trafford when two first half goals from Darron Gibson proved enough for Manchester United to progress to the semi-final stage.

It was a half where the tempo was for long periods dictated by the team in white, but it was simply a case of United taking their chances, while defending stoutly at the other end.

Harry Redknapp made five changes to the team that started at Aston Villa at the weekend, with Alan Hutton, Gareth Bale, David Bentley, Jermaine Jenas and Robbie Keane all drafted in.

There was an early danger signal when Wilson Palacios dwelled on the ball too long and was dispossessed by Anderson, the Brazilian rushing forward and shooting wide of Heurelho Gomes' right-hand post.

United were quicker out of the blocks and snappier in their work in the opening minutes, but a dash down the left from Aaron Lennon soon put United on the back foot and Jermain Defoe then worked Tomasz Kuszczak for the first time with a drive to the keeper's right after smart work from Hutton and Keane.

The boys appeared to be warming to their task and Bale employed a masterful piece of trickery to leave Gary Neville stranded before embarking on a sortie into the penalty area. Bentley likewise cleverly evaded Anderson in move that resulted in Jenas misfiring over the crossbar.

Hutton and Bentley were proving a lively combination down the right flank, but a goal against the run of play on 16 minutes offered renewed momentum to the home side. Anderson cut inside from the left and rolled into the path of Gibson, who took aim and fired low past Gomes.

United were playing on the counter attack and Gomes had to be quick off his line in order to beat Gabriel Obertan to the ball. At the other end Bale delivered a superb measured cross that landed at the feet of Defoe. The striker took a touch that enabled a double block on his effort - in particular the full-back Ritchie De Laet.

The passing was slick and precise, the movement good, it was a case of creating a decisive breakthrough. Keane was in position to profit from an excellent ball from Defoe, but could not find a way past Nemanja Vidic, who cut an imposing figure at the heart of the home defence.

A Dimitar Berbatov chip came close to picking up Park Ji-Sung in front of goal on 35 minutes, with Bale doing just enough to put the Korean off.

There was no such luck on 38 minutes when Berbatov and Anderson combined to present a shooting chance to Gibson just outside the area and the midfielder curled a fine finish high into the top corner, defeating the outstretched arms of Gomes.

After lengthy periods of possession and some eye-catching football, it was hard to believe that the team faced a two-goal deficit going into the break.

A determined Defoe did his best to see that this was not the case when he placed Kuszczak under pressure, but subsequent shots from Palacios and Bentley did not come close to troubling the goalkeeper.

Tom Huddlestone was added to the mix after the break to replace Palacios and add a new dimension to our midfield dynamic, but it was Danny Welbeck for United who had the first half chance of the second period, his intentions thwarted by Hutton.

A surge forward by the full-back resulted in his efforts to pick out Defoe being cut out before a Lennon cross just cleared the head of Keane.

More cunning from Bale saw the Wales international work his way down the flank before squaring to the unmarked Bentley in front of goal, who struck first time and unfortunately straight at Kuszczak who was able to palm away.

Bentley headed wide from another Bale cross with 25 minutes on the clock, immediately before Peter Crouch was introduced in place of Keane.

An Anderson burst through our defences was repelled by Gomes as United appeared to be comfortable in clicking through the gears with the security of a two-goal advantage.

A couple of set pieces caused some concern for Kuszczak, but the tempo of the game had gone a little flat and Wembley again in this competition will have to wait.

United: Kusczszak; Neville, Brown, Vidic, De Laet; Park, Anderson (Tosic, 82), Gibson, Obertan (Carrick, 63); Berbatov (Macheda, 63), Welbeck. Unused subs: Amos, Owen, Giggs, Fletcher.

Spurs: Gomes; Hutton, Dawson, Bassong, Bale; Bentley, Jenas, Palacios (Huddlestone, 46), Lennon; Keane (Crouch, 66), Defoe. Unused subs: Walker, Pavlyuchenko, Naughton, Corluka, Rose.