Date: 8th January 2012 at 3:03pm
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United edged past City, in a five goal thriller; to reach the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Team News – Sir Alex`s starting eleven looked to be the strongest he could pick considering the injury problems that have beset the club. The only surprise, after praising De Gea in the morning press was his decision to stick with the `cheaper` option, transfer-wise, Anders Lindegaard in goal. Paul Scholes, having announced his return from retirement, was on the bench.

United – Lindegaard, Evra, Jones, Ferdinand, Smalling, Giggs, Carrick, Nani, Valencia, Rooney, Welbeck

Subs – De Gea, Evans, Rafael, Anderson, Park, Scholes, Hernandez

First Half – United go the action underway but it was to be City that were to press United back into their own area in the opening exchanges. In fact, in the first eight minutes in the Manchester rain, United couldn`t get out of there own area.

But in the ninth minute, with our first attack, we were ahead. Giggs released the ball to Rooney, who in turn fed it out wide to Valencia and when the cross came in it was the advancing Rooney that climbed to head the ball home off the under-side of the bar.

City 0 United 1 (Rooney – 9 minutes)

For Manchester City matters went from bad to worse three minutes later when Chris Foy deemed that a low challenge on Nani was a red card offence and Kompany trudged off.

Lindegaard produced a good save to deny Aguero when the Argentine`s curling shot looked destined for the top corner. Jones shrugged off a leg injury to continue and the home sides hopes were raised when Silva skipped past two defenders but saw his shot deflected wide.

Giggs, playing superbly in the middle of the park, released the ball for Nani to see his shot blocked before, down the other end, Aguero hit the side netting with a shot.

On the half hour mark United doubled their lead. Evra got in down the left and when it looked as if the danger was going to be cleared Welbeck produced an acrobatic volley to leave the keeper grasping a thin air.

City 0 United 2 (Welbeck – 30 minutes)

Nine minutes later, with United well on top, Welbeck was brought down in the penalty area and Chris Foy had no qualms about pointing to the spot. Rooney stepped up but saw Pantilimon dive the correct way to beat his shot away, fortunately the ball looped perfectly up in the air for Rooney to nod home.

City 0 United 3 (Rooney – 39 minutes)

As half time approached united could have had a fourth when a wonderful ball in from Valencia, skidded across the face of the goal with Welbeck inches away from getting a decisive touch.

Half Time – City 0 United 3

Second Half – If United thought the second half would be a cruise they were wrong. Three minutes into the half City reduced the arrears when Evra hauled down Richards and from the free kick Kolarov produced a stunner that dipped over the wall and into the bottom corner.

City 1 United 3 (Kolarov – 48 minutes)

United responded with a header form Nani that went wide whilst Jones, driving into the box, won a corner that was struck wide by Rooney when the ball was worked back to him.

Just before the hour mark, Sir Alex brought on Scholes, taking off Nani and United believed they should have had a penalty when KolArov clearly obstructed Valencia as he went to go past the full back.

With sixty-four minute son the clock, City reduced the arrears further when Aguero netted following a sloppy pass from Scholes. Lindegaard did well to keep out the initial striker but the Argentine striker reacted well to turn the rebound home.

City 2 United 3 (Aguero – 64 minutes)

United, keeping possession against the ten-men in an effort to drain their fitness, saw Scholes drove a rasping low shot wide before Sir Alex introduced Anderson in place of Welbeck.

City, as the clock ran own, believed they should have had a penalty when the ball struck Jones` arm but Chris Foy waved play on. With three minutes of stoppage time announced we were treated to a frantic finale whereby the City keeper got his head to a corner but couldn`t guide the ball towards the net.

United were through.

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