United, this evening, crashed out of the FA Cup to arch-rivals Manchester City.
For the semi-final, Sir Alex had to make do without the suspended Rooney. The boss chose to go with Berbatov up front with Hernandez, despite his recent glut of goals, on the bench. Elsewhere, Nani and Valencia were both selected, hoping to use the flanks to unsettle City, whilst Scholes was given the nod, in midfield to partner Carrick.
With Sir Alex sat in the stands, still banned, United got the action underway. The first few minutes saw some frantic action and a couple of unpunished feisty tackles go unpunished.
Van der Sar belied his age to rush out and thwart Balotelli before United, on the quarter of an hour mark, created two glorious chances. The first, after City lost possession, saw a neat interchange of passing by Park and Scholes set up Berbatov but Hart, in the City goal, produced a great save. Seconds later, when the ball was worked back in; a Nani cross should have been converted by Berbatov but from three yards out his effort somehow cleared the bar.
Carrick saw a shot blocked before United forced a couple of corners. The first, after a Carrick cross had been turned behind, saw a Berbatov header land on the roof of the net whilst a second, after a Nani cross had been turned behind, saw Vidic head wide when well placed.
Carrick, fouled outside the box by Barry, allowed Nani to take the free kick and his shot was deflected behind for a corner, from the resulting corner Berbatov saw his header go wide.
As the half hour mark was passed, City sprung to life. Barry hit the side-netting before Balotelli unleashed a thirty-yard shot that Van der Sar tipped over the bar. Some good work from Johnson saw City win a corner and when the ball found Lescott, some ten yards out, his volley flew narrowly over the bar.
Nani saw a volley fly wide before a run by Yaya Toure saw a shot deflected for a corner. The ball was worked to Kompany who saw his shot go narrowly wide.
It had been an interesting first half.
Half Time – United 0 City 0
City started the second half playing much the better football. An early cross form Kolarov caused problems and City went ahead seven minutes into the half. It came after Carrick had lost possession with a poor pass, Toure strode forward, shrugged off a challenge and netted through the legs of Van der Sar.
United 0 City 1 (Yaya Toure – 52 minutes)
United were not having the best of times and City were looking as if they could double their lead. Van der Sar had to turn behind a cross from Johnson whilst Ferdinand had to hack clear conceding a corner moments later. Silva produced another telling cross that Lescott headed wide and United were rocking. From a free kick Nani saw his shot tipped, brilliantly, on to the bar by Hart, could United get any closer?
Midway, almost, through the half, matters went from bad to worse. Scholes mistimed a tackle and caught Kolarov with an awful tackle and was shown the red card. Hernandez and Anderson were introduced as United tried to wrestle something from the game.
Carrick saw a shot saved by Hart whilst Hernandez saw a shot blocked by Hart. Park, as the pressure increased, saw his header saved by Hart and although there were five minutes of stoppage time it was City that looked the stronger with Van der Sar producing two stops.
Dreams of the Treble might be over but we`ve still got a lot to look forward tO have we not!
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