A titanic Carling Cup tussle saw the Championship side, Palace, make the last four after extra time.
Team News – Having threatened a complete team change from the eleven that started against Newcastle, on Saturday, Sir Alex Ferguson and that proved to be exactly the case as the boss made sweeping changes whilst also giving the bench a very youthful look. Although not a complete team change, there were ten changes with only Fabio keeping his place.
United – Amos, Fabio, Evans, Smalling, Rafael, Park, Valencia, Gibson, Berbatov, Macheda, Diouf
Subs – Lindegaard, Keane, Fryers, Pogba, Morrison, Cole, Lindgard
Speaking about his team selection and also explaining why there youngsters were not given a start, Sir Alex had this to say,
‘It’s a cup tie and a quarter-final and the opportunity to get into semi-finals is there for both teams tonight. We know we have a job to do. We have a starting line-up with nine internationals in it so we expect to do well. I would love to have given the young boys a chance but I have a lot of players needing games tonight so that’s why I have gone with an experienced team.’
First Half – Our visitors started well with one player, Wilfried Zaha, looking bright on the flank. Thankfully, United quelled the visitors` early enthusiasm and started to control the game, although with fifteen minutes gone, neither side had created a chance.
Having had a dodgy penalty awarded against us on Saturday, United were relieved to see Chris Foy wave play on as Fabio climbed all over Zaha with Palace asking for a penalty.
United responded with Valencia on a forceful run creating a chance for Berbatov but the Bulgarian hit his shot wide from twelve yards out. But Palace responded through that man Zaha who hit a shot over the bar after forcing his way into the United box.
Zaha was proving to be a real thorn in United`s side and Fabio received a yellow card for yet another foul on the Palace youngster. Palace were doing well and United were being pushed back into their own half. Matters were not improved when Fabio was forced to go off with a hamstring problem to be replaced by Fryers.
As half time approached United did have a chance when a deep cross from Valencia saw Diouf fire over the bar with a spectacular overhead kick.
Half Time – United 0 Palace 0
Second Half – Sir Alex introduced the highly rated Morrison for Berbatov at half time. The first decent chance of the half was fashioned by United when Valencia beat Gardner all ends-up but saw Lewis Price, in the Palace goal, pull off a tremendous save.
United were now playing at a higher tempo and Lewis was called into action soon after to deny Morrison`s strike from just outside the area. Morrison then forced Price into pulling off another good save with a low drive from a narrow angle.
Sir Alex made a third change introducing Pogba for Rafael. But the first shock of the game was to come when Ambrose, a second half substitute, put Palace ahead with a wonderful strike from some thirty five yards out. For a side that hadn`t scored for in excess of 400 minutes it was some goal to end the drought.
United 0 Palace 1 (Ambrose – 65 minutes)
Thankfully, United were to get back on level terms almost straight away, three minutes to be precise, when Chris Foy awarded United a penalty. Macheda stepped up to level matters after having been the one to have been pulled back by McCarthy.
United 1 Palace 1 (Macheda pen – 69 minutes)
With ten minutes to go it was becoming hard to pick a winner, although having lost their lead so soon after establishing it Palace were giving a good account of themselves still.
Indeed, it looked as if this one would go to extra time. Murray, on as a Palace substitute gave United a scare in stoppage time when his low shot hit the side netting. But extra time it was to be.
Extra Time – 1st Period – After a break of some seven minutes the first period of extra time got underway. As the action unfolded Gibson fired the first chance of the first period wide from some distance out.
But, once again it was to be the visitors who edged ahead when Murray netted, heading home, from close range a free-kick from Ambrose.
United 1 Palace 2 (Murray – 98 minutes)
As before, United could have responded straight away but Macheda, latching onto a flick from Diouf, fired wide.
Ambrose, looking lively, forced Amos into a save from a free-kick from forty yards out.
Extra Time – 2nd Period – Palace defended well in the opening stages of the second period of extra time and United were struggling to make inroads and time was to run out and Palace were through.
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