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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Manchester United Outplay QPR But Only Just Win

Manchester United 1 QPR 0 Manchester United Official Site

United’s mixture of youth and experience reached the quarter-finals of the Carling Cup after overcoming a dogged Queens Park Rangers at a bitterly cold Old Trafford.

The Reds were much-changed after the weekend defeat by Arsenal but had enough to see off the Championship side in a scrappy game which only spluttered into life late in the second half.

Carlos Tevez broke the visitors' resistance from the penalty spot with 15 minutes left and United saw out the rest of the game without great alarm to reach the last eight for the first time since lifting the trophy three seasons ago.

As expected, Sir Alex Ferguson had opted to rest several of his senior players and hand starts to youngsters Jonny Evans, Darron Gibson and Rodrigo Possebon – the latter for the first time since suffering a leg injury in the last round against Middlesbrough.

And the Brazilian midfielder almost got on the end of Anderson’s sixth-minute corner, only to see the ball nicked from the top of his head.

Tevez started as the only out-and-out striker and was determined to impress, twice testing Radek Cerny from the edge of the box early on and then shaving the near post with a flick-on from John O’Shea’s cross.

Rangers, playing in a 4-5-1 formation, were largely effective in restricting United to long-range strikes in the first period. Anderson stung Cerny’s palms from the edge of the box, while Saturday’s goalscorer Rafael tried his luck again but his left-foot shot sailed over.

That said, the visitors offered nothing going forward, with Tomasz Kuszczak given little to do other than endure the freezing Manchester night air.

United began the second half with greater intent and Nani sent a flashing drive past Cerny’s right-hand post.

Ji-sung Park then went even closer with a rising shot that smacked the post after Rafael had superbly outfoxed two Rangers defenders on the byline.

Tevez was denied again minutes later as Cerny tipped over his powerful drive from an acute angle, before the Rangers keeper parried another drive from Anderson, still seeking his first Reds goal.

Danny Welbeck, whose only previous first-team appearance this season came in the last round of this competition, replaced Possebon with 20 minutes to go and had an immediate impact as he won the decisive penalty.

The pacy young striker ran onto Nani’s pass on the left-hand side of the box, poked the ball past Peter Ramage and was upended by the former Newcastle defender, leaving referee Phil Dowd with little choice but to point to the spot.

Tevez stepped up to send Cerny the wrong way and all but end any hopes Rangers had of forcing extra-time.

Gareth Ainsworth’s side were, however, forced to come out of their shell and Dexter Blackstock saw a shot blocked before substitute Samuel Di Carmine was flagged offside as he diverted the ball home.

Nani twice could have sealed it but Cerny was again on hand to deny him, before Emmanuel Ledesma curled QPR’s best chance of the game wide at the death.

No matter, United held on and are in the hat for the next round, just reward for another sound performance from Ferguson’s youngsters. Manchester United

QPR Official Site Match Report
QPR exited the Carling Cup after going down 1-0 at a drenched Old Trafford after a Carlos Tevez penalty condemned the R's to a long homeward journey.
In truth, the visitors never really threatened and were largely outplayed by their more illustrious hosts.
The R's put on a gutsy, determined defensive showing, with keeper Radek Cerny in sparkling form throughout to deny a host of United players.
But ultimately, a lack of creativity, compounded by an early injury to Akos Buzsaky, cost the R's a chance to pull off a shock victory.
For the trip up to Old Trafford, Caretaker Manager Gareth Ainsworth made three changes to the side that beat Cardiff City.
In came Saturday's match-winner Gavin Mahon to add steel to the midfield, whilst Spaniard Daniel Parejo and Hungarian Buzsaky gave the R's engine room a touch of panache.
Dexter Blackstock led the line alone once again, while the back five were handed a chance to keep a clean sheet against the reigning Premier League Champions.
With a larger than normal bench, Hogan Ephraim and Kaspars Gorkss were joined by Damian Delaney and Patrick Agyemang, amongst others.
United Manager Sir Alex Ferguson stuck to his policy of mixing youth and experience, handing starts to youngsters Rodrigo Possebon, Rafael, Darron Gibson and Jonny Evans. For know-how, Ferguson went with Gary Neville, Tevez and John O'Shea.
The United bench echoed the starting eleven, with the likes of Nemanja Vidic and Michael Carrick rubbing shoulders with Manucho and Danny Welbeck.
With the near-7,000 strong R's fans in full voice, the match began with United instantly settling into their quick and precise passing game.
Predictably, it was Radek Cerny who was forced into the first save of the tie, as he held well, despite Tevez's drive dipping through the swirling wind and rain.
The Argentine stung the palms of Cerny once again in the ninth minute, this time with a left-footed strike from the edge of the area. The Czech keeper fumbled the slippery ball, almost allowing Ji-Sung Park a chance, but recovered to gather at the second attempt.
United almost broke the deadlock again minutes later, as Tevez seized on Buzsaky's error and charged towards goal. As he burst into the box and tried to slip a pass across goal, Hall arrived in the nick of time to stick out a leg and block, allowing Cerny to collect.
Unfortunately, Buzsaky's night ended in premature heartache. Just like against Chelsea in last season's FA Cup third round, injury forced to him off early into the match, with Agyemang replacing him after 37 minutes.
The change did nothing to halt United's dominance. Anderson interchanged passes with Tevez bursting into the box, and fired a left foot shot that needed a diving lunge from Fitz Hall to block.
The home side were getting closer and Tevez shaved the post trying to glance home O'Shea's cute pass.
Rangers were hanging in there, with the Premiership experience of Mahon and Peter Ramage instrumental in keeping the scores level at the break.
Ainsworth made another change, this time tactical, at half time. Emmanuel Ledesma joined the fray at the expense of Parejo.
The half opened as the first ended, with United pressing relentlessly. Park tried to beat Cerny with a tame shot from the edge of the box in the latest of the endless red-coloured wave of attacks.
The woodwork came to Rangers' rescue minutes later as Rafael escaped down the right and slipped a pass through for Park. The Korean took a touch and fired a swerving effort that struck the outside of the post and ricocheted clear, with Cerny beaten.
Cerny, however, did get a strong hand to Tevez's thunderous strike seconds later as the Argentine wriggled free inside the area, whilst Gibson's 25-yard effort flew harmlessly wide.
United continued to pressurise the R's back five, and Anderson was the latest man in Red to have a crack on goal. Cerny was once again equal to it as a strong right hand palmed it out, allowing Matt Connolly to clear the danger despite Anderson looking for a second chance.
Despite constant danger, Damion Stewart and Hall continued their fine form in stifling anything United tried to work through the middle.
Rangers suddenly fashioned something themselves, as quick thinking from Ramage allowed Ledesma to jink his way past O'Shea and flight a ball over for Blackstock who could only head tamely to Kuszczak.
With just over quarter of an hour left to play, disaster struck. Ramage's desperate lunge on United substitute Welbeck inside the area resulted in a penalty for the home side. Tevez duly dispatched the spot-kick, sending Cerny the wrong way, to hand United the advantage.
Rangers substitute Samuel Di Carmine did have the ball in the net with minutes remaining but agonisingly it was chalked off for offside.
Cerny just had time to add another two top-class saves to deny first Park after good work from Rafael, then Nani.
Rangers tried in vain to muster some last minute offence but Ledesma could only curl an effort wide of the United goal, much to the frustration of the R's fans.
And with that, Rangers bowed out of the Carling Cup for another year.Manchester United: Kuszczak, Neville (Vidic 90), Anderson, Park, Nani, Rafael, O'Shea, Evans, Gibson, Tevez, Possebon (Welbeck 72). Subs: Foster, Carrick, Manucho, Cleverley, Gray. Scorers: Tevez (pen 76) Bookings: Red Cards:
QPR: Cerny, Stewart, Mahon, Hall, Parejo (Ledesma 46), Blackstock, Buzsaky (Agyemang 37), Rowlands, Ramage, Connolly, Cook (Di Carmine 78). Subs: Cole, Delaney, Gorkss, Ephraim. Scorers:Bookings: Red Cards: Referee: Mr P Dowd Attendance: 62,539 QPR

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