Date:Monday February 27 2006
MAN UTD: Van der Sar, Neville, Brown (Vidic 83), Ferdinand,Silvestre (Evra 83), Ronaldo (Richardson 73), O'Shea, Giggs,Park, Saha, Rooney.
Subs Not Used: Howard, van Nistelrooy.
WIGAN ATHLETIC: Pollitt (Filan 14), Chimbonda, De Zeeuw,Henchoz (McCulloch 62), Baines, Bullard, Kavanagh (Ziegler 72),Scharner, Teale, Camara, Roberts.
Subs Not Used: Jackson, Johansson.
You had to laugh when SKY TV presenter Richard Keyes said: 'But Wigan fans have had a fantastic day'. And do you REALLY believe it Richard?
United ruthlessly crushed Wigan's dreams at the Millennium Stadium as they romped to the biggest League Cup final victory in history. Paul Jewell talked a good game prior to the match, but come the first whistle it was the most one-side cup final in years.
Wayne Rooney made the stage his own, and could (and perhaps SHOULD) have made the records books as the first player ever to score a hat-trick in the League Cup final.
He scored twice, headed against the bar and proved totally unstoppable with a majestic performance which deservedly saw him crowned man of the match.
Sir Alex left out Ruud Van Nistelrooy and it wasn't the only controversial decision. But, with the pressure on, the old fox masterminded a supershow that gave him his 17th major honour as manager.
Wigan were backed by 27,000 noisy supporters, and where they all come from ... God only knows. A few years ago they couldn't get 6,000 through the gates.
But they suffered an early blow when goalkeeper Mike Pollitt bent down to pick up the ball and immediately clutched his hamstring. The former Manchester United trainee did continue after treatment but eventually had to limp off to be replaced by John Filan.
It was United who carried the greater threat from the start and they took a deserved lead, and there was little surprise that it was Rooney who fired them in front.
The build-up was pure Route One as Saha climbed to flick on Van der Sar's deep punch into the Wigan half. Rooney raced onto the loose ball, then broke free of Pascal Chimbonda and De Zeeuw before keeping his head to finish clinically past Filan.
Wigan started the second half brightly and could easily have drawn level when Camara turned Ferdinand smartly inside the United box. The Senegal striker advanced on goal but Van Der Sar proved equal to his forceful angled drive.
Wigan's failure to find an equaliser proved costly as United quickly broke forward and grabbed a second. Ronaldo fed Neville from the overlap and the United captain wasted no time in drilling over a low crash which Saha should have finished off at the first attempt. Instead, Filan made the save only for the rebound to cannon into Saha's knee and bobble into the net to give the Frenchman his sixth Carling Cup goal of the campaign.
Henchoz made a crass blunder when he attempted a clearance which went straight to Saha. The Frenchman immediately released Ronaldo and in turn the young winger shot into the net.
Within two minutes United had another, as Saha flicked a Giggs free-kick into Chimbonda's chest. Ferdinand reacted quickest and nodded the loose ball into Rooney's path and the youngster steered home his second goal.
Date:Monday February 27 2006
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