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A Richly Deserved Victory For United

OK, one thing you barely heard after yesterday's Carling Cup final was that United actually deserved to win and should have won much more comfortably. All the talk is about whether Nemanja Vidic should have been sent off (no) and they barely acknowledge the performance of a United side ravaged by injuries, suspension and further injuries sustained during the game.

And all this despite the worst possible start. The focus is on Vidic but questions must be asked of a clearly out of form Patrice Evra, too: where was he wandering? Had he positioned himself properly, Agbonlahor would have been offside and he'd never have had the chance to surge past Vidic, using his considerable pace. Granted, it was a stupid thing to slide in on him, as with a bit of bad luck the ref might have sent him off, in accordance with Martin O'Neill's wishes but still, he should never have been put into that position at the first place.

Still, the response was tremendous. Michael Owen, a surprise inclusion in the starting XI, capitalised on Dunne's mistake and sweeped the ball into the net from 15 yards. And from then on, United never looked like losing, against a side that was clearly determined to take the trophy and which had already beaten us this season, at Old Trafford, no less.

Park was our best player in the first half, driving forward with real energy and his passing was good, too. He should have scored just before half time but his shot rebounded off the post... By that the struggling Michael Owen was off with a strain and Rooney replaced him but I have to say that our brilliant man wasn't on fire yesterday.

He misplaced too many passes, took too many unnecessary and very heavy touches - the subsequent revelation that he had a little sore knee made absolute sense. And it is typical Rooney that despite his less-than-stellar form he managed to score the all-important winner, heading home the cross of the increasingly influential Antonio Valencia.

In the second half, Carrick and Fletcher both really came into their own, comfortably neutralising Villa's midfielders and United were in complete control for much of the half. After the winner, though, we dropped way too deep and conceded the initiative and could have been in trouble had Villa's attacking play been a little more creative. But as it was, United got closest to another goal when Rooney headed the ball against the post from yet another excellent Valencia cross, with Friedel well beaten.

And soon enough that term could be applied to Villa, too: they lost to much the better team and we deserved this trophy. The sight of Rafael, Owen and Berbatov all picking up knocks was enough to dampen the spirits a little but still: it's a trophy, even if the least significant one and now it is certain that we will not finish the season empty handed.




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The Journalist

Writer: Zae Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday March 1 2010

Time: 11:25PM

Your Comments

Bollerx
Doug4ever
You were the better team with 11 men for sure, and it's no disgrace that we lost to you playing good football. Most commentators agreed that it was a pretty exciting game, as well as unanimously agreeing Vidic should have seen red (as have several other refs on various sites and in the press). Within the laws of the game, there is no excuse for the decision whichever way you try and twist it. It was in the first 5 mins of the game and the ref bottled it terribly. So yes - as the game played out we lost to the better side on the day, but that still doesn't change the fact that Villa should have been 1-0 up, playing against 10 men for 87 mins + stoppage time. I would have fancied our chances thank you very much. Phil Dowd should be ashamed of himself. Congrats all the same & hope you pip the fake blue club to the title.
YatesyVillain
I can't really see what arguement there is against a red card. Vidic pulled him to the ground by his shirt as the last man. If that happened against us - I'd expect the opposition defender to get his marching orders. We already outplayed villa with 10 men once this season, so its nor guarantee they would have beaten us (although whether we could maintain that level of performance for 90mins is questionable). But as we always hear its swings and roundabouts. Its decisions like this that apparently give us no right to complain when we get screwed by a ref - so Im celebrating it! Cheers Phil Dowd! As for park ji sung - he frustrates me more than any player in our team. I have always said that his movement and positioning (both in attack and defense) is world class. He is always a massive danger around the oppositions penalty area. His passing is ok, and his shooting isnt the worst I've seen. But what he really lacks is composure. He'll make amazing runs, get himself into perfect positions and 9 times out of 10 he will completely fluff the chance score or make the killer pass. If he could be more clinical in the final third - he'd be one of the best players out there.
tuscan3000
Fantastic performance guys,although its the CC,its a trophy nonetheless and this should surely give us a huge boost.
Antriksh (abmtd)
Can I just say - Congratulations on the win on Sunday. Well deserved but what a shame that once again, the headlines belong to the referee. I don't think there can be many arguments that Vidic should have been shown a red card for hauling down our Gabs - something that wouldn't have guaranteed us an easy win by any stretch of the imagination. However, win or lose from that point on, at least it would have been a game played by the rules, not Dowd's strange interpretation of them. Those of us who were at the game spent a of money to be there and none of us deserved to witness the referee's attempt to become "star man". Good luck for the rest of the season!
godzvilla
 

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