Date:Friday May 18 2007
The 2007 FA Cup had its fair share of memorable moments and United chipped in with some.
We are in the final, and that's wonderful but of course as children who grew up should not forget all those things they received from their parents, we should not forget the beginnings of this cup run.
Even the semi-final against Watford was more than a month ago so it's worth to refresh our memories a bit! Our road to the Final wasn't smooth by any means but it was exciting nevertheless.
3rd round, v Aston Villa: Hardly a classic as Villa came for the replay. We should have buried them well before debutant Henrik Larsson scored the first goal but instead of being comfortably ahead, we let our slender lead slip not much later. But of course Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should not be underestimated when we approach the final minutes of an important game...
4th round, v Portsmouth: United dominated the first half and scored a perfectly good goal then at the start of the second half, Larsson found net in spectacular manner - but the game remained tied at 0-0 as both our goals were disallowed, wrongly. United therefore needed substitute Wayne Rooney's two goals, the second a delightful chip to seal a vastly deserved victory.
5th round, v Reading: It was a forgettable game at Old Trafford. Carrick scored a beautiful goal but United let their opponents back into the game and Coppell's men earned a replay via a goal from Gunnarsson.
5th round replay, at Reading: Now THAT was something. The Reds stormed into a three-goal lead in six minutes and looked comfortable but Reading fought back. They never gave up and scored two goals in the second half and hit the bar at the dying minutes - they could have won the game that looked far beyond their reach in the 5th minute. A classic!
Quarter-final, at Middlesbrough: Another good game with controversial refereeing decisions. United dominated the opening 30 minutes and Rooney scored with a well-placed shot to give us the lead but Boro turned the game on its head by scoring two goals out of the blue at the end of the first half and at the start of the second. The ref ignored Rooney's protests when he was pushed in the box but did not hesitate to give the penalty when Boateng handled the ball. It is still beyond me how could Boro say it wasn't a pen...
Quarter-final replay, v Middlesbrough:> A weakened United side had extreme difficulty against a stubborn Boro team. Clear-cut chances were few and far between though Rooney missed two sitters. The game was heading for extra-time but it was Woodgate's turn now to give away a penalty that Ronaldo coolly converted, sending the Reds into the semis.
Semi-final, v Watford: Rooney's thunderbolt put United ahead on 7 minutes but profligacy and the dogged tenacity of Watford meant we were never comfortable. The Hornets were lively and scored a beautiful equaliser but they could not even contemplate being on level terms as they fell behind again. They were impressive early in the second half but lacked the cutting edge and as the minutes ticked on, it looked increasingly unlikely that they would score. Rooney's second goal settled the tie and Richardson's beauty was only the icing on the cake.
Maybe not the most memorable Cup performances of all time and I daresay we had more thrilling runs in the Cup before. However, it still had its fair share of spectacular things and a win at the new Wembley would make it just about perfect.
Date:Friday May 18 2007
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