Manchester United Need Penalties, But Remain the World's Best Side
Barney Corkhill's Unofficial World Club Championship (UWCC) saw another defence today as champions Manchester United took on former champions Tottenham Hotspur in the final of the Carling Cup.
Spurs were looking to become the first side to retain the trophy since Nottingham Forest in 1990, while Manchester United were looking to maintain their drive for an unprecedented quintuple.
In last year's final, Tottenham had upset the odds by beating Chelsea. 12 months on and they were, again, the underdogs. United were in wonderful form. In the league, they had a 100 percent record since Christmas, and were on a run of 27 games unbeaten in all competitions.
Tottenham, on the other hand, had been dumped out of the UEFA Cup in midweek, with Harry Redknapp stating in no uncertain terms that the league was his priority.
In the end, he will be very disappointed not to have added the Carling Cup to the FA Cup he won last year, as Manchester United had a rare off-day.
Despite this, it was United who managed to get the win on penalties after 120 minutes of football ended goalless.
In a fairly low-quality affair in which neither team really dominated, United made the better start, coming close on a few occasions, notably a 25-yard volley from Rio Ferdinand which went just over.
The match, however, went downhill from there, with Tottenham getting back into it and neither team being able to take control.
Despite having little to do all game, Ben Foster was alert when called upon, producing a stunning save from an Aaron Lennon effort.
That saved proved vital as the match finished 0-0. United so nearly won it in normal time, however, when Cristiano Ronaldo, who had earlier been booked for diving, hit the post in the 93rd minute.
The fatigue the players were experiencing was clear to see during extra-time, with the only notable events coming from a Darren Bent effort which was well saved by Foster, and an effort at the other end by Patrice Evra which flew narrowly over, much to the relief of the onlooking Heurelho Gomes.
And so it went to penalties.
United's veteran midfielder Ryan Giggs stepped up first and hit an unstoppable penalty into the corner. Jamie O'Hara wasn't so lucky, hitting a poor one straight at Foster.
Carlos Tevez, Vedran Corluka and Cristiano Ronaldo all stepped up and converted their penalties before David Bentley made the long walk to the penalty spot only to hit it wide.
It left Anderson with the decisive penalty, which he duly converted to give United their second trophy of the season.
The match was the first time the UWCC has been defended in a cup final, the first time it had been held at a neutral venue, and the first time a UWCC match has gone to extra time or penalties.
81 percent of voters in the poll said that Tottenham wouldn't be able to beat United so well done to you!
Manchester United's run
West Ham 0-1 Manchester United (Manchester United become new champions)
Manchester United 0-0 Tottenham (Manchester United win 4-1 on penalties)
(Click here to see the complete history of Barney Corkhill's Unofficial World Club Championship)
Manchester United's next title defence comes on Wednesday as they travel to St. James' Park to take on Newcastle United. Can Newcastle become the best team in the world?!
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