On the whistle match report
Carling Cup Final
Manchester United 2 - Aston Villa 1
Wayne Rooney’s 73rd minute headed was enough to give Manchester United their third Carling Cup trophy in five years at Wembley this afternoon.
If history was anything to go by it may have been a long after noon for United and Aston Villa. Every game United have played at the new Wembley has gone to extra time. Five of the six games have been decided by penalties, most notably in the Carling Cup final last year against Tottenham.
Rooney put an end to that run; headed home his 20th goal in as many games which gave united their back to back success in the cup.
A wonderfully built move by United supplied Rooney for the well executed header.
Berbatov, who all afternoon showed pose and class, splendidly touched the ball to Antonio Valencia who dinked a lofted cross aiming for Rooney who was eight yards out. Rooney, slightly leaning back showed great power getting his head behind the ball and placing it in Friedel’s top right hand corner.
Valencia was instrumental in creating most of Manchester United’s second half chances.
The 50th Carling Cup final had certainly gone off with a bang.
Serbian international Nemanja Vidić was lucky to still be on the pitch within four minutes of the game starting. Vidić allowed Gabriel Agbonlahor to get goal side and clumsily pulled his shirt and brought him down inside the penalty area.
Referee Phil Dowd had no hesitation in awarding the penalty; however, Martin O’Neill was furious that the Serb had not been sent off. On the replay, Vidić appeared to be the last man and should have had his marching orders.
World Cup hopeful James Milner, confidently stepped up and slotted the penalty home, sending goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak the wrong way.
Manchester United replied soon after, capitalising on a Richard Dunne error, which Michael Owen tucked away brilliantly on 14 minutes.
Unfortunately for Owen, who looked sharp all game long, was forced off with a hamstring pull, five minutes before half time.
Sir Alex Ferguson did not hesitate to give Wayne Rooney the nod, who was being protected for next week’s vital game at home to AC Milan in the Champions League.
Rooney was too hot to handle in the second half. He nearly put the game to rest, five minutes after his match winner, when another powerful header was denied by Friedel’s post.
Martin O'Neill brought on Norwegian target man John Carew in replace of defender Carlos Cuellar to try and spark a Villa comeback.
Carew was not very influential however an Emile Heskey header came close late on, hitting the cross bar.