Manchester United took a step closer to achieving Cristiano Ronaldoâ€™s daring dream of winning the quadruple this year when the Champions of the world came face to face against the defending champions of the Carling Cup.
With the crucial second leg match against Inter coming up in less than two weeks time and a couple of Premier League games in between, Sir Alex Ferguson opted to fill his Man United squad with young players like Gibson and Welbeck.
Cristiano Ronaldo was outstanding throughout the game, testing Spurs goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes twice in the opening 6 minutes of the match. Tottenham were also attacking at the other end with Darren Bent and Lennon. However, putting the ball past the cross line remained a problem for both sides.
At the Red Devilsâ€™ displeasure, the game went all the way down to penalties when it really shouldnâ€™t have been the case.
Manchester Unitedâ€™s young winger Nani was guilty of missing a glorious opportunity to seal the victory for the Reds with seconds remaining in normal time when Ronaldoâ€™s shot hit the post; the 22 year old failed to score on the rebound.
But Nani wasnâ€™t the only one to blame for letting the game go into extra time. The referee on the day, Chris Foy, was far less than impressive. He denied United from having a penalty during the 90 minutes when it was clear that Ronaldo was fouled in the box by skipper Ledley King. Instead, he had the Portuguese Star winger booked for diving.
This incident was one of the many unjust decisions taking by Chris Foy; on the other hand, John Oâ€™Shea should also have seen red for a second bookable offense on Luca Modric. Thanks to Ben Fosterâ€™s tremendous performance in goal for Manchester United in the last twenty minutes of the game, Spurs were pushed all the way down to the â€œgame of lotteryâ€.
Ben Foster had already provided United with a one-goal advantage after saving Oâ€™Haraâ€™s kick. It was time for the World Player of the Year to step in and score his third goal in this competition and settle the score line to 3-1 in favor of the Reds.
Every Mancunian supporter was hoping that the number 7 ace wouldnâ€™t suffer the fate of missing his spot kick and put his side into trouble as it was the case back in 2008 in the Champions League final in Moscow.
Confident about his own ability and skill, the Portuguese Superstar converted his penalty with a wonderful finish.
His opposite number, Tottenhamâ€™s David Bentley had put his shot wide just after; it was down to youngster Anderson to win the Carling Cup for Manchester United.
As he had it in the Champions League final in Moscow, Anderson didnâ€™t waste his penalty â€“ sending his Brazilian counterpart Heurelho Gomes the wrong way to ensure Manchester Unitedâ€™s first domestic title of the season.
After the match, Ronaldo was full of joy and optimism about Manchester Unitedâ€™s success this year:
“It is quite difficult to achieve but we are going from game to game,” Ronaldo told The Sun, concerning the possibility of clinching four trophies this season.
“We always have the opportunity to win everything. Weâ€™ve won this cup and now we donâ€™t have much time to celebrate.”
With Liverpool dropping more points earlier in the weekend, the Premiership looks set to be Unitedâ€™s. The FA Cup is almost at its half-way point only, with Man U still in the running, while the outcome of the second leg clash against Inter Milan at Old Trafford will determine if the European Champions are still in contention to retain their title.
Manchester Unitedâ€™s victory in the Carling Cup on Sunday means that Ronaldoâ€™s dream of winning the quadruple is still a possibility. Time will tell whether the Reds will scoop the remaining three trophies.
Written by: Angela Asante