The atmosphere was close to exploding in the City Of Manchester Stadium as a city divided for this League Cup Semifinal between the blues of Manchester City and the reds of Manchester United.
Things were certainly not going to be tentative in this game and both sides were quick to state their intent as the game opened up early on and we didn’t need to wait long for the opening goal. Evra opened up the City defense with a long cutting pass to Valencia who beat his man and drove a cross in for Rooney, the England hitman knocked his shot straight at Given but luckily for United the ball was deflected to Ryan Giggs who tapped it into the empty net to give them the lead on seventeen minutes.
City tried to fight their way back into the game with Tevez and Richards both coming close with aerial chances. With five minutes to go to half-time Bellamy broke into the box and was pulled back by Rafael; the referee pointed straight to the spot. Ex Manchester United player Tevez stepped up to take the penalty and converted with a forceful drive to equalize for his new club.
Frustration entered the heated atmosphere and Bellamy and Valencia were just two of the players to lose their cool, but the referee kept his cards in his pocket and at the break they went in all square.
The second half started where the first left off and Rooney tested Shay Given’s goal twice within the opening five minutes. City were also looking for the leading goal though with Kompany missing a free header on fifty-two minutes before a scramble following a corner was nearly converted by Richards.
The chances continued to flow and just before the hour mark Ryan Giggs came close to grabbing his second when a near post header was pushed away by Given on the line.
Carlos Tevez was back in the limelight five minutes later though. Kompany lobbed the ball into the mix following a corner and Tevez was there to get his head on the ball and force it home to put Manchester City 2-1 up. A vital goal for the Argentinean who seemed to direct his celebration at his old manager Alex Ferguson. Wright-Phillips came close to extending the lead minutes later when he latched onto a pass from Bellamy and volleyed towards goal, but the shot was stopped by Van der Sar.
Wayne Rooney had a great chance to equalize but he failed to beat the goalkeeper and as the ball rebounded to Owen the subsequent shot from the substitute striker was cleared off the line. Moments later, with ten minutes left to play, Rooney shifted his way through the City defense before his shot was saved again by Shay Given. The pressure certainly began to pile up on the home side as United looked to square things up.
Man Utd really attacked the City goal in stoppage time and a goal looked assured as Given kept Rooney out again before substitute Diouf missed a headed chance. But Manchester City managed to keep out their rivals to win the game 2-1, an extraordinary game and a great win for them in this first leg Semifinal tie.