By William Wood | In Match Reports - Home Games
Carlos Tevez returned to haunt former employers Manchester United as Manchester City fought back to claim a 2-1 win in the Carling Cup semi-final first leg.
A fiery encounter at the City of Manchester Stadium saw both sides get stuck in early on, Tevez finding him – predictably – centre of attention for the away fans, while Ryan Giggs looked to replicate his early season derby heroics.
United certainly settled in the quicker of the two teams, their players looking more composed, and nice one-touch interchange between Wayne Rooney and Anderson almost set the latter clean through only for Micah to step in and make the interception.
City responded immediately as Shaun Wright-Phillips burst down the right and picked out Tevez, but the Argentine was unable to control the ball.
Micah then slid in with a perfectly-timed challenge on Giggs inside the box, but the veteran was to open the scoring on 17 minutes after a turn of luck for the Red Devils.
Craig Bellamy’s slip allowed Antonio Valencia to burst into the box and, with players around him, Rooney flicked the ball goal-wards only for Given to make the save, but the ball rebounded into the path of Giggs who added the finishing touch.
The hosts looked for an immediate response and minutes later a header lacking true power had Edwin van der Sar on his toes, while Nigel De Jong struck a powerful long-range effort which had the Dutchman scrambling.
But the fans had something to celebrate with five minutes of the first-half remaining as Bellamy slipped passed Rafael only for the Brazilian to pull the Welshman back, and the referee duly pointed to the spot.
The youngster was booked and he was joined by van der Sar – cautioned for delaying the spot-kick – before Tevez reminded the United fans as to why they pleaded with their club’s owners to splash the cash in the summer, smashing the ball down the centre of the goal to make it 1-1.
United may have felt hard done-by going into the interval on level terms, and Rooney went close with two quick-fire efforts which were both denied by the City backline.
Micah then went close with another effort of his own after Bellamy had returned the ball to the United box, the 21-year old’s flying volley being cleared behind by Rafael.
City were beginning to ask serious questions of United and they were rewarded with a second goal for their efforts. A corner was only half-cleared by Sir Alex Ferguson’s men, and when Vincent Kompany chipped the ball back in, Tevez was there to head the ball home and make it 2-1.
Wright-Phillips was then denied by van der Sar after his well-struck drive flew towards goal, while at the other end Rooney was again denied by Given and Michael Owen saw his own shot cleared off the line by Nedum Onuoha.
Rooney must have wondered what Given had for breakfast as he skipped passed three players only to watch his accurate shot palmed clear by the Republic of Ireland stopper, while Valencia missed arguably the best opportunity a yard from goal as his volley went wide.
Rooney then had a final effort blocked by Given as City held out for a famous win, setting up an irresistible second-leg at Old Trafford.
Man City: Given, Zabaleta, Richards, Boyata, Garrido, Wright-Phillips, Kompany, De Jong, Barry, Bellamy, Tevez. Subs: Taylor, Onuoha, Ireland, Sylvinho, Petrov, Benjani, Robinho.
Man Utd: Van der Sar, Rafael Da Silva, Brown, Evans, Evra, Anderson, Carrick, Fletcher, Valencia, Rooney, Giggs. Subs: Kuszczak, Neville, Owen, Park, Scholes, Fabio Da Silva, Diouf.
Man City: Tevez (42’ – pen), (65’)
Man Utd: Giggs (17’)