A Carlos Tevez quadruple sealed an impressive 5-3 victory over Blackburn Rovers to send the Reds into the last four of the Carling Cup.
The Argentine opened the scoring on 36 minutes, before netting a further three times after the break. Nani also got in on the act to ensure United’s place in the semi-finals.
Sir Alex Ferguson, who was forced to watch from the stands as a result of his two-game touchline ban, once again opted for a youthful line-up, including a first Old Trafford appearance in a red shirt for goalkeeper Ben Foster. There was a sprinkling of experience within the side, however, with skipper Gary Neville alongside Jonny Evans at centre-half, while John O’Shea took up the left-back spot. Ryan Giggs and Carlos Tevez provided the combined threat up front.
Paul Ince, making his first return to Old Trafford as a manager, fielded a considerably stronger XI. And it was the visitors who had the first sight of goal on three minutes. Matt Derbyshire flicked a long ball forward into the danger area and Stephen Warnock rose to head goalwards. Thankfully the onrushing Foster was on hand to tip the ball over the bar.
United’s young charges took time to get into their stride, but they almost took the lead on 22 minutes when Darron Gibson saw his header from a Giggs corner cleared off the line by Martin Olsson. Giggs was involved again three minutes later when he swung a cross towards Jonny Evans at the far post, but the defender’s header dropped wide.
The Reds continued to pressure the Blackburn backline with Carlos Tevez, having worked space on the edge of the box, chancing his luck with a sizzling effort that flew just over Paul Robinson’s crossbar.
Foster had to be alert at the other end when he claimed a low swerving Keith Treacy effort from 20 yards on 29 minutes. Five