A goal from Carlos Tevez and yet another Cristiano Ronaldo brace sealed United’s spot in Monday’s FA Cup fifth round draw.
Tottenham Hotspur came to Old Trafford and put up a brave fight – and indeed took the lead – but the Reds’ patience paid off to keep alive dreams of another trip to the new Wembley.
Juande Ramos’ side were far from favourites going into this fixture, despite thumping Arsenal 5-1 on Tuesday in the Carling Cup semi final second leg. History had been against Tottenham on that occasion – it was their first victory over their North London rivals in nine years – but to not nearly the same extent as when they arrived in Manchester.
Without a win at Old Trafford since December 1989, Spurs have endured a horrible run on the Reds’ turf and, despite going in front through Robbie Keane on 24 minutes, now see that record stretched to 20 games.
The match started brightly, with both sides venturing forward at startling pace. Wayne Rooney had two half chances in the opening five minutes; he first failed by inches to reach Edwin van der Sar’s mammoth clearance before sweeping a low Ryan Giggs cross into the side-netting.
The visitors didn’t create any firm opportunities until Dimitar Berbatov's header was cleared off the line by Wayne Rooney in the 15th minute. They had, however, shown promising signs in the early stages, stretching the Reds’ defence on a number of occasions.
Without Nemanja Vidic, Wes Brown came inside to partner Rio Ferdinand in the heart of the back four, while John O’Shea slotted into the right back position.
Tottenham seemed to be allowing Cristiano Ronaldo a surprising amount of space in midfield and a minute before Berbatov’s header was nodded wide by Rooney, the Portuguese winger found himself unmarked 25 yards from goal.