07/03/2009 19:05, Report by Gemma Thompson
Fulham 0 United 4
United booked a return trip to Wembley after a sublime display at Craven Cottage earned them a 4-0 FA Cup quarter-final victory over Fulham.
After a slow start, the Reds soon clicked into gear with Carlos Tevez putting Sir Alex’s men 2-0 up in the first half with a close-range header and right-foot rasper. Wayne Rooney curled home a third after the break, before Ji-sung Park added a fourth nine minutes from time as the rampant Reds sealed an FA Cup semi-final spot in style.
With Internazionale and Liverpool both looming, Sir Alex was expected to make wholesale changes to the side that had earned a hard fought victory at Newcastle three days earlier. As it turned out, the United manager made just two, bringing in Anderson, in place of the rested Cristiano Ronaldo, and Tevez who took Dimitar Berbatov’s position up front with the Bulgarian dropping to the bench. It was the first time since Boxing Day that Tevez had started alongside Rooney and it didn’t take the duo long to create United’s first opening of the game after just three minutes.
Rooney pounced on a poor clearance from Brede Hangeland and lifted the ball into Tevez’s path. As it dropped, the Argentine fired a powerful low drive goalwards with only an excellent palmed clearance from Mark Schwarzer preventing the ball from nestling in the far corner; the rebound just eluded Rooney as Fulham cleared their lines.
Nemanja Vidic, a tower of strength all afternoon, had to literally clear off his own line on 14 minutes when Simon Davies’ lofted pass was flicked towards goal by Andy Johnson as Edwin van der Sar rushed to meet him. The Dutchman got a slight touch on the ball, but he had Vidic to thank as the Serbian raced back to maintain parity.
A minute or so later Clint Dempsey rose above John O’Shea to meet Bobby Zamora’s right wing cross, but van der Sar was on hand to make a smart save.