particularly from Phil Jones – ensured Sir Alex’s men didn’t concede.
The visitors came mightily close, mind you. It took a goal-line clearance from Rafael to keep Matt Taylor’s cross-come-shot out of the net, while the same player almost curled a right-footed effort into the top corner minutes later.
Good work by Rafael then teed up Hernandez, but Jaaskelainen spread himself bravely at the Mexican’s feet to smother his goalbound effort. Sam Allardyce, perhaps sensing cracks developing in the Reds’ defence, made a double substitution, while Sir Alex brought on Michael Carrick to anchor the midfield. The former Hammer brought calm to United’s engine room and restricted the visitors’ counter-attacking.
Giggs, who was outstanding all evening, rolled the back the years with a mazy dribble in the lead-up to the late penalty, won after the Welshman’s cross struck young defender Jordan Spence on the hand. Rooney stepped forward to seal victory but blazed his kick over the bar. Ultimately, it didn’t affect the final result. United hung on and Sir Alex’s men remain on the road to Wembley.