In its 50 years, the League Cup has only once staged an all-Manchester semi-final. Then, as now - if Eastlands rumblings are to be believed - the two teams were duking it out for honours. Unsurprisingly, the games spawned plenty of talking points...
First Leg - City 2 United 1, Maine Road, 3 Dec 1969, Att: 55,799
United were under siege throughout the first half as City flew out of the traps, but an outstanding performance from Reds goalkeeper Alex Stepney limited the Blues to just a single Colin Bell goal before the break. Wilf McGuinness' side, struggling in the league but a danger in the cups, improved greatly after the interval and drew level in controversial circumstances. Bobby Charlton tapped in a loose ball from close range, but City defender Tony Book insisted that he had surrendered possession after an all-important nudge from George Best. That goal, although divisive, was almost forgotten amid the post-match storm which followed Francis Lee's 88th-minute winner for the Blues. The former Bolton forward burst into the area and tumbled theatrically under Ian Ure’s challenge, winning and converting a penalty to give City a 2-1 lead to take into the second leg. At full time, an irate Best knocked the ball from referee Jack Taylor’s hands and was handed a four-week ban and a hefty fine for his troubles. United's appeal meant the winger would be available for the decisive return leg, but all talk revolved around Lee's late spot-kick. “A diabolical decision,” said United defender Ure. “Somebody’s been kidded,” echoed manager McGuinness. Lee, conversely, insisted: “I can’t understand what the arguments are about.”
Second Leg - United 2 City 2, Old Trafford, 17 Dec 1969, Att: 63,418
Again, City made a bright start, and United's molehill became a mountain when Ian Bowyer slid home the opener after two earlier efforts had been denied by a combination of Ure and Stepney. However, the start of an unlikely turnaround was heralded when fledgling defender Paul Edwards lashed home his maiden United strike from 20 yards, and Old Trafford was ignited in support of the Reds. The importance of Best's availability, pending his suspension, was underlined just past the hour mark when he slalomed through the City defence and powered in a shot which Joe Corrigan could only parry, allowing Denis Law to nip in and level