Manchester United win Carling Cup in shootout

March 2nd, 2009 - 1:25 pm ICT by IANS  

London, March 2 (DPA) Manchester United has won the Carling Cup, beating Tottenham Hotspur in a penalty shoot-out.
After winning the Club World Cup in December, United are now two steps on the way to an unprecedented quintuple of titles.

Ryan Giggs, who will celebrate the 18th anniversary of his first United appearance Monday, insisted his side weren’t looking to a potential clean sweep.

“It’s a Cup final,” he said. “We wanted to win and now we’ve got to kick on from here. There’s a long way to go. With the other trophies remaining, we’ve got to keep the same desire and play as well as we have done. The hunger he (Alex Ferguson) has got and the desire comes down to the players.”

For Ferguson, it was a 24th title in 23 years at Old Trafford.

Jamie O’Hara saw his kick, Tottenham’s first, saved by Ben Foster, and when David Bentley rolled his penalty wide, United led 3-1 after three penalties.

That meant that if Anderson scored, United won: he did, stroking his penalty to the left as Heuelho Gomes dived the wrong way.

Cristiano Ronaldo had struck a post in the final minute of normal time, but goalmouth incident was limited in the first goalless League Cup final in 25 years.

Spurs manager Redknapp was determined to accentuate the positives.

“I thought we were terrific,” he said. “It came down to a lottery in the end. We weren’t that confident about penalties and they had some confident penalty-takers. But they couldn’t beat us in 90 minutes and extra time. We were really good.”

United began promisingly, with Paul Scholes majestic, but their only notable efforts on goal were long-range efforts.

Darron Gibson cut a drive just across the face of goal, while Rio Ferdinand sent a volley from 35 yards dipping just over the bar.

The longer the half went on, though, the more Didier Zokora began to win his personal battle with Scholes.

In turn Luka Modric became more involved, sliding passes through an unusually rickety United back-line, often to Aaron Lennon.

Darting in from the right-hand side, Lennon tormented Patrice Evra, but was let down again and again by his final ball. United retook control after half-time, but still chances were hard to come by.

Carlos Tevez almost diverted in a Jonny Evans snap-shot, and Ronaldo probably should have had a penalty when he tumbled over the out-stretched leg of Ledley King; instead, he was booked for diving.

What threat Spurs posed again came largely from Lennon. Teed up by Modric’s dummy with 20 minutes remaining, he drew an excellent save from Foster, the first meaningful stop by either keeper in the game.

And then, in the final minute of normal time, Ronaldo almost won it. Cutting in from the right, he beat Benoit Assou-Ekotto for the first time in the game, and drilled a left-footed shot that cannoned back off the inside of the post.

Extra-time was equally short on incident, but with five minutes remaining Foster was called on to save from Darren Bent with his feet, following another run from Modric.

Evra then flashed a snap-shot just over, but it ended 0-0 to set up on the second shoot-out in the final’s history - following Liverpool’s victory over Birmingham City in 2001.

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