Derby County 1-4 Manchester United – FA Cup Live Blog – 15 February 2009
Derby County and Manchester United meet again for the third time in just over a month, this time in the FA Cup. United got the better of the Rams to reach the Carling Cup final but Nigel Clough will take heart that his side beat the Reds 1-0 at Pride Park in the first leg.
United have won four of their last six meetings with the Rams and will be full expected to dispatch them at Pride Park this afternoon. Since losing to Derby in the first leg of the Carling Cup, Manchester United have gone on to win their last eight league and cup matches, including a 4-2 second leg victory against the Rams. Arguably, United have been given an easy fifth round draw this season, as this is only the second time in 14 FA Cup rounds they have not been drawn against opponents from the Premiership.
The Rams will be without banned defender Jay McEveley and also Giles Barnes, who made such an impact against United in the second leg and joined Fulham on loan until the end of the season. Recovering midfielder Stephen Pearson is expected to be among the substitutes.
United have only failed to reach the quarter final stage of the FA Cup once in the last five seasons, when they were beaten by Liverpool in 2006. Wayne Rooney is unlikely to line up for the Reds as he recovers from a hamstring injury but there could be returns for Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra and Jonny Evans.
Derby County: Bywater, Connolly, Addison, Albrechtsen, Stewart, Barazite, Green, Savage, Teale, Commons, Hulse.
Subs: Carroll, Sterjovski, Nyatanga, Davies, Todd, Pearson, Porter.
Manchester United: Foster, Rafael Da Silva, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Park, Fletcher, Gibson, Nani, Giggs, Ronaldo.
Subs: Kuszczak, Vidic, Scholes, Welbeck, O’Shea, Tevez, Possebon.
Derby: Addison (56′)
Man United: Nani (29′), Gibson (44′), Ronaldo (48′), Welbeck (81′)
92′ Jordan Stewart sends another ball into the box but this time Foster comes off his line and claims it with confidence.
90′ Pearson launches another ball into the United box and Commons does well to hook it across the face of goal. Foster may have got to it but given his performance today, Ferdinand was taking no chances and hoofed it clear to safety.
88′ Green has a great chance to pull one back for Derby when he heads a corner towards goal from six yards. It goes wide but Addison was inches away from connecting to it.
85′ Pearson attempts to play Porter through but the striker was ruled offside. It was a close call and had the move been allowed to continue he would have been clean through.
82′ Fair play to Clough for trying to change things, but he’s fighting a losing battle now. Savage comes off to be replaced by Stephen Pearson.
81′ Goal! Derby 1 Man United 4. It’s all over for Derby. Fletcher, on the D, nudges the ball to Danny Welbeck out on the left who curls the ball into the far corner from the edge of the box. A sublime finish from one so young and that’s United through to the quarter final.
75′ Teale, who has been Derby’s most dangerous outlet this match, has the beating of O’Shea and curls one towards the bottom-right corner, forcing a diving save from Foster. Addison gets his head to the resulting corner, but directs it just wide. The Rams are making a real fist of this now and if they could get one more goal, United would really be on the rack.
74′ Teale curls in from the right hand side and the cross completely beats Foster. How on earth this guy was touted as a future England number one is beyond me. Fortunately Evans is at the far post and heads it behind for a corner.
73′ Alex Ferguson opts to rest Ronaldo and replaces him with Rodrigo Possebon. That’s his full quota of substitutions for the match.
71′ Nani races past Connolly but pulls off one of the worst, most blatant dives after chasing a ball he is never goling to get.
68′ Rob Hulse is replaced by Chris Porter, a player who turned down a greater chance of playing Premiership football next season and a better salary at Cardiff City to come to join Derby from Motherwell during the transfer window. Two words – easy ride.
63′ The interestingly-monikered Mile Sterjovski comes onto replace Barazite as Nigel Clough makes his first change.
60′ The goal has given Derby renewed belief and they are having a go at United. Commons attempts one from the edge of the box but is crowded out by Evans and O’Shea. Teale is next to try his luck but slices an effort from distance.
56′ Goal! Derby 1 Man United 3. Derby grab a lifeline. A cross from Commons is met by the head of young defender Miles Addison who makes ammends for giving away the third goal and gives Foster no chance from close range.
55′ Alex Ferguson makes a few changes, bringing on John O’Shea and Danny Welbeck for Patrice Evra and Ji Sung Park
50′ United could have had another if not for the alertness of Bywater. Giggs sends Ronaldo clean through found himself clear and fired straight at the keeper who could only parry it into the path of the lurking Fletcher. The Scot tries his luck but Bywater dives across to deny him.
48′ Goal! Derby 0 Man United 3. A pinpoint corner from Giggs is glanced in by Ronaldo from about 12 yards out. It looked so simple, but the the precision of the cross should not be underestimated.
46′ Derby get the second half underway. It is going to be really difficult for them to get back into the match
Half Time. United have coasted through the match and Derby have offered very little in return. The two goals were unstoppable and unless Nigel Clough’s side have a drastic change of fortune, United could go on to win this match by a truckload.
45′ The replay shows Gibson’s effort was heading straight at Rafael, who looked well offisde. The Brazilian had to be blocking Bywater’s view until the very last second, when he jumped out of the way of the flying ball, allowing it to nestle into the back of the net. Maybe referee Styles would not dare rule out another United goal?
44′ Goal! Derby 0 Man United 2. Ronaldo lines up another long range free kick which clatters off the wall much to the appreciation of the home crowd. But, no sooner as the first ironic cheers are uttered, the ball bounces into the path of Darron Gibson, who smashes a first time effort from 20 yards into the near corner. It’s all too easy for United.
40′ OK. This is why the linesman was so late in ruling out Ronaldo’s goal. He wasn’t sure if Giggs flicked the ball on or not and waited to ask the referee’s advice when the move had finished. However, in this case, Ronaldo scored a goal. If he had just raised his flag willy nilly and Giggs had not flicked on the ball, he would have ruled out a legitimate goal for United. This time, the linesman got it right.
37′ Goal! Derby 0 Man United 2. Goalkeeper Foster hoofs the ball towards Giggs, who sublimly flicks the ball through to Ronaldo, sending him clear. The Portuguese slots the ball under Bywater to double United’s advantage. Ronaldo celebrates and so do the other players. Then the linesman decides it was offside and raises his flag. Nothing like a late decision to bring a spoilt, often wantaway player back down to earth. Correction. Derby 0 Man United 1.
35′ United are comfortable and can even afford a dismal effort from Gibson, who thunders the ball towards the corner flag from just outside the box.
31′ The Rams have a chance to equalise with a Commons free kick 25 yards out, but there is no danger and Foster gathers it comfortably.
29′ Goal! Derby 0 Man United 1. Crisp passing at the edge of the Derby box ends at the feet of Nani, who cuts inside and pings one into the far corner. It’s a magnificent strike which gives the diving Bywater no chance. ITV managed to broadcast uninterupted coverage of the goal as well, which is a bonus.
24′ Derby have a shout for a penalty when it looked as though Ferdinand tripped Hulse in the box. However, the replay showed it was clearly a dive.
21′ Rob Hulse goes inches wide for Derby when he turns and shoots inside the box following a good header from Green. It’s just over the bar but if it had been on target Foster would have got nowhere near it.
20′ Ronaldo lines up a free kick from 30 yards out. He drives it straight into the mid-section of Savage, which was probably it’s intended destination.
16′ Barazite finds himself in a bit of space but lashes wildly at the ball from the edge of the box and it goes well wide. It’s a half chance for the Rams who are in danger of being taken apart this afternoon.
15′ Nani leaves Connolly for dead on the left and dinks a ball into the far post. The Derby defenders are nowhere near it, allowing Park to sidefoot it from a couple of yards out, but Bywater pulls off a fantastic point-blank save.
13′ United’s superior passing is telling as a one-two between Fletcher and Ronaldo sees the Scot unmarked just inside the box but his shot is well saved by Bywater.
10′ Commons takes a corner but Foster grabs hold of it at the second attempt. Derby had just got into the game a bit more after United had enjoyed the better start. Barazite looks useful down the right for the Rams.
5′ The shenanigans between Ronaldo and Savage have taken just a few minutes to commence. The Portuguese is brushed off the ball by Savage, resulting in him going down looking for a free kick. Unsurprisingly he doesn’t get one and seconds later deliberately runs into the back of Savage as the latter gets a throw in. Two fine examples of a big girls blouse should provide some entertainment this afternoon.
3′ Nani finds himself with a bloody nose. Someone get him a glass of water to drink backwards. Wait, that’s hiccups. A tissue will be fine.
1′ Manchester United get the match started and it’s young Gibson who has the first shot in anger from 25 yards out. It’s well over the bar, though.
0′ Veteran midfielder Robbie Savage is set to resume his headless chicken role in the middle of the park for Derby. I’m sure he is set to prove a point to Alex Ferguson who released him as a kid at Old Trafford etc etc. Yawn. Fellow clogger Andy Todd can only make the bench.
0′ Its a much-changed line up for United, with Foster in goal and midfield places for Gibson and Nani. No recognised strikers start for the Reds, such is Alex Ferguson’s confidence. Giggs and Ronaldo take on the attacking duties at Pride Park.
It was comfortable in the end for United as Derby failed to display much of the fighting spirit which saw them narrowly miss out to the Reds during the two-legged Carling Cup semi final. Goals either side of half-time effectively killed off the tie but full credit to the Rams for trying when they fell 3-1 behind. The goals from Nani, Gibson, Ronaldo and Welbeck were sublime and highlighted the gulf in class between the European champions and a mediocre Championship side. United ease their way into the quarter finals and continue their winning run.
Man of the Match
If it wasn’t for the brilliance of Bywater in the Derby goal, the score could have been much worse. That said, I cannot award man of the match to a player who let in four goals. United were composed, if not spectacular with Giggs, Fletcher and Gibson all playing well in midfield. Ryan Giggs was at the heart of United’s attacking play and the intricate balls he was threading through to Ronaldo were a joy to watch. Derby simply could not cope with a player of his quality. He scored the winner against West Ham last weekend and is my Man of the Match this Sunday.