Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Manchester United 3 Wolves 2: Pea shooter saves the day again! Javier Hernandez fires United into quarter-finals of Carling Cup



In the nick of time: Javier Hernandez shoots to score Manchester United's winner

They brought their sombreros to Old Trafford last night in honour of a new hero. Javier Hernandez, Manchester United’s new Mexican forward, did not let them down.

Watching a goalscorer in full flow when the confidence is pulsing through the veins is a remarkable thing. You know, just as they know, that at some point they will score. United have two such strikers who were not required last night.

Michael Owen, one of the finest marksmen of his generation, was in the stands while Wayne Rooney was in a posh hotel in Dubai. The one who mattered, though, was on the pitch.

He is very much the man of the moment for Sir Alex Ferguson and his misfiring team and last night Hernandez - alias Chicharito or Little Pea - needed only nine minutes as a substitute to win this game.

During a first half as wretched as anything you will ever see, an Old Trafford crowd of 45,000 was almost lulled in to a slumber. At full-time they roared their team from the field. That is what a goalscorer can do almost on his own.

With the game at 2-2 and seemingly heading for extra time, deep into the 89th minute United mounted one last forward movement. And as Hernandez charged through the middle he was picked out by Darron Gibson. Once Hernandez collected possession it was clear he would score.

He may only be 22 but he has the nerves of a veteran. Drawing his right foot back to shoot, he forced Steven Mouyokolo and keeper Wayne Hennessey to go to ground. When he then checked inside to set up the goal with his left foot, the rest was a formality.

‘He was absolutely brilliant,’ raved Ferguson. ‘They build up heroes very quickly here but he is justifying the praise and quite right.

He's only gone and done it again: Hernandez celebrates his winner

‘We just knew when he came on that if he got a chance then he would take it. It was an absolutely magnificent finish. He dummied the defender really well.

‘The area that is improving with him is his touch and control and also his vision. That’s because the training is intense. We care about our training and we make sure our players improve.’

Leveller: Kevin Foley brings Wolves level at 2-2

Perhaps the only player in the United dressing room who may have felt a shred of envy when Hernandez followed up his two goals at Stoke with the winner here was the Portuguese starlet Bebe.

Starting his first game at Old Trafford since his £7.4million summer move from Guimaraes, Bebe crowned a performance of promise with a goal in the 56th minute. By full-time it had all but been forgotten.

‘He doesn’t have the same advantage as Hernandez as he doesn’t speak the language,’ added Ferguson. ‘But he is having his lessons twice a week and he will be fine. I was pleased with him.’

On target: Ji-Sung Park fires United 2-1 in front

Bebe’s goal was somewhat overdue as this had been a wretched game early on. United had made 11 changes from the team that beat Stoke while Wolves had only four players remaining from their 2-0 defeat by Chelsea. Frankly, it showed. The game desperately needed a goal, even if it was a rather peculiar one.

Tall and rangy, Bebe had shown a willingness to attack left back George Elokobi and it was one such run that led to the goal. Elokobi managed to get something on Bebe’s cross but it served only to loop the ball over keeper Hennessey. Kevin Foley looked briefly to have headed clear from the line but the goal was rightly given after crossing the line.

Heads up: George Elokobi scores a first equaliser for Wolves at Old Trafford

From this point United should have eased towards the next round. However, Ferguson’s team don’t do anything easily these days and Wolves could have won the game over the course of the peculiar 20 minutes that followed.

Riled by United’s goal, Wolves took just four minutes to equalise. A corner was swung in from the right and Elokobi rose to head in from only six yards. Stephen Hunt, usually reliable in front of goal, clipped the top of the bar when he really should have scored from 18 yards and then former United midfield player David Jones was similarly wasteful and his shot went wide.

Over and out: Bebe's shot drops under the crossbar and just over the line

Wolves were playing with confidence and spirit and manager Mick McCarthy deserves credit. Too few teams visit Old Trafford with two centre forwards but McCarthy’s did and with a little more composure from his players he could have been rewarded.

As it was, United’s Ji-sung Park was next to score, running through to finish well with his right foot with 20 minutes left, only for Wolves to exploit more slack defending to equalise again through Foley.

Again Wolves had the chance to take the lead and this time it surely would have been the winner. Once again, though, a visiting player could not hit the target as the goal gaped. Sylvan Ebanks-Blake was the culprit and it felt like the defining moment of the game.

Happy days: Bebe celebrates after scoring Manchester United's opener against Wolves

‘We have to take our chances when we come to a place like this,’ said McCarthy. ‘Apart from that I was delighted with our performance.’

His frustration was understandable. Wolves had stood toe to toe with United during an engaging second half. Goalscorers, though, make all the difference.

The new kids on the bench
Ravel Morrison
Midfielder, 17
Supremely gifted, but needs to stay on the straight and narrow. He made his senior debut in stoppage time last night.

Robert Brady
Winger, 18
Quickly rose through the United ranks. An Ireland Under 19 international, he was handed a first-team squad number earlier this month.

Magnus Eikrem
Midfielder, 20
Spotted at Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s soccer school four years ago. Nominated for the reserve team player of the year award last season.

source :dailymail

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