Thursday, 28 October 2010

Mexican Wave - Hernandez late strike washes away Wolves

Javier Hernandez came off the bench to secure a dramatic victory for Manchester United against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the League Cup fourth round tie at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening. Extra time loomed for Sir Alex Ferguson's men but the hero of United's 2-1 victory against Stoke on Sunday scored his sixth goal of his impressive debut season to allow United to progress to the league cup quarter finals.

Mick McCarthy's Wolves side provided a stern test for a second string United side.

Teenage goalkeeper Ben Amos staring in the United goal ahead of Tomas Kuzchzcak and Edwin Van Der Sar. In defence United went with a mix of youth and experience with Wes Brown enjoying a rare run out at right back and Brazilian Fabio started on the left. Johnny Evans and summer signing Chris Smalling completed United's back four, being the preferred pairing in the centre of defence.

Ferguson opted for a five man field that saw Bebe make his full debut on the right wing, French winger Gabriel Obertan mirrored Bebe on the left. In the centre Darron Gibson enjoyed another Carling Cup start with Park-Ji-Sung and Michael Carrick were also given a rare chance to impress in the centre of midfield.

Sunday's hero at Stoke, Javier Hernandez could only make the bench with Ferguson selecting Italian striker Kiko Macheda to play the lone striker role up front.

Manchester United started with menace. Gabriel Obertan, Park-Ji-Sung and debutant Bebe looked to unlock the Wolves defence early on. Wolves soaked up the barrage of United pressure and showed a good account of themselves by countering United at will.

United opened the scoring following a bold call by the referees assistant. United's Portuguese winger Bebe received the ball on the right wing and ran at the Wolves defence into the penalty area. Bebe created the space to trick himself to the byline and he drove a cross into the danger area. On its travels, the ball ricocheted off a Wolves defender and looped up and over Hennessey in the Wolves goal. A covering defender swiped the ball clear but the referees assistant raised his flag, calling that the ball had crossed the line before being cleared.

Replays showed that the assistant had made the right decision, but it was marginal and brave call. Just before the hour, United were ahead. 1-0

Wolves answered United's opener shortly after when Elekobi powered a header past Ben Amos from a corner. Bang on the hour Mick McCarthy's men were deservedly level. 1-1.

Park Ji Sung returned United's advantage ten minutes after Wolves drew level, firing a powerful shot from just inside the area, after the ball bobbled around in the penalty area. Wolves looked to try and clear the ball, but time looked to stand still as Park managed to latch on to the loose ball and drove home a shot past the Wolves defence and Hennessey in the Wolves goal. With only twenty minutes to go United were ahead once again 2-1.

Wolves attacked United in numbers at every opportunity. Their persistence was rewarded when Wolves moved the ball around the edge of the penalty area and found Foley in space in Johnny Evans' grasp. Foley let the ball run across him as he ran into the United area, he dropped his shoulder and left Johnny Evans in his reeling behind him. As Foley claimed the ball on route to goal, he lashed a low shot across Amos whose extended leg couldn't quite reach the ball on its route to goal. 2-2

With ten minutes remaining, Sir Alex Ferguson called to United's rising star and Javier Hernandez entered the game for Bebe, who left the pitch to a resounding applause from 50,000 United fans.

United were lucky to hold there lead as in the dying stages Wolves came close on late on. Sylvan Ebanks-Blake almost left his old stomping ground with a point to prove, but his powerful long range effort whistled past Amos's post.

However, despite Wolves' strong finish it was to a increasingly popular Mexican who would steal all the plaudits. in the 90th minute Hernandez soared into the Wolves box, receiving a sublime pass from Darron Gibson. The Mexican feigned a shot on his right sending the keeper into a sprawling action. As Hennessey closed in on Hernandez, the United number fourteen drove a shot through the Wolves keeper who couldn't keep the ball from bouncing across the line.
United managed to keep Wolves at bay for the final few minutes and looked to add to Hernandez's clincher, with Obertan and Macheda desperate to leave the field with a goal of their own. The game finished 3-2 and Javier Hernandez once again came to United's rescue for the second time in only three days, scoring a goal which takes his tally for the season to six.

How the players fared -

Ben Amos - the young United stopper looked a little bewildered in the United goal and will probably feel he should have done better to keep out both goals. 5

Wes Brown - Went about his defensive duties efficiently and linked well with Bebe down the right hand side. 7

Chris Smalling - Looked comfortable in the centre of defence and used the ball wisely. Looks a snug fit for Rio's boots. 7

Johnny Evans - Looked surprisingly unsure and was slow to close down Foley for Wolves' second. 6
Fabio - The young Brazilian made a couple of important challenges when it mattered, but Fabio struggled at times to deal with Jarvis' dynamic runs 6

Park - A typically busy performance from the South Korean international. Park took his goal well and never stopped probing Wolves' back line. 8

Obertan - Ran at Wolves at every opportunity but was let down on occasion by his distribution and decision making. Looked positive without setting the pitch alight. 7

Bebe - Displayed an appetite for being involved in both defensive and attacking areas and made a number of positive contributions. Although on a whole his crossing was mediocre, his powerful run and deflected cross led to United's first goal. 7

Gibson -Had a quiet game, but worked the ball well in midfield. 6

Carrick - Assured in possession, Carrick controlled the United midfield but blazed a number of long range efforts harmlessly over the bar. 7

Macheda - Appeared isolated for long periods in the lone role up front and grew frustrated with the lack of service. His only clear cut chance came from a scuffed cross from the right from debutant Bebe. 5

Neville (on for Fabio) - Came on for Fabio and handled the threat of Jarvis with comfortably. 6

Morrison (on for Park) - Wasn't gifted much time to impress, but a lot is expected of Morrison in the red of United. 5

Hernandez (on for Bebe) - The Mexican picked up where he left off on Sunday and took his left footed goal well, gifting United a hard-earned victory. 7

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