Byline: MATT LAWTON
Man United 3
Man City 1 (Man United win 4-3 on agg)
WAYNE RooNEY was the deciding factor in this Manchester derby as his goal one minute into injury-time secured United a place in the Carling Cup Final at their neighbours' expense.
But City again pushed United all the way and simply refused to lie down in a game high on drama and passion.
Seemingly intent on making Manchester United pay for letting him leave old Trafford at every opportunity, Carlos Tevez had dragged City back to 3-3 on aggregate with a superb strike as he escaped his marker.
After the two goals that gave Manchester City a precious firstleg advantage, Tevez scored the 76th-minute goal which took this match down to the wire.
But City reckoned without United's own in-form forward and Rooney had the final say.
Second-half strikes from Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick appeared to have silenced those noisy neighbours once and for all.
But then came Tevez. one terrific ball from Craig Bellamy and the little Argentine was there, surging in front of Rio Ferdinand to guide a volley beyond the reach of Edwin van der Sar.
But Rooney was determined to make his mark after missing a sitter with the score at 2-0. 'I was not that worried, although I should have done better,' he said after the match.
'I know, with our deliveries, I will get chances and, thankfully, I took that one in injury time.
'We started well but it went a bit slow in the middle. But we have players like Darren Fletcher, Michael Carrick, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs to call on.'
Fletcher was named man of the match and Rooney added: 'He underlines what United are all about.
'Fletch has been playing like that for the last two years. He is a world-class player.'
Before the game, the message to the visitors was delivered loud and clear. 'The greatest club in the world,' declared the stadium announcer. 'And the holders of the Carling Cup.' Not once, but a number of times, came the message.
The 9,000 City supporters who occupied one corner of this magnificent arena offered a predictable response. 'This city is ours,' they cried. But Roy Keane would not have recognised the place -- and not just because so many United fans chose to wear green and gold in opposition to the Glazers. Not a night, seemingly, for prawn sandwiches.
It might not have been a night for leaving Rooney quite so isolated in attack either, but that was the tactic Sir Alex Ferguson chose to employ, despite coming into this contest a goal down.
To begin with, it did not work terribly well, the sight of Ryan Giggs launching long balls in the England striker's direction was something that would have certainly encouraged the visitors.
If anything, it was City who looked more determined to attack, given the positioning of Bellamy and Shaun Wright-Phillips. …