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8 January 2012
• Etihad Stadium, Manchester
Referee: C. Foy
• Attendance: 46808
90' + 4'
Milner sends the corner in and Pantilimon is on the end of it but it's a weak header and Smalling clears again... and the whistle has gone! That's it! United win 3-2 after an almighty scare.
90' + 3'
...and it's a great effort by Kolarov, but Lindegaard, unconvincingly, parries. Smalling clears. it's a corner. Last chance saloon and 6ft 8in Panilimon is coming up.
90' + 2'
Milner gets a foot in and City storm upfield. Richards collects the ball just outside the area but is felled by Ferdinand. Freekick to City. 22 yards out. Kolarov is standing over it...
90' + 1'
Yellow Card Rio Ferdinand
90' + 1'
United are just keeping the ball, even hesitating to shoot when inside the area... but hold on, City break...
Three minutes of added time to be played.
Just about to enter stoppage time now. It really is make or break for FA Cup holders City now but possession is with United.
...and now Richards tries a very acrobatic overhead kick! He was pretty close to connecting too. Savic is withdrawn briefly after a nasty clash of heads with Evra. It's a race against the clock for City now.
This is mighty tense. First Aguero gets amongst the United defence and has a pop that Lindegaard does not handle at all way. A penalty area scramble ensues, with Lindegaard collecting at the third of fourth attempt.
Into the final five minutes now at the Etihad Stadium. Can City grab the elusive equaliser?
HUGE shout for a penalty to City now. Kolarov strides forward and get around the back of Smalling to power a ball across the face of the goal. Jones gets a leg in the way and it appears to flick up onto his arm in the process. It didn't look on purpose, but it stopped the ball.
Here is Hargreaves, coming on for Nasri.
Definite nerves from both sides now, both side reluctant to commit forward.
Just to add a little more spice to preceedings as we enter the final 10 minutes, Mancini has called upon ex-United player Owen Hargreaves to get primed to come on.
Scholes' presence in the game is growing by the minute. He looks completely at home, as if he has never been away.
A great ball from Milner nearly finds the head of Aguero eight yards out, but it's a tad too high. Almost a perfect delivery, was that. Evra cleans up.
Another change for United as Sir Alex looks to shore up his midfield by replacing Welbeck with Anderson.
Oooh, we haven't seen that for a while. Scholes, obviously desperate to make up for his earlier mistake, rolls back the years to meet a loose ball on the edge of the area with a rasping drive. Pantilimon is right behind it though. He's still got the technique, it seems.
The Poznan looks an age away now for the United fans as nails are being bitten at increasing rates around the Eihad. The away side are trying to re-affirm their dominance, but Mancini has set City up well since the break. They are proving a tough task to break down.
Here is Greg Stobart again: "‘Sergio! Sergio!’ roar the crowd after Aguero’s goal and the Etihad Stadium is absolutely rocking as City now look for what would be a remarkable equaliser. Roberto Mancini should take some credit for his tactical switch at half-time, defending deep and in numbers while looks to hit United on the counter-attack. Sir Alex Ferguson is sitting in the away dugout looking rather nervous that his team may be about to blow this."
Scholes was completely at fault for that goal. United were perfectly comfortable in possession until the highly experienced midfielder tried to play the ball across the face of his own goal from the left-back area.
Goal Sergio Agüero
GOAL!! City have pulled another back! Straight after that penalty appeal, United look comfortable in defence until a sloppy pass from none other than Paul Scholes allows Aguero in on goal. His first effort is well saved by Lindegaard but the rebound falls straight back to him to easily slot home. Unbelievable.
Hold on, surely that's a penalty! Valencia, after being released by Scholes, is tripped in the area by Richards. Sir Alex is fuming that Chris Foy hasn't awarded a spot-kick, and he has every right to be. That looked more nailed on than the one that was given in the first half.
A first couple of touches for Scholes is, naturally, met by a chorus of boos from the home support.
It is evident that City are picking and choosing the right time to launch an attack as they are very vunerable on the counter. They are not over-committing, that's for sure.
And here he is, the 37-year-old Paul Scholes returns, to replace Nani. Is he even match fit? Well, we are about to find out.
Here we go, Paul Scholes looks to be getting ready to come on.
United are definitely looking to reestablish their three goal advantage as, this time, Jones tries to sidefoot the ball across the face of goal from the edge of the area. It hits a couple of City players before they can clear.
Half a sight of goal for Rooney there as the ball bounced out to him on the edge of the City area and the striker has a pop, seeing it whistle past Pantilimon's post.
Just when this game couldn't have anymore twists and turns, City give themselves the perfect start to the second half. Surely they can't, can they?
Yellow Card Patrice Evra
Goal Aleksandar Kolarov
GOAL!! More than a little hope as Kolarov guides a glorious freekick past Lindegaard, who stood no chance. Game on. 3-1.
A little hope for City now perhaps as Richards wins a freekick just over 25 yards out after being tumbled over by Evra...
It is worth noting that Kompany is almost definitely out of City's next three games after that red card. Those games include a Carling Cup semi-final first leg against Liverpool and a Premier League clash against Tottenham.
Right then, Man City get us back underway, where they trail 3-0. Mancini looking to settle for the defeat with those subs, it must be said.
Have Manchester United made the right decision to bring Paul Scholes out of retirement? Vote in our poll right here: http://www.goal.com/en-gb/news/2896/premier-league/2012/01/08/2836420/have-manchester-united-made-the-right-decision-to-bring-paul
In case you missed it before the match, here is our news on Paul Scholes' dramatic return to Manchester United, the 37-year-old coming out of retirement until the end of the season. http://www.goal.com/en-gb/news/2896/premier-league/2012/01/08/2836373/paul-scholes-comes-out-of-retirement-to-rejoin-manchester-united-
Interesting substitions from Mancini at halftime. Johnson and Silva have been withdrawn with Zabaleta and Savic replacing them. Mancini fearing the worst, it seems.
Mr Stobart is back with his view on the first half: "An almost unbelievable first-half comes to an end with the best part of 6000 United fans mocking their rivals by doing ‘the Poznan’ in the away end. It’s been a remarkable afternoon for Sir Alex Ferguson’s men, which started with the announcement of Paul Scholes’ return from retirement - and who knows now how it might end? United look capable of scoring with almost every attack against City’s 10 men, with the hosts feeling sorry for themselves following captain Vincent Kompany’s dismissal. Wayne Rooney will find himself in the headlines for the right reasons tomorrow after two goals in the first 45 minutes - the first a brilliant header - either side of a brilliant volley from Danny Welbeck. United’s fans have gone from chanting ‘we want six’ to ‘we want seven’ - and you wouldn’t put it past them in the second-half."
45' + 2'
And that's it. An extraordinary first half here as cup holders Man City trail 3-0 to their bitter rivals after a show of clinical finishing by the away side. I'll be back in 10 mins for the second half.
As we enter stoppage time, of which there will be two minutes, the United support are rubbing it in as much as they can and are actually doing 'the Poznan'.
At the risk of stating the obvious, I don't think even the most negative City fan would have predicted this first half. Sweet, sweet revenge for Sir Alex and United.
Goal Wayne Rooney
GOAL! Rooney's initial attempt to saved well by Pantilimon but the rebound falls straight back to the striker to calmly head into the far corner. 3-0. Remarkable.
PENALTY TO UNITED. This just goes from bad to worse for the FA Cup holders as Kolarov takes out the scampering Welbeck for a stone-wall penalty...
Here is Greg Stobart again with his two cents: "‘Blue Moon’ rings around the Etihad Stadium as the City fans urge their players to find some fight - but Roberto Mancini’s 10 men look dead and buried here with nearly an hour still to play. Danny Welbeck’s volley on the turn was brilliant but the City supporters in front of me seem to feel Joe Hart would have kept it out had he been in goal rather than Costel Pantilimon. The United support may be having a riot in the away end - singing ‘we want six’ - but Sir Alex Ferguson doesn’t look at all happy as he shows Nani how to take a throw-in after the Portuguese winger’s second foul throw of the game."
Yellow Card Nani
A couple cheap yellow cards for Welbeck and Nani. Easily avoidable. The last thing the away side need to do is lose their discipline.
Yellow Card Danny Welbeck
There is real daylight between these two sides now. Can City salvage anything from this?
I make that United's third attack of the game and only their second shot. Two shots on target, two goals. Despite their superiority, I don't think City have had many, if any, more attempts on goal.
Goal Danny Welbeck
GOAL!! Another smash-and-grab goal for United as a Welbeck superbly volleys the ball past Pantilimon from 15 yards after it ricochets off Nasri.
Another chance for City after Ferdinand, inexplicably, tries to find Jones with a very poor pass that Aguero pounces on and wriggles his way into the area before blasting against the side netting. Ferdinand, naturally, gives Jones an earful.
United forray forward for the first time since going in front and it's worked nicely as Valencia powers a pass into the six yard box for Welbeck, but City clear. It certainly does not look like 10 vs 11 at the moment.
The City faithful are appealing for everything now, and you can't blame them after the sending off. Fantastic deft feet from Silva and Aguero allows them to dance around the United defence before trying to find Kolarov inside the United area, but the left-back's shot hits Smalling and goes out for a corner. Cue mass calls for a penalty from you know who.
Here is our man at the ground, Greg Stobart, with his thoughts on the game so far: "What an incredible start to the game here at the Etihad Stadium, where it’s a stormy affair on and off the pitch. After a bright start, the City supporters have been left stunned by Wayne Rooney’s opener and the red card shown to Vincent Kompany moments later. As the rain incessantly makes its way down from the skies, it is the 5700 United fans behind the goal to my right - nearly double the normal allocation for away supporters - making most of the noise as they sense a huge opportunity to exact revenge after the 6-1 defeat in October."
Howls from the home support now as Giggs goes through the back of Aguero in the centre circle. No booking.
City definitely don't look disheartened. Silva again releases Johnson down the right and, after a couple of step-overs, he tries to find Aguero in the penalty area with a low, powered pass but Smalling gets in a great sliding block to divert the danger.
Just had another look at that sending off. It's two-footed, which is strictly a no-no obviously, but it is very close to the ground. So I'm none-the-wiser still. Expert advice, eh?
However City go straight back on the attack and Aguero tries his luck from 25 yards with a curling effort that brings out the best from Lindegaard as the goalkeeper pulls off a great save.
This is crazy. No other word for it. After a promising start City find themselves a goal down and a man down, arguably their most important player aswell, with 12 minutes on the clock.
Red Card Vincent Kompany
RED CARD! This is unbelievable! Man City captain Vincent Kompany is shown a straight red card after a two-footed lunge on Nani. That looks remarkably harsh at first glance.
Woah. No-one must have seen that coming. It is no exaggeration to say that was, literally, United's first attack. Pantilimon had no chance.
Goal Wayne Rooney
GOAL!! Completely against the run of play United are ahead! Rooney with a fantastic header from 12 yards, in off the bar, after great build-up play from Giggs and Valencia.
...and it's straight into the wall by Milner.
First real opportunity for City now as Johnson cuts inside and wins a freekick off Evra around 18 yards out on the right-hand side...
Oooh, Lindegaard with a let-off there as the goalkeeper hesitates when clearing the ball to allow Aguero to nearly nip in and grab the ball off him, but it rebounds off the striker and out for a goalkick.
It may be early doors, but it is all City at the moment. United struggling to get out of their half with their 10 outfield players more-or-less camped on the edge of their penalty area.
This is quickly followed by two further attempts down the right by the hosts. First Richards and then Milner, courtesy of a fine through ball by Johnson, but again Evra stands tall. Urgent start from City.
City immediately on the attack through David Silva down the right, but Evra quickly nullifies any threat.
And we are underway! Man United get us started.
For the record, my prediction is a narrow Man City win, which usually means we can now forget about City winning this.
The teams are making their way out onto the pitch. Predictions everyone? Surely it can't be a repeat of the 6-1 here earlier on in the season...?
"90.2% - Of players to attempt over 1000 passes in the Premier League last season, Paul Scholes had the highest success rate (90.2%). Return."
Courtest of Opta: "0 - Manchester City have not conceded a goal in any of their last five FA Cup matches. Watertight."
A few appetite-whetting facts for you guys now...
Roughly 10 minutes away from kick-off as I see pictures of David Beckham making his way into the stands... unless Fergie has another card up his sleeve? No. Definitely not.
For United, Lindegaard starts his second game in a row in goal as Smalling returns at right-back. Both sides calling upon very strong starting XIs for this game.
So, the Scholes news aside, the biggest news from Man City's line-up is that Joe Hart is rested. Timisoara loanee Costel Pantilimon starts instead. The huge 6ft 8in goalkeeper has already impressed in the Carling Cup this season.
United: Lindegaard, Evra, Jones, Ferdinand, Smalling, Valencia, Carrick, Nani, Giggs, Welbeck, Rooney. Subs: De Gea, Evans, Rafael, Scholes, Anderson, Hernandez, Park
City: Patilimon, Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy, Milner, De Jong, Johnson, Silva, Nasri, Aguero Subs: Hart, Clichy, Zabaleta, Savic, Hargreaves, Razak, Suarez
Anyways, let's have a look at those line-ups. First up, home side Man City...
What does everything think of Scholes' return? I think it's great for the romantics but, personally, it reeks of desperation. Either way, it'll be very interesting to see what condition he is in.
There really is only one place to start. Paul Scholes has come out of retirement to help his faltering former comrades until the end of the season! Hurrah! He starts on the bench today.
Good afternoon and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of the HUGE FA Cup 3rd round clash between Manchester City vs Manchester United.
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