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Ronaldo makes Derby pay the penalty

sports Updated: Jan 21, 2009 09:43 IST

AFP
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Cristiano Ronaldo scored a late penalty to secure Manchester United's place in the English League Cup Final as they survived a late Derby rally to seal a 4-3 aggregate win at Old Trafford.

Tuesday's 4-2 second leg victory was secured when Ronaldo, a second-half substitute for Ryan Giggs, netted from the spot after Carlos Tevez had been felled by former United goalkeeper Roy Carroll in the closing stages.

But although United ultimately cruised to the victory, the sight of Anderson being stretchered off at the end of the game took the shine off the result for Sir Alex Ferguson's English, European and world champions.

United's uncharacteristically poor showing at Pride Park in the first-leg ensured the Championship strugglers arrived at Old Trafford with a 1-0 advantage courtesy of a Kris Commons wonder strike.

Few gave Nigel Clough's team any hope of holding onto that lead and booking a place at Wembley for the final on March 1.

But United's youngsters have displayed fallibility in cup competitions in recent seasons, with the likes of Exeter, Southend and Coventry all inflicting embarrassment on Ferguson's team, so Derby had something to cling to. Clough had urged his players to take the game to United after warning that defensive tactics would merely encourage the home team to attack at will and they almost profited from their ambitious approach as early as the sixth minute when Commons went close to scoring again.

After being released by Rob Hulse, Commons shrugged off the attentions of midfielder Darron Gibson and bore down on goal before sending a 30-yard effort inches wide of Ben Foster's right-hand post.