Manchester United withstood a furious fightback by 10-man Manchester City to beat their local rivals 3-2 in a dramatic FA Cup third-round match at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
United surged into a 3-0 halftime lead after the controversial early sending-off of City defender Vincent Kompany and looked poised to exact full revenge for their humiliating 6-1 home league drubbing by their neighbours this season.
But goals from Aleksandar Kolarov and Sergio Aguero gave City hope and United needed the calming presence of 37-year-old Paul Scholes, on as a second-half substitute after coming out of retirement, to knock out the FA Cup holders at the third-round for the first time since 2007.
City started the match brightly, stretching the United defence with slick passing around the penalty area but it was the visitors who went ahead with a goal from after 10 minutes.
Wayne Rooney spread the ball wide to Antonio Valencia on the right and the England striker continued his run to head the Ecuadorean winger’s cross into the net off the underside of the bar. Two minutes later Kompany was sent off for a clumsy challenge on Nani, the Belgian going in with two feet to stop the Portuguese winger but appearing to win the ball cleanly.
City moved Micah Richards into central defence and their 10 men continued to provide a significant attacking threat with David Silva’s clever prompting and Aguero working tirelessly on his own up front.
The sight of United's young defender Phil Jones shouting at his team mate Rio Ferdinand for giving the ball away carelessly would have cheered the home supporters but they suffered another body blow on the half hour. Nani cut in from the left and although his ambitious shot ballooned up off a defender, the ball fell kindly for Danny Welbeck who swivelled cleverly to hook it into the far corner of the net.
Welbeck was tackled late by Kolarov and referee Chris Foy pointed to the penalty spot.
City’s reserve goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon brilliantly palmed away Rooney’s penalty but the striker followed up to head in the rebound.
City pulled a goal back immediately after halftime when Kolarov’s powerful free kick pierced a flimsy wall and beat goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard.