Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Manchester United beat Barnsley 2-0
Danny Welbeck and Michael Owen gave Manchester United a 2-0 victory over Barnsley at Oakwell to go into the quarter-finals of the Carling Cup.
Welbeck, pictured, scored after six minutes with Owen scoring just before the hour mark on a night that saw Gary Neville sent off for the visitors.
Barnsley had plenty of chances to score but consistently failed to find the target as their cup run came crashing to an end.
It was the visitors who started the match in more aggressive fashion, pushing upfield at every chance with Welbeck on the left and debutant Gabriel Obertan on the right causing problems for the defence.
And it took just six minutes for United to open the scoring, with Anderson's perfectly-struck corner going straight to the completely unmarked Welbeck, who headed powerfully past Luke Steele.
United continued to dominate the early exchanges as they looked completely in control, with Obertan drawing a superb save from Steele on 19 minutes as he looked certain to score on his debut.
But from then on the Tykes seemed to get the measure of their visitors, hanging on to the ball well and beginning to make chances.
On 23 minutes a corner curled in by Adam Hammill found Malta international Daniel Bogdanovic, whose header clattered against the left upright.
And twice in the next 10 minutes Barnsley defender Stephen Foster had two good headers from corners, one that went wide to the right and then the second just over the bar.
The changed pattern of the match seemed to wake up United's dormant midfield, and they once again began to hang on to the ball better and played the half out safely.
Just three minutes after the break Owen had a chance to put the visitors out of sight, being played through by a terrific ball from Anderson and having just the keeper to beat from inside the box.
But fast-charging defender Foster came through in time to put on a bit of pressure, and Owen's atrociously feeble finish dribbled weakly off the pitch.
It was just the sort of finish that would make Fabio Capello's life easier by removing any prospect of Owen going to South Africa next year - but the diminutive striker made amends 10 minutes later with a great bit of control that gave him the second goal.
Anderson put the ball through to Owen from the left, but the goal was made by the striker's deft control and short burst of acceleration that took him past three Barnsley players, giving him the space to fire a perfectly-placed shot into the bottom right corner.
Barnsley refused to give in despite the second goal, and their hope was bolstered when Neville was dismissed three minutes later for keeping his studs up on the follow through of an otherwise well-won challenge against Hammill.
The decision seemed harsh on Neville, but Barnsley nonetheless used it as a springboard to launch a series of raids upfield in the last half-hour.
And the hosts managed to create a series of good openings, with Hammill and Bogdanovic each hitting a pair of great chances just wide of the uprights.
Substitute Jacob Butterfield did even better on 79 minutes with a stunning piece of football, controlling a tricky pass from the left and side-stepping to beat three United defenders, then rifling a brilliant shot back across goal towards the bottom right corner.
But Ben Foster showed the class that has earned him international honours, pulling out an outstanding diving save to his left that prevented a seemingly certain goal.
It was a cruel blow to a side who deserved at least a consolation goal, and with the players' legs fading and the crowd's singing dying down United closed the match out comfortably.
Though the holders were good value for their spot in the next round, Barnsley's players will be lamenting the lack of quality finishing that saw them blow all the chances they had to make a contest of it.
For United, there were two down sides: first, the poor defending at set pieces that should have seen them punished; and second, the injury to the superb Welbeck, which saw the player limp off with just over half an hour to go.