Football: Manchester United 1-0 Liverpool, FA Cup 2011 Third Round

Man Utd 1-0 Liverpool
Giggs (pen) 2 (HT 1-0)  

Manchester United progress to the fourth round of the 2011 FA Cup courtesy of a 2nd minute Ryan Giggs penalty, which gave them a 1-0 third round win over arch-rivals, Liverpool FC.

Liverpool came into this match with a new manager, after Roy Hodgson parted ways with the club on Saturday morning. Kenny Dalgleish did not have to wait long into his first match in charge of Liverpool to meet with his first bit of rough luck, as Dimitar Berbatov went down under the faintest of challenges from Daniel Agger, and Howard Webb pointed to the spot.

Around 30 seconds were on the clock. This looked like it could be a long day for Dalgleish.

Ryan Giggs stepped up confidently and placed the ball into the bottom corner, giving United a 1-0 lead.

But it was Liverpool who played the better football in the opening exchanges, without really threatening to make an impact in the first 25 minutes.

The game’s main turning point, however, came on the half hour mark, when Steven Gerrard – who had been playing his usual all-action role as captain – launched himself into a lunging 50:50 tackle with Michael Carrick.

The challenge from Gerrard ended with his studs – all of which were on display – making contact with Carrick’s shin. The players were waved away by Howard Webb, who proceeded to produce a red card for Liverpool’s captain. Dalgleish reacted badly in the technical area, but, upon review, the decision could not be argued with.

As a contest, which had been finely poised, and with Liverpool looking like getting some kind of foothold on the match, the sending-off of Gerrard effectively ended things, as United began to look more confident and retain possession for good spells.

United, who had been riding their luck a little before the sending off, were now in control, and Jonny Evans nearly doubled their lead when he powered a header into the post from a Giggs corner just before half time. The sides came in with the scores the same as they had been for much of this match: 1-0 United.

In the second half, it was more of the same, with United controlling possession, and having more shots than Liverpool.

The visitors did force Thomas Kuszczak into making a couple of smart saves – most notably a Fabio Aurelio free kick which was heading into the corner of the United net.

However, not to be upstaged, Pepe Reina was arguably the best player on the park in this match, as he produced a string of stunning saves to keep his side in with a chance of a replay. Unfortunately for Reina, one man down, his outfield players were unable to get the goal they required, and faded as 90 minutes approached, to exit the cup.

United will face Southampton away in the next round.

Starting Line-ups

Man Utd XI
Liverpool XI
29 Kuszczak   25 Reina
03 Evra   05 Agger
05 Ferdinand   06 Aurelio
21 Rafael Da Silva   34 Kelly
23 Evans (Smalling 84)   37 Skrtel
11 Giggs   04 Raul Meireles (Shelvey 60)
16 Carrick   08 Gerrard (Sent Off 30 mins)
17 Nani   17 Maxi (Babel 60)
24 Fletcher (Anderson 62 )   21 Lucas
09 Berbatov   09 Torres (Ngog 77)
14 Hernandez (Owen 75)   18 Kuyt
Man Utd Substitutes
Liverpool Substitutes
34 Lindegaard   42 Gulacsi
12 Smalling   16 Kyrgiakos
20 Fabio Da Silva   22 Wilson
08 Anderson   28 Poulsen
28 Gibson   33 Shelvey
07 Owen   19 Babel
26 Obertan   24 Ngog

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