posted on Dec, 1 2004 @ 05:29 PM
Manchester United reinforced their superiority over Arsenal with a hard-fought 1-0 victory in the Carling Cup quarter-final at Old Trafford.
Six weeks after the famous 'Battle of the Buffet', two squads of fringe players kept the fireworks to a minimum despite a place in the last four being
at stake. The game was decided inside the first 20 seconds when Johan Djourou slipped and handed possession to David Bellion, who charged to the edge
of the area past more sliding defenders before drilling a low shot that Manuel Almunia should have saved but allowed to bounce off his arms and into
the net. Chris Eagles could have made it 2-0 barely 10 minutes later when Bellion sent him scurrying into the area before the winger pulled his shot
badly across the face of goal. United's only minor scare of the first half was when Tim Howard tried to dribble past Robin van Persie after taking a
back-pass. But the Dutchman ran the ball out for a goal kick after dispossessing the keeper.
The second half was a largely forgettable affair apart from a simmering spat between Gunners' Robin van Persie and Kieren Richardson that led to both
being booked after squaring up to each other. Arsenal boasted greater possession after the break but failed to trouble Howard seriously and became the
first of the Premiership's big three to lose the chance of claiming four trophies this season.
Penalties in extra-time and the shoot-out from Florent Sinama-Pongolle propelled Liverpool into the last four. Substitute Jermain Defoe had fired
Tottenham into a crucial extra-time lead after a goalless 90 minutes. The England striker, who pledged his future to the club this week after reported
interest from Chelsea, popped up in the second period to stab home after Frederic Kanoute reached the byline and cut the ball back. But, having
supplied that assist, Kanoute then handled in the box in the 117th minute and Sinama-Pongolle stepped up to take the match into a dramatic shoot-out.
After the first four penalties were scored, Kanoute and Brown missed for Spurs and only Potter was off target for the Reds leaving Pongolle to win the
match with the crucial penalty.