Carling Cup – Rampant Tevez cuts down Blackburn
A rampant Carlos Tevez scored four times to propel Manchester United to a 5-3 victory against Blackburn Rovers in the quarter-finals of the Carling Cup at Old Trafford.
The Argentine international striker, a peripheral figure at United since the arrival of Dimitar Berbatov in the summer, put the home side ahead on 36 minutes and added three more in the second half in a scintillating performance.
Nani was also on the scoresheet for Sir Alex Ferguson’s team, who overwhelmed Blackburn with a vibrant and composed display that belied the relative inexperience of several players in the line-up.
Two goals from substitute Benni McCarthy and one from Matt Derbyshire put a respectable gloss on the scoreline for the visitors, but in truth Paul Ince’s side were comprehensively beaten and never in contention.
But United soon asserted themselves in midfield and with Anderson, Nani and Tevez buzzing productively in the final third it was only a matter of time before they went ahead.
After Darron Gibson won a free-kick on the right, Ryan Giggs swung an inviting ball towards the far post and Tevez was on hand to bundle the ball home. Blackburn defender Aaron Mokoena also made contact, but there was never any question who would claim the goal.
Five minutes later United doubled their lead. This time Tevez turned provider, teeing up Nani to fire a low shot past Robinson from just inside the box.
Blackburn looked a beaten side, but when substitute McCarthy scored almost immediately after his introduction for the second half, getting in behind Gary Neville to fire past Foster in some style, the visitors suddenly had a foothold in the game.
It lasted no more than two minutes. United won a penalty when Andre Oojier pulled down Tevez and the Argentine strolled up to calmly send Robinson the wrong way and put United 3-1 ahead.
Their best was yet to come. Just short of the hour mark, Anderson, Giggs and Tevez combined in a sumptuous three-player move, which culminated in a simple tap-in for the Argentine forward to complete his hat-trick.
United wasted several chances to increase their lead, and with 84 minutes on the clock McCarthy crossed for Derbyshire to poke home what appeared at first little more than a consolation for Blackburn.
But five minutes later Derbyshire returned the favour and McCarthy finished clinically to make it 4-3.
Before Blackburn had time to launch one last desperate attack, however, Tevez ran on to a through ball and blasted emphatically home to seal a deserved win for United and book his team’s place in the semi-finals.
Moreover, the United striker sent the boldest of messages to his manager, who can surely not ignore him after this performance.