Man Utd knock rivals City out
London - 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.
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United surged into a 3-0 half-time 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 stage for the first time since 2007.
City started the match brightly under slate grey skies, stretching the United defence with slick passing around the penalty area but it was the visitors who went ahead with a goal from their first attack 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 Ecuador winger's cross into the net off the underside of the bar.
Two minutes later Kompany was harshly 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.
The United fans celebrated wildly and cries of "Championes" rang out across the stadium as City tried to get back into the match but their plight worsened before half-time.
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 half-time when Kolarov's powerful free kick pierced a flimsy wall and beat goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard.
United kept possession for long periods without threatening a fourth goal and soon after Scholes came on the hosts struck again, Aguero pouncing from close range after Lindegaard had failed to deal properly with his first shot.
City poured forward in search of the equaliser but their tired legs could not find the necessary inspiration and United hung on, reviving their season after two successive defeats had left them three points behind their opponents at the top of the Premier League.