Carling Cup: Tévez on fire

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Carlos Tévez claimed his first hat-trick in English football as Manchester United reached the Carling Cup semi-finals after a 5-3 win over Blackburn at Old Trafford.

Paul Ince's men were totally outplayed last night with two of their goals coming in the last six minutes when the match was already up.

United opened the scoring on 36 minutes when Ryan Giggs' free-kick to the far post appeared to be headed past his own keeper by Aaron Mokoena under pressure from Tévez.

The hosts doubled the lead four minutes later when Nani played a quick one-two with Tévez before steering a low shot past Paul Robinson.

Ince introduced Benni McCarthy at half-time and, within three minutes, the South African striker made an impact as he shrugged aside Gary Neville and struck a shot inside the near post after Roque Santa Cruz had flicked on Robinson's goal-kick.

Blackburn's joy was shortlived, though, as three minutes later Tévez scored from the penalty spot after being tripped by André Ooijer.

United's fourth in the 54th minute is a result of their classic pass-and-move football.

Giggs found Anderson with a supreme back-heel, triggering a series of one-twos, then Anderson found Tévez who played it back before burying the return.

With the game seemingly in the bag, Sir Alex Ferguson introduced Paul Scholes for his first appearance since damaging knee ligaments in September.

Blackburn threatened a late comeback when Matt Derbyshire pulled one back and then McCarthy slotted home a second in the second minute of injury time.

But it was Tévez, who has started just six league matches so far since the arrival of Dimitar Berbatov, who have the final word as he completed his hat-trick with virtually the final kick to send United through.

Elsewhere, holders Tottenham maintained their Carling Cup defense as they came from behind to beat Watford 2-1 at Vicarage Road.

United and Spurs will join Championship sides Burnley and Derby in Saturday's draw for the two-legged semifinals.

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