Carling Cup: Derby stuns world champions | inside World Soccer

Carling Cup: Derby stuns world champions

Thursday, January 8, 2009

English, European and world champions Manchester United came away from Pride Park with a 1-0 defeat to Championship strugglers Derby County in the Carling Cup semifinal as a sublime strike by Kris Commons ended United's 14-match unbeaten streak in all competitions.

The victory was richly deserved for Derby as United were fortunate not to be going into the second leg at Old Trafford in two weeks needing to recover a greater deficit.

Undaunted by United, the Rams raided the visitors from the kick-off without resembling the side that was 18th in the 24-team League Championship.

Stand-in United captain Nemanja Vidić prevented Steve Davies from bundling Rob Hulse's header into the net in the 6th minute, and minutes later Vidić's defensive partner Jonny Evans had to clear Mile Sterjovski's volley off the line as Derby began to string passes together and United continued to struggle.

So it was no surprise and certainly well deserved when Commons struck. United defense failed to close the Scotland international down as he collected a pass from Sterjovski and from 25 yards drilled a low effort into the right corner that gave Tomasz Kuszczak no chance.

It left Sir Alex Ferguson with no option but to bring on Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo, two of the big guns he would dearly loved to have saved for Chelsea.

But not even their arrival could provide the missing spark as largely it was Derby dictating the game while United making all the unforced errors.

And the Rams even closer to extend their lead with 10 minutes remaining when Commons' shot rebounded off Kuszczak and fell straight to Hulse, who scooped the ball over the bar from six yards.

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