United call the shots
Berbatov, Owen and Valencia on target as Red Devils progress
By Chris Burton. Last Updated: 25/10/11 9:50pm
Dimitar Berbatov: Rounded off a flowing move to open the scoring for United
Sir Alex Ferguson saw Manchester United return to winning ways on Tuesday as they overcame Aldershot 3-0 to book their place in the quarter-finals of the Carling Cup.
The Red Devils fielded an entirely different starting XI to that which lost 6-1 to arch-rivals Manchester City on Sunday, but senior stars Dimitar Berbatov, Michael Owen and Antonio Valencia helped to provide the perfect response to their derby day humiliation.
Aldershot, spurred on by a bumper crowd, started brightly and the lively Jermaine McGlashan opened with a direct dart at teenage full-back Zeki Fryers.
Tom Cleverley had the first real sight of goal on seven minutes, but lifted his shot over the crossbar, before Nemanja Vidic put in a clumsy and rusty-looking challenge on Alex Rodman that earned him a yellow card.
It did not take United long to click into gear, though, and a flowing, one-touch move involving Cleverley and Park Ji-sung allowed Berbatov to sweep home the opener on 15 minutes.
Fabio then dragged well wide, before McGlashan offered another glimpse of his wing wizardry with a mazy run that resulted in him firing narrowly over.
Berbatov and Mame Biram Diouf planted headers off target for United shortly after the half-hour mark, but the visitors were able to double their lead before the break.
Goal-poacher extraordinaire and Carling Cup specialist Owen was the man to provide the finishing touch on 41 minutes as he met a poked cross from Berbatov and drilled through Ross Worner, who will feel that he should have done better.
Aldershot introduced the pacey Bradley Bubb at the interval in an effort to find a route back into the game, but Dean Holdsworth's fourth tier outfit found themselves three down within three minutes of the re-start.
Valencia was afforded time and space 25 yards from goal and his fiercely struck shot dipped and swerved past a helpless Worner in the blink of an eye.
The impressive Danny Hylton continued to provide the more memorable moments for the hosts in the second period, but they really should have been out of sight as the hour mark approached.
Berbatov was sprung clear of the Shots' defence but, when faced with a sight of goal, he scuffed horribly wide.
Owen, a man desperate for goals and the chance to offer another timely reminder of his talents to Ferguson, kept a high line and Aldershot on their toes, while the highly-rated Paul Pogba fired a decent opportunity into the crowed following his introduction off the bench.
Both managers took the opportunity to shuffle their respective packs in the final 20 minutes, with thoughts beginning to turn towards the weekend and the pursuit of important points in the league.
Berbatov saw a well-driven free-kick from the edge of the box smartly saved by Worner as United looked to finish with a flourish, while Luke Guttridge sliced wide and saw a fizzing set-piece beaten away by Ben Amos at the opposite end of the field.The Red Devils settled for three in the end and they will be interested spectators when the draw for the last eight is made on Saturday.
|Aldershot Town||Team Statistics||Manchester United|
|0||1st Half Goals||2|
|2||Shots on Target||4|
|5||Shots off Target||7|