Rooney Ends Cup Dream

Last updated : 27 January 2007 By Jim Bonner
Wayne Rooney emerged from the bench to put us out of the cup with two late goals at Old Trafford. Kanu pulled one back but it was not enough as Rooney proved to be the difference between United and Pompey yet again.

To be fair, we can't complain about being beaten as United had two legit goals disallowed. One came from a Vidic header that crossed the line but Mendes cleared over the line, which ironically makes up for his "goal that never was" two years ago. The other was chalked off for offside despite the replays showing that Larsson's quality finish was, in fact, onside.

Away from that and us Pompey fans can be quite proud of our performance at Old Trafford. Pompey played 4-4-1-1 with Kranjcar in an advanced role. The players did a fantastic job containing United and working hard to break away, even if often we lacked that final pass.

Gary O'Neil had looked to been brought down in the area, but replays showed that Kuszczak got a hand to the ball, but it was certainly a bigger shout than the one United actually got in the earlier league fixture. In the second half Andy Cole had a half-chance after Mendes got into the box and squared it for him but he made a mess of the service.

Rooney then came on and the game swung in their favour as we defended deeper and ultimately paid the price as we allowed United to cut as open and the writing was on the wall when Giggs squared the ball from the edge of the box and Rooney tapped in to give United the lead with 13 minutes to go.

That goal may have been simple and preventable but there was nothing any of our players could do when Rooney chipped James from outside the area. It was a good goal that no doubt pundits and press will wank over whilst better strikes like Matt Taylor's against Everton will soon fade from the memory.

Pompey grabbed a consolation goal late on when Mendes struck from outside the area only for Kanu to stick a leg out and divert the ball into the net. This goal gave the away fans hope but ultimately the tie was won by a single 30 million pound player who has once again been a massive thorn in our side.

We may be out the cup now but we can take heart from the performance. Sol Campbell was an absolute colossus in the centre of defence, David James made a few decent saves, Niko Kranjcar had a decent game as did Gary O'Neil. Now we're out of the cup, we really do need to concentrate on the league and stay in the top 6, starting by beating Middlesbrough on Tuesday.

On a final note, congratulations to the 3,000 who made the trip up to Old Trafford and once again made their voices heard over the pathetic home support.

Pompey Player Ratings

David James: 8 - Some very good saves, including one from Vidic.

Lauren: 6 - Solid at left back in the absense of Traore and Pamarot.

Sol Campbell: 9 - Immense at the back. The best individual defensive display I have seen in a long time and surely McClaren will be considering him for the upcoming friendly after watching him today.

Linvoy Primus: 8 - Another quality, reliable display from Linvoy.

Glen Johnson: 5 - The weak link in our defence. Lacked concentration at times and kept giving the ball away in dangerous situations.

Gary O'Neil: 8 - Tireless performance from Gario. Up and down the pitch all game.

Pedro Mendes: 7 - Was involved in some of the key moments in the game such as the "goal line" clearance and our goal. Generally good display.

Richard Hughes: 7 - Did well in Sean Davis' absense.

Matthew Taylor: 6 - Worked hard but couldn't really get into the game.

Niko Kranjcar: 7 - I was impressed by his technique and intelligent passing in an advanced role. If Davis isn't fit for Tuesday then Krunchie should be given a go in the centre.

Andy Cole: 6 - Worked hard but didn't have too much of the ball, although he could have scored.


Jamie Ashdown

David Thompson

Rodolphe Douala: N/A - Couldn't get into the game late on.

Benjani: N/A - Ditto Douala.

Kanu: 6 - Wasn't really involved yet still poached a goal late on.