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United beat Derby to reach League Cup final

MANCHESTER United reached the League Cup final yesterday with a 4-2 win over Derby County at Old Trafford to overturn a shock 1-0 defeat in the first leg.

The Premier League champions cruised into a 3-0 halftime lead with goals from Nani, John O'Shea and Carlos Tevez but had to withstand a spirited second-half fightback from the Championship (second division) strugglers.

Derby substitute Giles Barnes slotted home a penalty with 10 minutes remaining to give Derby hope of forcing extra time only for Cristiano Ronaldo to restore United's cushion. Barnes set up an anxious finale with a stoppage time free-kick.

United, who have reached the final for the seventh time, will face either Premier League Tottenham Hotspur or Championship side Burnley in the Wembley final. Tottenham won the first leg 4-1 at home.

Victory came at a price for United, however, with midfielder Anderson taken off the field on a stretcher and Brazilian teenager Rafael damaging his hamstring.

"We don't know exactly what it is yet but he'll go for an X-ray," United manager Alex Ferguson told Sky Sports.

Derby appeared to be heading for a thrashing as United, with several first team regulars rested or on the bench, appeared to have killed off the tie within 35 minutes.

Portuguese midfielder Nani unleashed a swerving shot past former United keeper Roy Carroll after 16 minutes and O'Shea was allowed to move into the area unopposed to sidefoot the second.

Tevez nodded in a Rafael cross to leave Derby's players looking crestfallen and United could have been further ahead before the halftime whistle.

Derby improved after the break and carved out several decent chances before Paul Green had his ankles clipped in the penalty area by United defender Jonny Evans and Barnes beat reserve keeper Ben Foster from the spot.

Ronaldo, who started on the bench, slotted a penalty past Carroll soon afterwards following a foul by Carroll on Tevez. Derby were rewarded for their effort again when Barnes squeezed a free kick inside Foster's near post but United held on.


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