Man United beats Spurs in League Cup in shootout

Sunday, March 01, 2009
By STUART CONDIE, AP Sports Writer

WEMBLEY, England —  Manchester United won the League Cup with a 4-1 penalty shootout victory over Tottenham on Sunday that kept the English league leaders on course for an unprecedented five trophies this season.

After a 0-0 draw through extra time, United goalkeeper Ben Foster saved Tottenham's first shootout kick from Jamie O'Hara and David Bentley missed the third before Anderson hit the winning penalty.

The victory gave United its second trophy of the season following December's Club World Cup title. The Red Devils also lead the Premier League by seven points and are in contention for the Champions League and FA Cup.

Foster made two crucial saves during the match to deny Aaron Lennon and Darren Bent and prevent defending champion Tottenham from retaining the trophy. United could have won the match in regulation when Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored in the shootout alongside Ryan Giggs and Carlos Tevez, hit the post in injury time.

United's defense appeared uncharacteristically shaky as Lennon continually ran at and past left back Patrice Evra, sending in cross after cross.

The difference between the teams seemed to be the strength in depth. While O'Hara and Bentley both missed penalties after coming on as substitutes, Giggs scored for United.

Many of Spurs' best chances were wasted by Roman Pavyluchenko, who put a free header high and wide while unmarked and did the same with a free kick before being replaced by O'Hara.

Ronaldo had been subdued by Tottenham left back Beniot Assou-Ekotto for most of the match and his attacking efforts curtailed further by a 67th-minute yellow card for diving in the area.

With United vulnerable, manager Alex Ferguson brought on Nemanja Vidic as a 76th-minute replacement for John O'Shea.

Spurs still threatened, particularly when Foster stopped Bent's rebound shot after Luka Modric had an effort blocked, but United was too strong.

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