City end United's treble bid after Scholes sees red

Manchester City 1 Manchester United 0

Paul Scholes was sent off as Manchester City ended Manchester United's treble bid by booking their first FA Cup final appearance since 1981.

Man-of-the-match Yaya Toure was City's second-half matchwinner, seizing on a catastrophic blunder by Michael Carrick before finishing smartly past Edwin van der Sar.

Roberto Mancini's men just about deserved it too after surviving an early pummelling and two glorious opportunities for Dimitar Berbatov.

Their task was made easier when Scholes departed though, dismissed for a thigh-high studs-first lunge on Pablo Zabaleta.

It means there will be no repeat of 1999 for United, who must concentrate on their bid for glory in the Premier League and Champions League.

City, watched by chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak, have the chance to "change history" as Mancini has demanded, and will return to Wembley on May 14 to face either Bolton or Stoke looking to collect their first trophy in 35 years.

Unfortunately, firebrand Mario Balotelli threatened to put a dampener on celebrations when he unwisely rejoiced in front of the United fans, triggering a shoving match with Anderson and an angry reaction from Rio Ferdinand - who also squared up to City coach David Platt.

The current Premier League leaders took a stranglehold on the contest as soon as the polite opening exchanges had been completed.

That the Red Devils did not go in front during that prolonged period of dominance was due to a magnificent save from Joe Hart and a moment to forget for Berbatov.

Challenged to respond to the startling emergence of Javier Hernandez by his manager, the City goal first opened up for Berbatov when Carrick intercepted a Gareth Barry pass and began a fabulous one-touch move that involved Scholes and Park Ji-sung.

The Bulgarian found himself one-on-one with the outstanding Hart and went for the bottom corner. The England goalkeeper won.

United quickly retrieved possession and when Nani gave Zabaleta the slip, his low cross invited the close range finish. However, the man who had found the net for United 22 times this season scooped over from inside the six-yard box.

Nemanja Vidic turned an Antonio Valencia corner wide and Berbatov looped a far-post header just over as City's defence continued to creak without snapping completely.

It was half an hour before City managed to push their opponents back and make them do some defending of their own.

Although he had been close to non-existent after being handed the job of filling the massive gap created by Carlos Tevez's hamstring injury, Balotelli eventually burst into life, letting fly with a rasping 30-yard drive Van der Sar touched over.

Had Balotelli got on the end of Adam Johnson's corner shortly afterwards, United would have been in trouble.

As it was, the ball floated over the Italian to Joleon Lescott, who could not keep his first-time volley down.

Blues skipper Vincent Kompany curled a 20-yard effort just wide as half-time approached, then Balotelli failed to keep a near-post effort on target immediately after the break.

However, they were not about to let United off the hook in the manner Berbatov had done earlier.

Toure needed the assistance of a woeful attempt to find Scholes by Carrick. But once the Ivorian had been invited into the Red Devils' box, he finished in style, beating Van der Sar with a low shot through the veteran Dutchman's legs.

Now it was United's turn to wobble, just as they did in the Carling Cup semi-final 15 months ago.

On that occasion, Mancini failed to seize the initiative, settling for what he had in the first leg and watching his team swept aside in the second.

They didn't have Toure then, or David Silva.

It was the Spain star who crossed to present Lescott with another golden opportunity, which the England defender headed wide.

Given Ferguson compared the striker to Gary Lineker yesterday, it was not a surprise Javier Hernandez was asked to complete a salvage mission.

When the Mexican was introduced, United already had the free-kick that Hart pushed onto the bar as Nani went for the roof of City's net.

The comeback powers of Ferguson's team are the stuff of legend. Scholes' awful challenge on Zabaleta presented a challenge even they were up against it.

Carrick tried to atone for his blunder with a curling shot and Park attempted to steer a header towards goal but on neither occasion was Hart troubled to make the save.

As valiant as United's 10-men fought, City came closer to increasing their lead through Balotelli at the end.

It didn't matter and now the door to glory stands ajar for Mancini's men.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and DiCaprio, at an awards show in 2010
filmsDe Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
News
i100
News
In this photo illustration a school student eats a hamburger as part of his lunch which was brought from a fast food shop near his school, on October 5, 2005 in London, England. The British government has announced plans to remove junk food from school lunches. From September 2006, food that is high in fat, sugar or salt will be banned from meals and removed from vending machines in schools across England. The move comes in response to a campaign by celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver to improve school meals.
science
Sport
England captain Wayne Rooney during training
FOOTBALLNew captain vows side will deliver against Norway for small crowd
Life and Style
Red or dead: An actor portrays Hungarian countess Elizabeth Báthory, rumoured to have bathed in blood to keep youthful
health
News
peopleJustin Bieber charged with assault and dangerous driving after crashing quad bike into a minivan
News
peopleHis band Survivor was due to resume touring this month
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Sport
Radamel Falcao poses with his United shirt
FOOTBALLRadamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant in Colombia to Manchester United's star signing
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Chief inspector of GPs: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

Steve Field: ‘Most doctors don’t really know what bad practice can be like for patients’

The man charged with inspecting doctors explains why he may not be welcome in every surgery
Stolen youth: Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing

Stolen youth

Younger blood can reverse many of the effects of ageing
Bob Willoughby: Hollywood's first behind the scenes photographer

Bob Willoughby: The reel deal

He was the photographer who brought documentary photojournalism to Hollywood, changing the way film stars would be portrayed for ever
Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Hollywood heavyweights produce world's most expensive corporate video - for Macau casino

Scorsese in the director's chair with De Niro, DiCaprio and Pitt to star
Angelina Jolie's wedding dress: made by Versace, designed by her children

Made by Versace, designed by her children

Angelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Anyone for pulled chicken?

Pulling chicks

Pulled pork has gone from being a US barbecue secret to a regular on supermarket shelves. Now KFC is trying to tempt us with a chicken version
9 best steam generator irons

9 best steam generator irons

To get through your ironing as swiftly as possible, invest in one of these efficient gadgets
England v Norway: Wayne Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

Rooney admits England must ‘put on a show’ to regain faith

New captain vows side will deliver for small Wembley crowd
‘We knew he was something special:’ Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing

‘We knew he was something special’

Radamel Falcao's journey from teenage debutant to Manchester United's star signing
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York