Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FOOTBALL -

THERE ARE more than one hun­dred years of grudges and bad feel­ing be­tween the two fa­mous clubs of Manch­ester but just for good mea­sure Car­los Tevez added a new chap­ter all of his own.

The first leg of this Car­ling Cup semi-fi­nal tie at the East­lands Sta­dium was one of those spe­cial nights in Manch­ester when all the old en­mity came bub­bling to the sur­face in spec­tac­u­lar fash­ion. City dimmed the lights for the pre-match “Blue Moon” an­them but United’s fans stole the show by lighting red flares they had smug­gled into the sta­dium. There was an edge.

It set the scene for a scin­til­lat­ing en­counter be­tween the two halves of Manch­ester – one cu­p­less but loaded, the other us­ing the vast ar­ray of tro­phies as in­su­la­tion against a chill­ing debt pil­ing up out­side.

Even for­mer United star David Beck­ham stoked the fires of the bit­ter ri­valry by claim­ing that the East­lands out­fit will “never be big­ger” than their ri­vals.

The for­mer United mid­fielder, now on loan at AC Mi­lan sug­gested that City’s new-found fi­nan­cial mus­cle did not mean they were in a po­si­tion to com­pete with their neigh­bours.

“City will never be big­ger than United,” he said. “Be­ing suc­cess­ful and one of the most recog­nised clubs in the world doesn’t come from money. It’s about his­tory.” The stage was set. Af­ter vet­eran Ryan Giggs had given United a 16th minute lead it was Tevez, the man who crossed the city from the red side to the blue last sum­mer, to take cen­tre stage.

Af­ter Craig Bel­lamy had been fouled by Rafael de Silva, Tevez stepped up to take the penalty. In what was pure the­atre, there was the sight of him ig­nor­ing the taunts of Wayne Rooney, once his part­ner in the United at­tack and now his arch en­emy, and driv­ing the ball with such power, such courage, past an­other for­mer team-mate, Ed­win van der Sar, who had done ev­ery­thing in his power to put him off.

Then there was the sight of City’s new­est hero Tevez run­ning straight to Gary Neville and in­form­ing the Old Traf­ford skip­per that he was “all mouth” af­ter scor­ing the quite bril­liant penalty.

The penalty was hit with ev­ery ounce of his strength. Dead straight and sim­ply un­stop­pable.

Tevez had been clearly riled by Neville’s com­ments the day be­fore when he pub­licly sup­ported Sir Alex Fer­gu­son’s view that Tevez was not worth the money his new em­ploy­ers paid to lure him across the city – and his cel­e­bra­tion of the goal showed it.

As for Neville, the pho­to­graphs that caught him giv­ing Tevez the mid­dle fin­ger like a moody teenager at a bus stop hardly demon­strate a great deal of ma­tu­rity for a 34-year-old pro­fes­sional foot­baller. In fact, the older Neville gets, the an­grier he seems to be.

But Tevez was not fin­ished yet. Not by a long way. He might have can­celled out the first-half opener from Giggs but this was the night when Tevez was able to re­ally have his say. Re­mem­ber that mo­ment at Old Traf­ford when he cupped his ears in the di­rec­tion of a United board re­luc­tant to pay the money for him. Well he did it again here. As the ball hit the back of the net, he pushed his on­rush­ing team­mates out the way to stand in front of the United bench with his hands cupped be­hind his ears.

Again the chant was “sign him up, Fergie”. This time though it was City fans do­ing the singing.

It will, in years to come, pro­vide some great mem­o­ries for City fans pro­vid­ing they can ne­go­ti­ate the sec­ond leg of this Car­ling Cup semi-fi­nal at Old Traf­ford on Wed­nes­day. But hav­ing played for United for two years Tevez would do well to re­mem­ber that the time to stick two fin­gers up to United is when they are defini­tively, ir­re­vo­ca­bly beaten – not when they have 90 min­utes at home to res­cue the tie.

Fer­gu­son de­clared Septem­ber’s seven-goal thriller the “great­est” Manch­ester derby in his­tory and this could run it close.

The bad blood and the Tevez fac­tor should en­sure a full-blooded emo­tional roller­coaster of a ride. – Daily Mail, The Tele­graph and The In­de­pen­dent

TAKE THAT: United skip­per Gary Neville gives for­mer team-mate Tevez the fin­ger.

BIG MOUTH: Tevez ap­peared to sin­gle out Neville with his “who’s talk­ing now” taunt.

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