The man United fans love to hate is up­staged in derby

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODHANGOUTS - JIM WHITE

CAR­LOS TEVEZ has been writ­ing some grip­ping scripts th­ese past few weeks. His up­date of the Re­venger’s Tragedy staged at the City of Manch­ester Sta­dium last week was par­tic­u­larly com­pelling.

But even his dra­matic pow­ers are obliged to hold sway in the pres­ence of a mas­ter.

And Wayne Rooney’s last-gasp in­ter­ven­tion in Wed­nes­day’s as­ton­ish­ing Car­ling Cup semi-fi­nal was a piece of tim­ing that sim­ply could not be bet­tered.

The night had be­gun with Tevez once more at cen­tre stage. It is a rare oc­ca­sion in­deed in the ca­reer of Craig Bel­lamy that the an­nounce­ment of his name in a team line up does not elicit from ri­val sup­port­ers the most size­able boo of the evening.

But at Old Traf­ford this week, the busy Welsh­man had a fall guy to ab­sorb his usual flak.

Along­side him he had Tevez. And boy, was Tevez booed.

This time last sea­son the crowd were chant­ing that he be signed up. A year on and they were ur­gently in­sist­ing he should be strung up.

Pos­si­bly only the rev­e­la­tion that he is the lost love child of Manch­ester United owner Malcolm Glazer could elicit more loathing at Old Traf­ford than that to which he was sub­jected.

The for­ward’s crime was not just to head across town to buff up his bank ac­count. It was to have the au­dac­ity to score two cru­cial goals against his for­mer side 10 days ago and then cel­e­brate them with such gusto.

But what per­haps re­ally lay be­hind the ve­he­mence of his re­cep- tion was the fact those strikes in last week’s first leg had given po­tent re­minder of what United had lost.

Tevez was loved at Old Traf­ford for his ef­fort. And it had clearly not di­min­ished in the trans­fer: at Old Traf­ford on Wed­nes­day, es­chew­ing the snood he has been wear­ing through the cold snap, he pre­ferred to stay warm on a shrill Man­cu­nian night by char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally threat­en­ing to run his legs into stumps.

For much of the first half his en­deav­our was di­rected de­fen­sively.

Sta­tion­ing Tevez on his own in front of two banks of de­fend­ers, Manch­ester City’s tac­tic was an Ital­ian one: to hold on to what they had.

But af­ter Paul Sc­holes and Michael Car­rick had ap­par­ently put the home side in the fi­nal, the diminu­tive Ar­gen­tine was obliged to turn his at­ten­tion once more to the op­po­si­tion goal.

Late in Wed­nes­day’s game he re­ceived the ball on the half­way line and, squirm­ing away from the pres­ence of a United de­fender he squeezed the ball out to the tire­less, re­lent­less Bel­lamy.

By the time the Welsh­man’s per­fectly weighted in­vi­ta­tion of a cross came in, Tevez had scur­ried into the penalty area, his mo­men­tum al­low­ing him to stretch out his leg in front of Rio Fer­di­nand to flick the ball be­yond Ed­win van der Sar. That made it United 3, Tevez 3. While the blue cor­ner of the ground cel­e­brated as if a gi­ant weight was about to be re­moved from their col­lec­tive shoul­ders, he was im­me­di­ately buried be­neath team­mates con­vinced he had done enough to take them to Wem­b­ley. Or at least into ex­tra time.

But none of them had bar­gained for Rooney. And the mas­ter script writer, at last es­cap­ing the at­ten­tions of his mark­ers as the clock

HERE’S LOOKING AT YOU, CAR­LOS: Rooney had the last laugh.

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