Date: 27th January 2010 at 6:40pm
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Pudge793 sent Vital Manchester City the following…

Tonight’s Carling Cup semi-final second leg showdown between City and United may prove to be the most unforgettable Manchester Derby of recent years.

Many fans would be hard-pressed to think of another that surpasses this season’s league meeting between the two sides, which ended 4-3 to United, with Michael Owen scoring the winner so deep into injury time that the City team were on the bus home. However, after a fiery first leg encounter, which ended with eighteen fan arrests, two F.A. warnings, and oh, a Manchester City win, tonight’s match may be the most explosive ninety minutes of football Manchester has ever seen. A Carlos Tevez brace against his former employers gives City a 2-1 advantage coming into tonight’s match but City’s young defender Nedum Onuoha knows it’s all to play for when the two teams meet again tonight. ‘It’s probably as big a game as we’ve ever played in. It’s absolutely massive and one that won’t be forgotten for a long time. We need to make sure that at the end it’s in our favour,’ said Onuoha. ‘It’s the first time in a long time there’s been so much pressure on United to beat us. No other result will get them through.’

With City in the driving seat heading into the game, it would not surprise anyone if they were to focus more on defending their own goal rather than attacking United’s. However, a whole host of teams have tried and failed in their attempts to park all but the team bus in front of the United front-line, and City boss Roberto Mancini understands that his side needs to keep the momentum on their side. ‘We don’t want to go to Old Trafford only to defend,’ said the Italian. ‘It is possible we will have to defend if United attack. Then we will need to defend very well because they have so many good players, but we want to win, not just the tie, but at Old Trafford. To do that we must attack.’

Leading the attack for City tonight, will be the much publicised Carlos Tevez who has done little to quell the tension between the two teams after his ‘altercation’ with former team-mate Gary Neville during the first leg. A war of words had began between the two when Neville publicly stated that Sir. Alex Ferguson was right not to sign the Argentinean when his loan spell at Old Trafford was coming to an end, stating that he was not worth his price tag. However, the little Argentine let his feet do the talking on the pitch as he scored twice to put City in the ascendancy.

Tonight could mark the return of Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure to the City starting eleven, after their African Cup of Nations dreams where ended in dramatic and untimely fashion. Adebayor arrived back from compassionate leave at the weekend after the tragic attack on the Togolese team in Angola, while Toure’s Ivory Coast where put out of the competition in a shock defeat to Algeria on Sunday. Both are considered to be in contention to feature in tonight’s game, but are likely to start on the bench. Regardless of the outcome of tonight’s encounter, the aftermath will linger in the cool Manchester air for quite a while.

Victory for City would see them reach their first major final since 1981, and what City fans hope would be the start of more to come, while Sir. Alex, who promised he would stick with his ‘kids’ for the duration of the competition, will be more concerned about losing to his bitter rivals twice in eight days, regardless of the fact that a Wembley date with Aston Villa awaits the win.

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