Hernandez to the rescue as United advance

Javier Hernandez struck a last-gasp winner as holders Manchester United booked their place in the League Cup quarterfinals with a 3-2 victory over Wolves on Tuesday.

Hernandez — who scored both goals in United’s dramatic late victory over Stoke on Sunday — rode to the Red Devils’ rescue after coming on as a substitute nine minutes from time at Old Trafford.

The 22-year-old striker looked threatening from the moment he was introduced before surging into the Wolves area, wrongfooting his marker and rifling in a 90th-minute winner.

The Mexican international’s match-winning cameo came after United had twice taken the lead in the second half through Portuguese signing Bebe and Park Ji-Sung, only for Wolves to level through George Elokobi and Kevin Foley.

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson lavished praise on Hernandez after a victory that keeps the English giants on course for a third successive League Cup.

“We tend to build up heroes very quickly here but the boy’s justifying the praise at the moment,” Ferguson said. “He’s such a great professional, the kid.

“He’s first in, last out at the training ground every day. His goal-scoring is getting him a lot of credit and quite rightly. When he came on you just knew that if he got a chance he’d take it.”

United’s captain for the night, Wes Brown, said Hernandez — nicknamed Chicharito (Little Pea) — was rapidly emerging as a cult hero at Old Trafford.

“He’s got a great attitude to the game. He’s a player who wants to learn and score goals and is good at it,” Brown told Sky Sports. “He tries his hardest and deserved his goal at the end. He’s a new cult hero and I’m sure he can keep it going.”

Quarterfinal dreams end
In other fourth-round matches on Tuesday, Northampton’s dreams of a place in the quarterfinals ended in a 3-1 defeat by Ipswich at Portman Road.

Northampton — who had accounted for Liverpool in the previous round — looked set to extend their giant-killing run when Liam Davis fired the Cobblers into the lead on 16 minutes.

But Roy Keane’s side got back on level terms 10 minutes later through Carlos Edwards and took the lead on the stroke of half-time through Damien Delaney, before Tamas Priskin completed the scoring with a late header.

West Bromwich Albion booked their place in the last eight with a 4-1 victory at Leicester, two goals from Simon Cox and one each from Somen Tchoyi and Steven Reid emphasising the gulf in class between the two sides.

Leicester’s sole effort came from a Nicky Shorey own goal shortly after half-time.

At the DW Stadium, Wigan boss Roberto Martinez saw the Latics ease into the last eight with a 2-0 victory over his previous employers, Swansea.

Argentinian signing Mauro Boselli’s first goal for Wigan set the Premier League side on the way to victory before Ben Watson sealed the victory in injury time with a penalty.

At St Andrews, Birmingham had veteran striker Kevin Phillips to thank as they squeezed through 4-3 on penalties against Brentford after the two sides finished deadlocked at 1-1 after extra time.

Phillips scrambled in an equaliser in the second minute of stoppage time to make it 1-1 and force extra-time after Sam Wood had given Brentford the lead midway through the second half. — AFP

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Rob Woollard
Rob Woollard
Report on sport in the Americas for Agence France-Presse.
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