Every time Manchester United and Manchester City meet in league cup matches, sparks fly; all their four meetings have gone down in infamy, though their game on Wednesday at old Trafford is unlikely to attract as much drama and intensity; or so some sportsbetting lines analysts have suggested.
The first match in 1969 between these two teams threw George Best, Dennis Law and Bobby Charlton against Mike Summerbee, Colin Bell, and Francis lee. The first leg went to City courtesy of Lee whose late penalty attracted some controversy.
Best ended up being banned for four weeks when he knocked the ball out of referee Jack Taylor’s hands in a gesture some called playful while others thought was petulant. Luckily for Best, his ban came a few weeks after the second leg of the United/City contention at Old Trafford. Summerbee managed to get the ball past goalkeeper Alex Stepney shortly after he had palmed a last minute shot from Lee.
City would go on to beat West Bromwich Albion in the final. Manchester United didn’t have a particularly good time during the derbies of that time, with City winning six out of seven league matches in the 1968-1974 periods.
United probably hasn’t forgotten one of the last matches of that period during which City pretty much relegated them.
By the time Manchester City returned to Old Trafford (six months later), they were definitely favorites to win. Manchester United was in a unique position; things might have been going well in the second division, but United was definitely the underdog on their own ground.
Maybe it was the anticipation that drove them to finally succeed because Manchester United won the match 1-0; Gerry Daly’s disputed penalty gave United the victory they needed to rise again and put City on its back.
Some fans who watched that match have claimed that they have never been in a more exciting atmosphere; even the victories over Ajax (1976) and Barcelona (1984) couldn’t quite compete with the euphoria of fans on that day.
Of course, Manchester City fans care little about the little victory that Manchester United stole that day because they got their revenge a year later, winning 4-0; Dennis Tueart was the first City player to score a goal, putting the ball into the net within the first 35 seconds.
City hadn’t performed as well in the past as they did on that day, though the match will also be remembered for bringing Bell’s career to an end.
Bell was tackled by Martin Buchan just as his studs dug into and got stuck in the turf; his knee bent backward and he tore the ligaments in the area. While City fans made a point of demonizing Buchan, any objective analyst will tell you that he didn’t do anything wrong.
Before the Abu Dhabi United group take over in 2008, Manchester City struggled with a lengthy trophy drought, looking back at the 1970s when it overcame Manchester United for the League cup with wonder.
The takeover did not deliver immediate results because City lost to United a year later (4-3), though Carlos Tevez helped City take the home leg 2-1 by scoring two goals against Manchester United.
City also beat United in the FA Cup semi-final a year later, earning their first trophy since 1976. For City and United games, the League Cup has often provided the most thrills and excitement. Neither team ever really disappoints.