United edged a tense Carling Cup final against Tottenham Hotspur, winning a second major trophy of the season after a penalty shootout at Wembley.
Ben Foster saved superbly from Jamie O'Hara and David Bentley missed the target altogether, allowing Anderson to score the winning penalty after Ryan Giggs, Carlos Tevez and Cristiano Ronaldo had all successfully converted.
It was no more than United deserved for bossing much of the match itself. Ronaldo came closest to winning the cup in normal time, but his powerful effort was denied by the post in the dying seconds of a close-fought final.
True to his word, Sir Alex kept faith with the players who had taken the Reds to Wembley. With the exception of Patrice Evra and Rio Ferdinand, every member of the starting XI had started at least one match earlier in the competition.
Ronaldo had Heurelho Gomes worried twice inside the opening six minutes, firstly with a 25-yard free-kick which fizzed over, then with a half-hit shot on target after good build-up play from Nani and Tevez.
United's crisp passing and non-stop movement had Tottenham chasing shadows during the opening exchanges. Gibson was inches away from netting a 25-yard scorcher, only for his effort to fade just past Gomes' top corner with the Brazilian beaten.
Moments later the Brazilian clawed Nani's low shot round the post as United's pressure continued, only for Spurs to almost snatch the lead on 17 minutes. Lennon broke free of Evra's attentions and bypassed Foster with his pull-back, but
Rio Ferdinand was alert to the threat of Roman Pavlyuchenko and pipped the Russian to the loose ball.
So infrequent were Spurs' forays forward, that the skipper's next contribution came at the other end. Spurs made a hash of clearing a Nani cross, and Ferdinand took a touch before sending a 25-yard volley onto the roof of Gomes' net.
From then, the Londoners increasingly got to grips with United's one-touch approach, and Lennon was at the heart of all their attacking penetration. Evans had to be alert to stop another pull-back from the former Leeds man, before Pavlyuchenko headed over from a left-wing Lennon cross.
By the time the interval came, Tottenham were far more worthy of parity, having been under the cosh for much of the opening period. United could - and should - have forged ahead within three minutes of the restart. Ronaldo, played through by O'Shea, opted to pass rather than shoot from a tight-ish angle, allowing Spurs to survive.
Harry Redknapp's side were handed another let-off on the hour-mark. A Gibson corner was half-cleared as far as Evans, whose mis-hit shot was off target, but ended up only fractionally wide after Tevez's clever flick deviated it goalwards.
Lady Luck then quickly flipped sides, back and forth. John O'Shea was a touch fortunate to pick up one yellow card rather than two, but Ronaldo was then harshly booked for diving when Spurs skipper King had caught him just inside the area.
That misfortune was almost compounded with 20 minutes remaining as Foster thwartedLennon after the clearest opening of the match. The winger was found in acres of space inside the area, but Foster displayed brilliant reactions to turn away Lennon's stinging shot.
Substitute Anderson, on for Danny Welbeck, then stung Gomes' palms with a curling effort from just outside the area, before Nemanja Vidic was introduced in place of the now-limping O'Shea.
The nip-and-tuck nature of the match continued with few clear openings until, less than 30 seconds from time, Ronaldo cut in from the right and smashed a left-footed effort which rebounded off the inside of Gomes' post and away to safety.
That was the final opportunity in normal time, and the first opening of extra time also came United's way, as Tevez drifted a header wide from Evra's left-wing cross. Darren Bent then forced Foster to save smartly with his legs at the near post in the second period, but Evra almost won it with a minute remaining with a stinging half-volley which only fractionally flew over.
It was no surprise, however, when penalties were required to determine a winner. United prevailed emphatically to secure a second trophy of the season, with another three still very much in the Reds' sights.
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