Wayne Rooney came off the substitutes’ bench to head the winner as Manchester United beat Aston Villa 2-1 to win the Carling Cup at Wembley on Sunday.
The England striker headed his 28th goal of the season to seal victory after Michael Owen had equalised James Milner’s early penalty for Villa.
Rooney began the match on the bench after apparently suffering from flu in midweek and he watched as Villa made the better start, taking the lead on five minutes.
Gabriel Agbonlahor latched onto a long ball from Ashley Young and after turning Nemanja Vidic inside and out, the defender tripped him up and the referee awarded a penalty, though Vidic was very lucky not to be further punished.
United hit back quickly and after 12 minutes they were level.
Richard Dunne got back well to tackle Dimitar Berbatov but the ball broke straight to Owen and he found the corner with a cool finish.
Ji-Sung Park almost made it 2-1 to United but his shot hit the post and ricocheted to safety for Villa.
On 41 minutes, Owen pulled up when chasing a ball with seemingly a hamstring injury and he was replaced by Rooney.
Immediately United were even more dangerous and on 74 minutes, Antonio Valencia’s cross found Rooney who headed an unstoppable effort over Brad Friedel into the top corner.
Rooney thought he had made it 3-1 when he headed another effort onto the bottom of the post and while Villa tried hard for an equalizer, they could not find the net.