Manchester United emerged triumphant in a penalty shoot-out once again to lift a major trophy as they beat Tottenham 4-1 on penalties to win the Carling Cup after a 0-0 draw in extra-time.
A Carling Cup final triumph over Tottenham may not quite have the same resonance as the Champions League success they enjoyed at the Luzhniki Stadium but it was enough to maintain hopes of an unprecedented quintuple.
Indeed, taking into account last season's phenomenal achievements, United now have five trophies on their mantelpiece, including the Community Shield, and their hunger is some way off being sated.
Goalkeeper Ben Foster saved Jamie O'Hara's opening spot-kick for Spurs, and David Bentley's miss allowed Brazilian midfielder Anderson to slot home the decisive kick.
It was something of a surprise that Sir Alex Ferguson should name Rio Ferdinand as skipper.
The England defender had not featured for a minute of United's run to Wembley, with Nemanja Vidic having more of a claim on a starting spot.
As it turned out, United were glad of Ferdinand's presence as their defence came under increasing pressure from a Spurs outfit that started slowly, then gradually improved as the opening period wore on.
Although Luka Modric enjoyed plenty of possession in his role as playmaker, Aaron Lennon created more problems.
Lennon had plenty to prove, especially to those, including the watching England coach Fabio Capello, who feel the winger's delivery is not good enough.
Lennon showed he was up for the contest by fizzing past Patrice Evra before drilling a low cross to the edge of the six-yard box where Roman Pavlyuchenko might well have completed the notable achievement of scoring in every round if Ferdinand had not slid in to clear.
The flying Yorkshireman had switched wings by the time he floated over another cross for Pavlyuchenko that invited a firm header. Unfortunately the striker was unable to test Foster, who had won the battle with Tomasz Kuszczak to replace Edwin van der Sar.
Until he was helped off in extra-time, Lennon was the brightest attacking player on view, overshadowing a United strike force kept at bay by Ledley King and Michael Dawson.
In the absence of Jonathan Woodgate, who pulled out with an Achilles injury, King was superb, a throwback to the days when he was such a key figure for England under Sven-Goran Eriksson.
In his first major final Darron Gibson came mightily close to putting the Red Devils in front. However, while his shot was too much for Heurelho Gomes, it also flashed wide of the Brazilian's left-hand post.
Ferdinand was also a mere couple of inches away with a dipping volley that nestled on the roof of Tottenham's net.
Nani had the best chance though, letting fly with a snap-shot that threatened to creep in at the corner, only for Gomes to get down to make a fine save at the near post.
Unfortunately for Pavlyuchenko, he could not locate his radar at half-time. He skied a terrible free-kick way over the crossbar and while his effort could not be faulted, it was no surprise when he made way for O'Hara.
Jermaine Jenas was much closer when he tried his luck, although United had regained a semblance of authority in midfield, where Anderson's presence left Carlos Tevez on his own up front.
Tevez had gone close with an instinctive back-heel as an off-target Jonny Evans effort flew towards him and his industry matched that for which Wayne Rooney - ruled out by a virus - is so renowned.
Up to that point, the major let-down was Cristiano Ronaldo, who just could not get into the game and was booked for diving for the second weekend running.
On this occasion, the FIFA World Player of the Year was unlucky. It is debatable whether King's penalty-box challenge was a foul. There was, however, no debate over actual contact.
Given Joe Hart, now second-choice goalkeeper at Manchester City, was in the squad that tackled Spain last month, Capello was probably more delighted than Harry Redknapp to see Foster keep out a goal-bound Lennon effort 20 minutes from time.
It was the nearest either side came to breaking the deadlock until the final seconds, when Ronaldo finally broke free of his shackles and crashed a brute of a shot against the post.
Tevez glanced an extra-time header just wide, with Darren Bent drawing an excellent feet-first save out of Foster later on.
But there was no salvation from the penalty lottery which both teams have profited from over the past 12 months.
This time, it was United's turn. Foster emerged the hero with a save to deny O'Hara and Bentley's miss, combined with Anderson making it four out of four from the spot for the Red Devils, meant the trophy headed to Manchester.
Sir Alex Ferguson admitted the Barclays Premier League was his priority after
Manchester United beat Tottenham Hotspur 4-1 on penalties to lift the Carling
Cup at Wembley.
Ben Foster saved Jamie O'Hara's spot-kick, Spurs' first of the shoot-out, and
David Bentley missed to send United on their way to their second trophy of the
season after the game had ended goalless following extra time.
''They took their penalties very confidently,'' Ferguson told Sky Sports. ''Ben
Foster did a fantastic save and that gave us a big lift.''
The United manager admitted he would have preferred to win the match in normal
time as United continue to pursue an unprecedented quintuple.
''We could have done without extra time to be honest and I suppose Tottenham
will be saying the same,'' he added. ''There'll be some tired legs and I need
them to freshen up. The league's a priority and the Champions League as well.''
David Bentley missed what was to prove Spurs' last penalty, allowing Brazilian
midfielder Anderson to slot home the decisive kick.
Spurs manager Harry Redknapp praised his players and urged them to get over
their disappointment quickly ahead of the crucial league game at Middlesbrough
''I thought we were super,'' he said. ''It was a great performance and it came
down to a lottery in the end. I have to be honest, we were not that confident with our penalty takers really and you looked over there and they had very confident penalty takers.
''But overall they couldn't beat us in 90 minutes plus extra time so we didn't
deserve to lose and I thought we were fantastic. There's injuries, there's fatigue, we've spent all our resources. If you're Middlesbrough you must be sitting at home and enjoying every minute of this but I'm pleased with the performance.''
Veteran Ryan Giggs, who scored the first penalty of the shoot-out, hopes United
can continue on their remarkable run since winning the Club World Cup in
He claims if they maintain their current form the quintuple could become
''It's a cup final so obviously we wanted to win it and kick on from there,''
he said. ''That's what we did with the world club championship so hopefully we can show
the same form after winning this.
''There's a long way to go in all trophies remaining, we've just got to keep
the same desire and play as well as we have done. The manager's desire filters down to players and I think you can see that
with the players we've got.''
Tomorrow marks the 18th anniversary of Giggs' first-team debut and the
35-year-old will be hoping to have more trophies to add to his already heaving
collection come the end of the season.
He added: ''It's a long time but I don't look to the past really, just to the
rest of season and I try to enjoy the rest of the games remaining. I'm enjoying my football and playing in a great team with great players.''
Foster was deservedly named man of the match after several impressive stops, as
well as his penalty save. The young goalkeeper was delighted with his first Wembley appearance.
''It is absolutely fantastic - it was a crazy game,'' he said. ''The last 30 minutes were played at walking pace, but it was fantastic to get
the win. The pitch started to tear up a bit, but that was the same for both teams.
''I definitely have sympathy for them. They put us under massive pressure
throughout the game - but football sometimes is cruel.''
Foster added an ominous note for teams currently standing in their way in the
other trophies United are contesting.
He said: ''We're Man United; we want to win everything.''
Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp believes Manchester United can complete a clean
sweep of trophies this season, after lifting the Carling Cup at Wembley.
Redknapp's Spurs side, who did not practise penalties before the final, were
beaten 4-1 in the shoot-out after a goalless 120 minutes.
Jamie O'Hara had a spot-kick saved by United goalkeeper Ben Foster, and David
Bentley went wide with his - leaving Anderson to slot home the winning penalty.
After winning the Club World Cup in December, United can also lift the Barclays
Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup as well this season.
''They've got a big chance of winning the lot,'' said Redknapp.
''They're the team to beat, certainly, and have a fantastic squad.
''The league's going their way, for sure. You wouldn't bet against them to win
the Champions League. It'll be the big four in the semi-finals of the FA Cup.''
O'Hara was the first of Spurs' penalty takers, and they were on the back foot
when Foster saved; then Bentley's miss virtually ended their hopes.
''David had the bottle to take it but unfortunately didn't score,'' said
''It was a poor penalty for a player who can strike a ball as well as he can.
He's a great striker, but that's one of those things.''
O'Hara, who is only just back from injury, was in tears when he was left out of
the squad that won the trophy last year - and there was more disappointment this
''He's got a great left foot and was the first to volunteer for one,'' added
''He fancied one. Unfortunately, the goalkeeper made a good save.
''He left here in tears last year. He feels for the club, is part of the club.
I've been impressed with him as a player and a person, a terrific fella and
great lad, and I was pleased that he played a part in the day.''
Redknapp was pleased with his side matching United, with Aaron Lennon and Luka
Modric driving them forward.
''I thought we were super. It was a great performance and it came down to a
lottery in the end,'' he said.
''I have to be honest, we were not that confident with our penalty takers
really - and you looked over there and they had very confident penalty takers.
''But overall, they couldn't beat us in 90 minutes plus extra-time - so we
didn't deserve to lose, and I thought we were fantastic.''
John O'Shea was lucky not to see red when he slid in on Modric while on a
''O'Shea could have gone in all honesty. But you don't want to see someone get
sent off in a cup final,'' said Redknapp.
He will now assess his squad to see who is fit to Middlesbrough on Wednesday,
with Premier League points needed to be sure of survival.
Jonathan Woodgate missed the final with an Achilles injury; Ledley King is
unlikely to recover in time, and Michael Dawson and Lennon were struggling with