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Thursday, Oct. 28, 2010

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Hold me close, Bebe: Manchester United striker Bebe (left) fights for the ball with Wolves' George Elokobi during their League Cup match at Old Trafford on Tuesday. AP PHOTO

Hernandez strikes again as United knocks out Wolves

LONDON (AP) Javier Hernandez scored his third goal in three days Tuesday to give Manchester United a 3-2 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers and continue his club's attempt to win a third straight League Cup title.

Wolves twice equalized with their first goals at Old Trafford since February 1980 but Hernandez, on as a substitute, dummied a defender and lifted the ball over the goalkeeper for a 90th-minute winner and a place in the quarterfinals.

Bebe and Park Ji Sung scored the other goals for United.

Birmingham also advanced but the Premier League club needed an injury-time equalizer before beating third-tier Brentford 4-3 in a penalty shootout.

Ipswich beat Northampton 3-1, Wigan beat Swansea 2-0 and West Bromwich Albion won 4-1 at Leicester.

United manager Alex Ferguson fielded a second-string lineup including goalkeeper Ben Amos, winger Gabriel Obertan and Portuguese forward Bebe, who started a match for the first time since joining the club in August.

But equalizers by George Elokobi and Kevin Foley forced Ferguson to introduce Hernandez, who scored twice in the Premier League on Sunday for a 2-1 win at Stoke, as an 81st-minute substitute.

"He's got a great attitude to the game and he wants to learn," United defender Wes Brown said. "He tries his hardest and he deserved his goal at the end."

Bebe put United ahead in the 56th minute with an apparent attempt to cross from the right side of the area, sending the ball looping over goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.

Foley headed the ball out from almost underneath the bar, but the referee awarded the goal after a linesman told him — correctly according to replays — that it had crossed the line.

The 20-year-old Bebe was playing in the Portuguese third division last year. He was unknown outside Portugal before United made a surprise move following recommendations from a club scout and former assistant manager Carlos Queiroz.

Elokobi headed in from a corner four minutes later and, after Park scored with a shot into the top corner, Foley collected a pass from Steven Fletcher and hit a shot under Amos to make it 2-2 with 14 minutes left.

Hernandez then made his dramatic late entrance.

"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."

Murcia holds Madrid

MADRID (AP) Third-tier Murcia held Spanish leader Real Madrid to an embarrassing 0-0 draw while Barcelona started with a win Tuesday as topflight clubs entered the fourth round of the Copa del Rey.

Murcia goalkeeper Dani Hernandez made second-half saves to deny Cristiano Ronaldo, Pedro Leon and substitute Angel Di Maria to keep Madrid from taking the lead in the first leg match.

Madrid controlled the game as it was determined not to repeat last year's 4-0 first leg defeat to minnow Alcorcon at the same stage. Third-tier clubs have eliminated Madrid in the fourth round the past two seasons.

Madrid, a 17-time winner of the domestic cup competition, hasn't won it since 1993.

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