Gary Neville could face disciplinary action for directing a one-fingered gesture at former teammate Carlos Tevez after the Football Association confirmed they were looking into an incident in last night's League Cup semi-final first leg. Neville made the gesture from the touchline as Tevez celebrated the first of his two goals in Manchester City's 2-1 first leg win over Manchester United at Eastlands.
The Argentina striker's celebrations had included a 'stop talking' gesture to Neville and appeared to be a response to the United defender's pre-match comment that the club had made the right decision in allowing Tevez to leave the club at the end of last season rather than find the £25 million (Dh149m) it would have cost to sign him permanently. Neville is effectively on probation with the FA having been warned about his conduct earlier in the season following provocative celebrations of Michael Owen's late winner for United in the Manchester derby match at Old Trafford in September.
Tevez celebrated his second goal in similar fashion, running in front of the United dugout and cupping his hands behind his ears. But he failed to get a reaction from United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, who has also expressed the opinion that the striker is not worth £25 million. "It is just the way these things happen," Ferguson said. "Football can be like that. It can bite you. We have had a few players leave the club and score against us. There is no issue. I am happy with the players we have got."
Tevez has now scored 17 goals for City this season and his teammate Pablo Zabaleta believes he was fuelled by a desire to make a point to Ferguson and Neville. "One Manchester United player talked about Carlos before the game so he showed he is top class, a top player," Zabaleta said. "He is amazing, everyone knows Carlos is a great player. Everyone loves him. This was a special game for him, one he has been dreaming about.
"I am aware of his qualities and think he can give a repeat performance against United next week." United took an early lead through Ryan Giggs, but Tevez equalised from the spot after Rafael pulled back Craig Bellamy and then headed in the winner. Zabaleta added: "Our reaction was fantastic after we lost the goal. It was a good performance from the team, we played well and showed strong mentality.
"It is a great result for us and an important one for the next leg. It was unbelievable near the end. United kept coming and had many chances but we never stopped working. "We want to please our supporters and get to the final. There was a lot of satisfaction after the game but we have to show this commitment again next week. You can see we have great players and a strong character." * AFP