Manchester United eventually knocked out reigning Worthington Cup holders Blackburn Rovers in this pendulum semi-final, sealing their place against Liverpool at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium in March.
The tie finished 4-2 on aggregate to United but they had been given an early scare by Andy Cole's well-taken 12th minute goal.
A delightful pass from Tugay sent the ex-United frontman into the box and with the utmost ease, he lifted his shot over Fabien Barthez.
However, a quickfire double from the ever-dependable Paul Scholes put United in charge of the tie before half time and Ruud van Nistelrooy finished the scoring with 14 minutes left from the penalty spot.
Blackburn boss Graeme Souness said after the game: "I can't complain. We have played a really good team tonight. There is no disgrace in losing to a side of that quality." It was only an exceptional performance from goalkeeper Brad Friedel that kept the United score down but in truth, further goals would have flattered the Red Devils.
Scholes' leveller in the 29th minute was surrounded by controversy.
In controlling the ball it appeared to strike his hand but the whistle did not go and Scholes scored for the sixth consecutive game.
Blackburn's key winger, Damien Duff, limped off before Scholes fired home from close range just before the break.
Friedel produced top-class saves from Ryan Giggs and Roy Keane at one end but Cole could have done better when he headed straight at Barthez on the hour. A goal then would have made it interesting.
As it was, van Nistelrooy sprang the offside trap in the 76th minute, was brought down by Friedel and duly smashed home the penalty.
United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has been accused of not taking this competition seriously in the past. All that has changed now and it promises to be a classic final.