Both defences were on top form and it looked like ending in stalemate until a strange free kick decision cost Dundee the match. The linesman flagged and the referee at first seemed to think it was offsides and pointed for a free kick to Dundee. Realising his assistant had flagged for a foul he then reversed the decision. Enter Charlie Miller whose perfect free kick found the head of JIM MCINTYRE whose fierce header beat Speroni for the winning goal.
The first half told little of what was to come and in the early stages both teams sussed each other out and neither team looked likely to break down the other's defence. Dundee showed little in the way of attack and Milne and Sara were having a barren time of it up front.
United began to dominate things midway through the half. A deflected Craig Easton shot pulled out an inspirational save from young Julian Speroni who was to go on to have a fine match. Charlie Miller tested him again before the break, creating space for himself on the edge of the box to curl a fine shot goalwards only for Speroni to leap to his left to deflect the ball out for a corner.
Dundee didn't really have a shot to trouble Gallacher in United's goal the entire first period. Dundee had lost Gavin Rae after 25 minutes and he was replaced by Javier Artero, and though "Harry" played well the loss of the midfield hard man was a blow to the away side.
The second half produced as fine and stirring a performance as has been seen in a Dundee derby for many years. Both teams attacked non stop right from the word go and the fans were treated to a stirring cup tie second 45 that they will long remember.
Dundee came close with fine efforts from Juan Sara, brilliantly saved by Gallacher, and Walter Del Rio's whose low effort was cleared off the line, but only just. A superb Carranza chip shot was palmed over by Gallacher as it was dipping beneath the bar. Fan Zhiyi saw a header well saved by the same keeper and it was becoming obvious it wasn't Dundee's day in front of goal.
United were probably thinking the same up until the 90th minute. Julian Speroni had produced a string of miraculous saves that defied the tangerines time after time. Miller, Lilley, Easton and Hamilton all saw certain goals palmed away or tipped over the bar as the 23 year old Argentine Under-21 internationalist turned on an inspired display.
With 17 minutes remaining Ivano Bonetti seemed to feel the draw was on as he pulled off Beto Carranza and replaced him with a defender in Dave Mackay.
But it was not to be as the Dundee hearts were broken with Jim McIntyre's fine header in the last minute. But a great game, one in which neither team deserved to lose and both gave their all in effort.