Saturday, September 12, 2009

Manchester United too strong for Spurs

Ten-man Manchester United came from a goal down to win 3-1 at White Hart Lane and end Tottenham's 100 per cent Premier League record.

Jermain Defoe opened the scoring with a spectacular overhead kick after just 47 seconds, but thereafter things went downhill for Spurs.
A Ryan Giggs free-kick, Anderson's first United goal and a Wayne Rooney strike turned the match around, and not even Paul Scholes's red card could halt the champions' progress.
After opening the season with four wins, Harry Redknapp's side were knocked off their perch after an afternoon that began so magnificently when Defoe launched himself acrobatically at a dropping ball and powered a picture perfect bicycle kick past Ben Foster.

It was his eighth goal in as many appearances for club and country this season, and the kind of strike that only a man at the top of his game would attempt, let alone execute to perfection.
Tottenham have never been a team to sit on a lead, and within a minute they presented United with a chance to level. Dimitar Berbatov backheeled into the path of Scholes, who dragged his shot disappointingly wide.
Less than four minutes in, United went close again. Darren Fletcher seized on a loose ball on the right side of the box and brought a fine save from Carlo Cudicini with his low shot.
Defoe's early piece of genius seemed to inspire others to attempt the spectacular, and Peter Crouch did just that when he chested down a long clearance and, in one motion, volleyed the ball goalwards from 30 yards but watched it sail off target.
Crouch forced a save out of Foster with another volley, while Tom Huddlestone also tried a volley on his left foot but sent it over.
On 25 minutes, Wilson Palacios went into the book for a two-footed challenge on Berbatov, but a worse punishment was to come.
The presence of Cristiano Ronaldo at Old Trafford meant very little free-kick practice for Giggs, but the Portuguese's departure for Real Madrid has allowed the veteran to dust off his shooting boots.

Rooney helped disguise the Welshman's run-up, and Giggs curled the ball past Cudicini into the top-right corner.
Giggs, nearly 36, is a man who simply oozes statistics. This was his 700th start for United, and he has now scored in each of the last 18 league campaigns.
Anderson, by contrast, had failed to find the net in any of his 77 previous games for United.
His goal drought has always seemed baffling considering his willingness to get forward and have a shot, and is even harder to understand after watching him thump the ball low into the right corner from the edge of the box.
The Brazilian even had a machine-gun celebration prepared - clearly one that had been more than two years in the making.
Spurs started the second half in impressively determined fashion. Robbie Keane had a shot deflected over, Jermaine Jenas forced a brilliant save from Foster and Crouch headed against the bar - simply too tall to convert his towering header.

United, meanwhile, threatened to self-destruct. In the space of eight minutes Scholes executed two of his trademark late, wild tackles that left referee Andre Marriner no option but to send him off.
It was the ninth dismissal of the 34-year-old's career; we can definitively say he will never learn.
Alex Ferguson reacted by replacing Berbatov with Michael Carrick - both ex-Spurs men were heartily booed when the change was made - and United barely noticed any difference.
Rooney went close with a low shot that brought a brilliant save from Cudicini, then made it three on 78 minutes after a counter-attack from a Tottenham free-kick.
With Sebastien Bassong and Ledley King upfield, Rooney cut in from the right, bamboozled Alan Hutton and finished through the legs of Cudicini.

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