Match Report: Manchester United 2 Tottenham Hotspur 3
By Lee Savery
A pulsating encounter at Old Trafford saw Manchester United crash to their first home defeat of the season with Tottenham Hotspur winning there for the first time since 1989.
A first half where the home side took over 40 minutes to register a shot on goal, started superbly for Tottenham when Jan Vertonghen ran through a none existent United defence before slotting in a shot that deflected off Jonny Evans to beat Anders Lindegaard to his right. The goal was scored after just two minutes.
The start elevated Spurs into complete control as United struggled to break down the resurgent visitors.
They doubled their lead just after the half-hour mark when Gareth Bale picked up the ball on the halfway line before gliding past Rio Ferdinand and slotting past Lindegaard into the bottom right-hand corner. Old Trafford was stunned but it was nothing more than the visitors deserved.
Sir Alex Ferguson introduced Wayne Rooney in the second half which finally got United back into the game. His cross from the right was wonderfully finished by Nani which started a mad two minutes 20 seconds of football from the 51st minute.
Straight up the other end, Bale’s fierce shot from inside the area was only half saved by Lindegaard, leaving Clint Dempsey with the easiest of tap-ins. It was his first goal for Tottenham since his move from Fulham. Although he had no time to celebrate as Shinji Kagawa turned on a Robin van Persie pass before slotting his shot past Brad Friedel with a little help from the post.
United attacked and attacked but the third goal wouldn’t come. Rooney hit the post with a stunning free-kick from 30 yards. Michael Carrick hit the same post with a flick on from a corner. Paul Scholes also had a fierce shot saved by Friedel. Even with the four minutes of injury time, Spurs held on for a historic victory.
The first half was an unacceptable performance from the home side. The second half was more encouraging but the defending on all three goals will have the manager fuming. Everyone, finally, got to see Rooney & van Persie as a partnership and the signs are promising but one can only wonder why they didn’t start together.
A poor first half punished United here and work will need to be done for future challenges.