A brilliant first half header from Vidic, followed by a controversial second from Nani was enough to give United a crucial three points against an in-orm visiting Spurs side. With players with the talent of van der Vaart, Modric, Bale and Lennon in the squad, Sir Alex made use of Carrick, Fletcher, Nani and Park in midfield. Rafael was employed at right back to counter the pace and trickery of Gareth Bale, the pairing of Vidic and Ferdinand would see to the elusive presence of Robbie Keane. As expected, Hernández and Berbatov would continue to pair up front.
The game began with a very good tempo, with neither side showing any caution in the opening minutes. Indeed, Park came very close in under our minutes, when his long-range drive from 25 yards hit a hapless Gomes’ post. Spurs were not to be outdone however, and their player of the season so far in van der Vaart did some terrific harrying before unleashing a curling 25 yard strike of his own, though once again, it came off the far post. Spurs were beginning to grow into the game, and the combination of Modric and van der Vaart was causing the United midfield in Fletcher and Carrick all sorts of problems. On the other hand, Rafael was having absolutely no problems against Bale, showing great strength and pace against the in-form Welshman. Spurs came close again, this time via a curling shot from Modric off a corner, but van der Sar did brilliantly to tip it away.
It seemed only a matter of time before the breakthrough came about, and United didn’t disappoint. A freekick from Nani on the right drifted into the box, where a surprisingly unmarked Vidic was present to guide the ball home with his head. It was poor defending from Spurs, but great technique from the United captain to place his header with such accuracy. The teams went into halftime with United in the lead.
The second half picked up from where the first ended, in terms of the tempo of the game. United looked comfortable, bar the occasional breaks froward from Spurs. Sir Alex played Fletcher deeper this half in order to counter the threat from Modric, and Carrick played further forward. United were obviously desperate to score a second and close the game out without giving up another lead, and Hernández came close with an instinctive first-time effort from just inside the box.
Then came the moment of controversy, six minutes from time. Nani was played through into the box, but seemingly brought down by Kaboul, but shouts for a penalty were denied by referee Mark Clattenburg. On the ground, Nani obviously handled the ball, but the referee waved play on and didn’t signal a freekick — a message that obviously didn’t reach Gomes, who set the ball down only for Nani to come round and roll into an empty net. The linesman said it was not a goal, but the referee after long consultation overruled him and allowed it to stand. Despite fierce protests from the Spurs players, United were 2-0 up in bizarre circumstances.
It was a bizarre end to an enthralling game, and despite the anyway anti-United media, there are a number points for this goal. Firstly, Nani should have been awarded a penalty anyway, after being clearly brought down by Kaboul in the box, and secondly, if the referee hasn’t blown for a freekick, he had every right to knock it into the net. Playing to the whistle and all that. Anyway, it was a good performance from the Reds, one of the few this season that showed any kind of confidence in midfield and defence. Nani, Park, Vidic, Ferdinand and Rafael had very good games, which is a good sign for the coming weeks.
Best Moment: Vidic opener
Worst Moment: When the second was almost ruled out
Man of the Match: Vidic/ Rafael
Written by Sownak27