Manchester Utd 3 Chelsea 1
Manchester United 3 Chelsea 1, Old Trafford, English Premier League, September 18, 2011. Manchester United managed to overcome fellow Premier League title chasers Chelsea at Old Trafford. Goals from Chris Smalling, Luis Nani, and Wayne Rooney in the first half eventually saw the home outfit run out 3-1 winners over the West Londoners in the end.
Table topping Manchester United had outclassed Bolton Wanderers 5-0 at Reebok Stadium in their previous Premier League fixture thanks to a hat-trick from the inform Wayne Rooney and a brace by Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, while third placed Chelsea had defeated Sunderland 2-1 at The Stadium of Light in their last Premiership game courtesy of a goal each from John Terry and Daniel Sturridge. Manchester United raced into an early 1-0 lead as exciting new winger Ashley Young sent an excellent free-kick towards the six-yard area where defender Chris Smalling headed home in the eighth minute of play. And after thirty-six minutes, Portuguese international Luis Nani doubled the advantage for Manchester United with a superb effort from outside the eighteen-yard box which gave Chelsea and Czech Republic custodian Petr Cech no chance to save whatsoever. Then, shortly before the sound of the half-time whistle, former Blackburn Rovers stopper Phil Jones executed a brilliant one-two with Rooney before the ball eventually ended up in the path of the trigger happy sharpshooter who calmly slammed it past Cech and into the back of the net. A mere thirty seconds into the second period, though, Spanish international Fernando Torres pulled one back for The Pensioners when he received a clever pass from striking partner Nicolas Anelka and clipped the ball past David de Gea in the Manchester United goal from short distance. A mindless challenge by Stamford Bridge defender Jose Bosingwa on fellow countryman Nani led to a penalty just ten minutes later, but Rooney´s spot-kick went wide.
Reigning Premier League Champions Manchester United continued to dominate and the hosts had number of goal scoring opportunities as they kept pressuring the away defence. Two minutes past the hour mark, Michael Carrick and Antonio Valencia replaced Oliveira Anderson and Chris Smalling respectively, and in the seventy-ninth minute Dimitar Berbatov came on for Chicharito who was injured following a nasty two-footed tackle by Chelsea defender Ashley Cole. Chelsea also had their moments, however, and Torres should have scored his second goal of the clash with seventeen minutes remaining of normal time, but the Spaniard managed to put the ball past the upright from a mere six-yards out. Berbatov then almost added a fourth goal for United during stoppage time, only to see his effort cleared off the line by Cole. After overcoming The Blues by 3-1 at home, Sir Alex Ferguson´s side were now topping the Premiership table with fifteen points collected from five matches played, two points clear of second placed Manchester City, five ahead of third positioned Chelsea, and six above Newcastle United in fourth spot. Manchester United Team: David de Gea, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Jonny Evans, Patrice Evra, Darren Fletcher, Luis Carlos Almeida da Cunha, Anderson Luis de Abreu Oliveira, Javier Hernandez, Wayne Rooney, Ashley Young. Substitutes: Fabio Pereira da Silva, Michael Carrick, Luis Antonio Valencia Mosquera, Dimitar Berbatov, Ryan Giggs, Ji-sung Park, Anders Lindegaard. Chelsea Team: Petr Cech, John Terry, Jose Bosingwa, Branislav Ivanovic, Ashley Cole, Juan Mata, Frank Lampard Junior, Ramires Santos do Nascimento, Raul Meireles, Daniel Sturridge, Fernando Torres. Substitutes: David Luiz, John Obi Mikel, Oriol Romeu, Nicolas Anelka, Romelu Lukaku, Florent Malouda, Ross Turnbull.
Luis Nani Quickfacts
Luis Nani began his career with local club Real Massama before he joined Portuguese Primeira Liga giants Sporting Clube de Portugal where he made his debut as a substitute for Custodio Casto in a 1–0 Champions League Qualifying loss to Udinese at Estadio Jose Alvalade on the 10th of August 2005.