Man United 5 Portsmouth 0

Luis Nani

Man­chester Uni­ted 5 Ports­mouth 0, Old Traf­ford, Eng­lish Pre­mier Lea­gue, Feb­ruary 6, 2010. Man­chester Uni­ted fou­nd their way back to the top of the ta­ble as they out­classed Ports­mouth at ho­me. Uni­ted were com­fort­ably lead­ing 2-0 at the break, and the ho­me te­am came back even strong­er in the sec­ond ha­lf to be­at the vis­it­ors by an over­whelm­ing 5-0 margin.

Man­chester Uni­ted were mas­sive fa­vour­ites to over­come Ports­mouth at Old Traf­ford, and Sir Al­ex Ferguson´s Pre­miership title con­tenders had no trouble at all in de­feat­ing the re­leg­a­tion threat­ened club at ho­me. Uni­ted came in­to this en­counter on the back of an im­press­ive 3-1 Pre­mier Lea­gue tri­umph ag­ainst fel­low high-fli­ers Ar­senal at the Emir­ates Sta­dium, where­as Av­ram Grant´s te­am had suf­fered a nar­row 1-0 de­feat at the hands of Ful­ham at Craven Cot­tage in their pre­vi­ous Pre­miership fix­ture. In the cor­res­pond­ing Pre­mier Lea­gue meet­ing of the 2008-09 cam­paign, The Red Dev­ils had de­feated Ports­mouth by a 2-0 score at Old Traf­ford cour­tesy of a goal each from Way­ne Roo­ney and Mi­chael Car­rick in the ninth and 82nd min­ute of the tussle re­spect­ively. For this mat­ch, Man­chester Uni­ted were mis­sing the ser­vices of Rio Fer­dinand, Owen Har­greaves, John O’Shea and Ne­manja Vid­ic, whi­le Pom­pey had to make do with­out the phys­ic­al pres­ence of Mi­chael Bro­wn and Papa Bouba Di­op. The Hamp­shire out­fit, who had failed to be­at Man­chester Uni­ted in a Lea­gue fix­ture at Old Traf­ford since the 19th of Oct­ober 1957, had a couple of de­cent goal scor­ing op­por­tun­it­ies dur­ing the early skir­mishes of the clash and vet­er­an ho­me goal­keeper Ed­win van der Sar made a mag­ni­fi­cent save from An­thony Vanden Bor­re’s ex­cel­lent ef­fort on thir­teen min­utes. The So­uth Coast­ers con­tin­ued their good start and the vis­it­ing si­de al­most sco­red in the 28th min­ute of the con­test when North­ern Ire­land in­ter­na­tion­al de­fender Jon­ny Evans just ma­naged to clear a power­ful drive from wily wing­er Nadir Bel­hadj off the line. Five min­utes be­fore the in­ter­val, how­ever, Man­chester Uni­ted ev­entually went in­to the lead as en­er­get­ic mid­fielder Dar­ren Fletch­er cros­sed from the right and Way­ne Roo­ney slipped tho­ugh be­tween three Ports­mouth play­ers in­clud­ing shot stop­per Da­vid Ja­mes to head the ball in­to the goal from clo­se ran­ge. The Three Li­ons in­ter­na­tion­al then fou­nd rock­et-heeled flank for­ward Lu­is Nani on the left si­de of the 18-yard area and his at­temp­ted cross was de­flec­ted off Vanden Borre in­to the net on­ly a few sec­onds be­fore the sound of the ha­lf-time whistle.

Fol­low­ing the re­start, in­creas­ingly frus­trated Frat­ton Park boss Av­ram Grant could on­ly sit and watch as his Ports­mouth troops com­pletely lost their chutzpah wi­th the sec­ond pe­riod wear­ing on. In the 59th min­ute of pro­ceed­ings at The Theatre of Dreams, a fe­ro­cious long dis­tance rock­et from Eng­land in­ter­na­tion­al Mi­chael Car­rick was de­flec­ted by pre­vi­ous Bourne­mouth play­er Rich­ard Hug­hes wi­th the ball go­ing in­to the goal via the cross­bar, and a mere three min­utes la­ter, bat­ter­ing ram stri­ker Di­m­it­ar Ber­batov dis­played some of his ter­rif­ic skills when he re­gistered the fourth goal of the day wi­th a su­perb shot from fif­teen yards out. The fi­nal goal of the one-sided Pre­mier Lea­gue fix­ture ar­rived in the 69th min­ute of ac­tion when Nani head­ed on an ac­cur­ate cross by Pat­rice Ev­ra from the left si­de and un­lucky Re­pub­lic of Ire­land de­fender Marc Wil­son ma­naged to put the ball bey­ond Ja­mes and in­to the back of his own net from six yards out. In oth­er mat­ches, Liver­pool edged out neigh­bouring rivals Ever­ton by 1-0 at An­field to gain their fifth con­sec­ut­ive ho­me win in the Pre­mier Lea­gue. Burn­ley be­at West Ham Uni­ted 2-1 at Turf Moor, Hull City de­feated Man­chester City 1-0 at KC Sta­dium, whi­le Sto­ke City over­came Black­burn Rov­ers by 3-0 at Brit­an­nia Sta­dium. Man­chester Uni­ted Te­am: Ed­win van der Sar, Ga­ry Ne­ville, Jon­ny Evans, Wes Bro­wn, Pat­rice Ev­ra, An­tonio Va­lencia, Lu­is Nani, Mi­chael Car­rick, Dar­ren Fletch­er, Way­ne Roo­ney, Di­m­it­ar Ber­batov. Sub­stitutes: Ritch­ie De Laet, Dar­ron Gib­son, Fa­bio da Silva, Ji-Sung Park, Mame Biram Di­ouf, Mi­chael Owen, To­masz Kusz­czak. Ports­mouth Te­am: Da­vid Ja­mes, Tal Ben Haim, An­thony Vanden Borre, Nadir Bel­hadj, Ri­cardo Rocha, Hay­den Mullins, Marc Wil­son, Jam­ie O’Hara, Rich­ard Hug­hes, Fre­der­ic Piquionne, Dan­ny Webber. Sub­stitutes: Ste­ve Fin­nan, Has­san Yebda, Ar­una Dindane, An­gelos Basi­nas, Kev­in-Prince Boa­teng, Quincy Owusu-Abey­ie, Jam­ie Ashdown.


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