Manchester Utd 2 Spurs 0

Luis Nani

Man­chester Uni­ted 2 Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur 0, Old Traf­ford, Eng­lish Pre­mier Lea­gue, Oct­ober 30, 2010. Goals from Ne­manja Vid­ic and Lu­is Nani han­ded Man­chester Uni­ted a 2-0 win ag­ainst Spurs. Vid­ic put Uni­ted in front in the twenty-ninth min­ute be­fore Nani took ad­vant­age of some con­fu­sion in the area to net his fifth goal of the sea­son wi­th six min­utes left.

The stat­ist­ics sur­round­ing the his­tory of this clas­sic en­counter no doubt made de­press­ing read­ing for Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur sup­port­ers as Man­chester Uni­ted had taken sev­en wins from the last ten meet­ings be­tween the two clubs, whi­le The Li­ly­whites had ma­naged three draws. Sir Al­ex Fer­guson had pre­vi­ously ad­mit­ted, how­ever, that he had be­en im­pressed by the work that Harry Red­napp had done at White Hart Lane. Man­chester Uni­ted, who were un­defeated in the Pre­mier Lea­gue so far in the sea­son, al­most went in­to an early lead af­ter on­ly two min­utes of the play as a hard and low strike by mid­field com­batant Ji-Sung Park from some twenty-five yards out can­noned off the post. A mere six min­utes la­ter in the con­test, tho­ugh, the North Lon­don club near­ly fou­nd the back of the net when sum­mer sign­ing Ra­fael van der Vaart hit the wood­work wi­th a blis­ter­ing left-foot shot. Af­ter bo­th of the te­ams had missed sev­er­al de­cent goal scor­ing op­por­tun­it­ies be­tween them, the open­ing goal ar­rived one min­ute be­fore the ha­lf-hour ma­rk as Ser­bia in­ter­na­tion­al Ne­manja Vid­ic head­ed ho­me an ex­cel­lent free-kick from Lu­is Nani. Re­cov­er­ing from the set­back of Vidic´s goal, The Li­ly­whites push­ed hard for­ward and the vis­it­ing out­fit came clo­se to equal­ising when Luka Mod­ric for­ced a mag­ni­fi­cent save from Man­chester Uni­ted shot stop­per Ed­win van der Sar wi­th a thun­der­ous ef­fort from eight­een yards out shortly be­fore the in­ter­val. Fol­low­ing the ha­lf-time re­fresh­ments, Man­chester Uni­ted slowly, but surely, got on top thanks to the hard work of mid­field­ers Mi­chael Car­rick and Dar­ren Fletch­er. The Man­chester Uni­ted faith­ful were scream­ing for a pen­alty-kick af­ter eighty-four min­utes of fierce ac­tion when Nani was bro­ught down to earth in­side the eight­een-yard area by Yones Ka­boul, but ref­er­ee Ma­rk Clat­ten­burg just waved play on. Then, on­ly a few sec­onds la­ter, Tot­ten­ham cus­todi­an Heurelho Go­mes pre­pared to take a free-kick af­ter Nani had handled the ball. The Por­tuguese wing­er, aware that the mat­ch of­fi­cial had not blown his whistle, kept his cool and calmly put the ball in­to the empty net to make the score 2-0 to Man­chester United.

And even tho­ugh the Tot­ten­ham play­ers com­plained en­er­get­ic­ally, Clat­ten­burg awar­ded the goal. But of course the goal was very easy to make, and most simple to fin­ish, and it made the in­creas­ingly bois­ter­ous Spurs fans angry be­cause they all failed to real­ise that it was ac­tu­ally some pos­it­ive pro­fes­sion­al cyn­icism, and not foul play. And ac­cord­ing to Fletch­er, Nani would have got a bol­lock­ing from Fer­guson and the rest of his team­mates if he had not put the ball in­to the back of the net. But des­pite gain­ing an­oth­er three points ag­ainst Redknap­p’s men, Man­chester Uni­ted re­mained third in the Pre­mier Lea­gue ta­ble, as much as five points be­hind fel­low Pre­miership title chasers Chel­sea. Sir Al­ex Fer­guson: “Heurelho Go­mes is an ex­per­i­enced goal­keeper and should know bet­ter. He made a mess of it. Go­mes tho­ught that it was a free-kick and made an er­ror. It was bizarre.” Man­chester Uni­ted Te­am: Ed­win van der Sar, Ra­fael, Rio Fer­dinand, Ne­manja Vid­ic, Pat­rice Ev­ra, Dar­ren Fletch­er, Nani, Mi­chael Car­rick, Di­m­it­ar Ber­batov, Ji-Sung Park, Chi­charito. Sub­stitutes: Wes Bro­wn, Bebe, John O’Shea, Chris Small­ing, Paul Scho­les, Gab­riel Ober­tan, To­masz Kusz­czak. Tot­ten­ham Hot­spur Te­am: Heurelho Go­mes, Ben­oit As­sou-Ekotto, Wil­li­am Gal­las, Alan Hut­ton, Younes Ka­boul, Gar­eth Bale, Aar­on Len­non, Jer­maine Je­nas, Ra­fael van der Vaart, Luka Mod­ric, Rob­bie Ke­ane. Sub­stitutes: Wil­son Pala­cios, Ro­man Pavlyuchen­ko, Pe­ter Crouch, Se­bas­tien Bas­song, Niko Kran­j­car, Sandro, Carlo Cudicini.

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