Stoke 0 Manchester United 2

Michael Carrick

Sto­ke City 0 Man­chester Uni­ted 2, Brit­an­nia Sta­dium, Eng­lish Pre­mier Lea­gue, April 14, 2013. Mi­chael Car­rick re­gistered the fir­st goal of the mat­ch in the fourth min­ute of play, whi­le Robin van Per­sie fi­nally broke his goal drought when the centre for­ward made it 2-0 to Man­chester Uni­ted wi­th a su­perbly ex­ecuted pen­alty-kick six min­utes pa­st the hour mark.

Af­ter suf­fer­ing a dis­ap­point­ing and em­bar­rass­ing 1-0 de­feat ag­ainst cross­town ad­versar­ies and fel­low Pre­miership title chal­lengers Man­chester City at Old Traf­ford in their pre­vi­ous fix­ture, Man­chester Uni­ted made the short trip to Sto­ke to take on The Pot­ters. The Red Dev­ils were nev­er­the­less fa­vour­ites to be­at a Sto­ke City si­de who entered this mat­ch on the back of a 3-1 de­feat to As­ton Vil­la at Brit­an­nia Sta­dium. Man­chester Uni­ted had ham­mered Sto­ke to the con­vin­cing tune of 4-2 at The Theatre of Dreams in the re­verse Pre­mier Lea­gue fix­ure back in Oct­ober 2012 thanks to a Way­ne Roo­ney double and one goal each from fel­low fron­trun­ners Robin van Per­sie and Dan­ny Wel­beck. In the cor­res­pond­ing mat­ch last cam­paign, how­ever, Sir Al­ex Ferguson´s play­ers had be­en held to a 1-1 draw by To­ny Pulis´s well or­gan­ised Sto­ke te­am. The Brit­an­nia Sta­dium club had to make do with­out the ser­vices of mid­field­ers Glenn Whelan and Marc Wil­son, whi­le Man­chester Uni­ted were mis­sing Jon­ny Evans, Paul Scho­les, Chris Small­ing and Ne­manja Vid­ic. And al­though the res­ult ag­ainst neigh­bouring rivals Man­chester City was highly dis­ap­point­ing, the Man­chester Uni­ted play­ers now had to put the ho­me de­feat be­hind them and get on wi­th the away mat­ch ag­ainst the Stafford­shire side.

As ex­pec­ted, Pre­mier Lea­gue lead­ers Man­chester Uni­ted dom­in­ated the pos­ses­sion of the ball from the very be­gin­ning to the very end, and it came as no sur­prise when Mi­chael Car­rick put the vis­it­ing si­de ahead af­ter four min­utes of ac­tion. The Man­cuni­ans lost some of that early im­petus as the fir­st pe­riod wore on, but were sparked back in­to life when they went in­to a 2-0 lead cour­tesy of a bril­liantly taken pen­alty kick from Dutch in­ter­na­tion­al Robin van Per­sie in the 66th min­ute of the Sunday clash. Wi­th ten min­utes re­maining on ref­er­ee Jon­athan Moss´s watch, Sto­ke City cap­tain Ry­an Shaw­cross al­most net­ted for the ho­me te­am, but his dan­ger­ous ef­fort from clo­se ran­ge was ma­gic­ally bloc­ked by Old Traf­ford shot stop­per Da­vid de Gea. And as no more goals were sco­red on a sunny, but windy, Sunday af­ter­noon, the Pre­mier Lea­gue en­counter ended 2-0 to Man­chester Uni­ted. Sir Al­ex Fer­guson was well pleased wi­th his play­ers af­ter the com­fort­able Pre­mier Lea­gue tri­umph ag­ainst To­ny Pulis´s plucky Sto­ke City te­am at Brit­an­nia Sta­dium, and the Man­chester Uni­ted man­ager es­pe­cially sing­led out Three Li­ons in­ter­na­tion­al stri­ker Way­ne Roo­ney for praise. Af­ter boun­cing back from the ho­me de­feat ag­ainst nou­veau riche Man­chester City by beat­ing Sto­ke City away, The Man­chester Reds were now a mas­sive fif­teen points ahead of Rob­erto Mancini´s si­de wi­th one more ga­me com­pleted. Sto­ke City Te­am: As­mir Be­gov­ic, Ro­bert Huth, Ry­an Shot­ton, Andy Wilkin­son, Ry­an Shaw­cross, Ge­off Camer­on, Char­lie Ad­am, Ste­ven N’Zonzi, Glenn Whelan, Jon Wal­ters, Ken­wyne Jones. Sub­stitutes: Wil­son Pala­cios, Dean White­head, Mi­chael Kightly, Pe­ter Crouch, Camer­on Jerome, Mi­chael Owen, Tho­mas Sor­ensen. Man­chester Uni­ted Te­am: Da­vid de Gea, Ne­manja Vid­ic, Rio Fer­dinand, Phil Jones, Pat­rice Ev­ra, Mi­chael Car­rick, Way­ne Roo­ney, Javi­er Her­nandez, An­tonio Va­lencia, Shinji Ka­gawa, Robin van Per­sie. Sub­stitutes: Jon­ny Evans, Ry­an Gig­gs, Al­ex­an­der Buttner, Chris Small­ing, Tom Clev­er­ley, Dan­ny Wel­beck, An­ders Lindegaard.


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