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The returning Luis Nani wins it for United after a scare from Dean Whitehead…

Match Report – Manchester United 2-1 Stoke City

 Premier League 
Kick-Off & Date: 8pm, Tuesday 4th January
Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester (Home)
Attendance: 73,401

Manchester United put themselves 3 points ahead of their rivals on Tuesday night,  as Luis Nani netted a glorious curling winner on the hour mark against Stoke City after Dean Whitehead had undone a beautifully crafted goal from none other than Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez.  

Sir Alex Ferguson rested a partially injured Wayne Rooney ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup tie with Liverpool, while Rio Ferdinand also watched from the stands. Chris Smalling replaced Rio at the back, ahead of Tomasz Kuszczak in-goal. Luis Nani made a return alongside Darron Gibson, while Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez started with Dimitar Berbatov up-front. 

The game got off to a bright start, with both sides trading punches in the early stages. Stoke City didn’t come to Old Trafford in order to park the bus, they set up with two striker in an attempt to snatch a result. But that was going to be hard considering how United blossomed throughout the first half. The Red Devils tightened their grip on the game, but The Potters held-out.

Sir Alex’s side dominated possession, with referee Mark Clattenburg waving away penalty appeals when Ryan Shawcross appeared to have handled Ryan Giggs’ cross. He didn’t, and when Berbatov had a glorious chance to open the scoring, he didn’t. However, Berba was offside but he should have hit the target nonetheless. 

A goal was coming, and in the 27th minute, Nani’s cross was converted by Chicharito. The winger’s ball into the box was a tame one, but the Mexican striker managed to flick the ball past Asmir Begovic despite being under the pressure of the Stoke defence. Hernandez has now scored 9 competitive goals for The Red Devils, this one was his second ‘quirky’ goal against The Potters… 
Chicharito scores an amazing flick !

There was little to talk about after Hernandez’ goal, but The Reds went into the dressing room with plenty to  be optimistic about. However, United have conceded the highest proportion of goals in the second half of any team in the Premier League – and it was the same old story on Tuesday…

Stoke revived their challenge, equalising just 5 minutes after the start of the second half. Tuncay Sanli, who netted against United earlier this season, drew both Nemanja Vidic and Smalling out of position, and crossed into the box for Dean Whitehead to head past a helpless Tomasz Kuszczak. 

It was a blow to Sir Alex’s Red Army, who conceded against the general run of play. But The Potters can be dangerous in the air, they had proved that once again. 
Dean Whitehead changes the atmosphere at Old Trafford in the second half

United don’t lie down, they never do. The Old Trafford faithful of well over 70,000 raised the decibel. Rafael Da Silva and Gibson played well together on the right hand side, but couldn’t break Stoke’s resistance. There were more shouts for a penalty when Gibson’s cross appeared to be blocked by a hand, but ref. Clattenburg failed to award a spot kick. 

The Reds kept chipping away, and when Chicharito played-in Nani, he made the most of the opportunity. The Portuguese winger found space for himself in the box, and curled a magical shot into the middle of the far post. Nani has now equalled his previous goalscoring best for United, only mid-way through the season. 

Tony Pulis responded by sending-in former Liverpool winger Jermaine Pennant and fellow striker Jon Walters for Matthew Etherington and Rory Delap, while Michael Owen made a comeback for United.
Dimitar Berbatov reels away with match-winner Luis Nani, 63 minutes on the clock

Despite Pulis’ re-arrangements, Stoke were still well and truly on the back foot. United could have scored more, with Giggs and Hernandez coming close to wrapping-up the points. But no more goals were needed, and fans can sleep soundly tonight safe in the knowledge The Reds’ are well on their way to a record 19th Premier League title…

United Team: Tomasz Kuszczak, Rafael Da Silva, Nemanja Vidic, Chris Smalling, Patrice Evra, Luis Nani, Darron Gibson (Michael Carrick ’78), Darren Fletcher, Ryan Giggs, Dimitar Berbatov, Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez (Michael Owen ’78),

Goals: Chicharito ’27, Nani ’63




Tue, 04 Jan 2011 9:58:39 pm

Great result didn’t play at our best but still got the win well done Nani great goal



Tue, 04 Jan 2011 10:04:03 pm

fantatic goals from nani and hernadez. it seems to me when we go up a goal we hit the relax button and play lazy till stoke equalized then we start playing again thats just my opinon that i noticed.



Tue, 04 Jan 2011 10:06:34 pm

Get a video up man, wanna see Nani’s goal!


Lee YL

Tue, 04 Jan 2011 10:11:42 pm

Good kill, good kill. Glory, glory Man Utd !!


Stevie G

Tue, 04 Jan 2011 10:59:46 pm

You do have to think if we can just hit form at the right time with are games in hand and unbeaten then this could be an awesome year but even then I would take a win and a scrappy game for now



Tue, 04 Jan 2011 11:05:34 pm

SUPER NANI!! I love that guy.



Wed, 05 Jan 2011 12:42:38 am

We are not killing teams off early enough for my liking. We have not won f a cup since 2004, we need to win that as well. Come on united let’s get the treble again.



Wed, 05 Jan 2011 8:18:23 am

Nani has been d key in most of United’s fixture tis season…. couldn’t have him back in any better time & shape 2 face Liverpool tis weekend at old trafford…..



Wed, 05 Jan 2011 11:03:54 am

Was an all round good game I thought, Giggs looked out of sorts though. Has someone else wrote this article, it wasnt as easy to read as usual?



Wed, 05 Jan 2011 12:48:18 pm

Great job lads! Kudos to Hernandez and nani!!! But seriously we need more creativity and def focus on the field. Sorta miss keano!!



Wed, 05 Jan 2011 2:26:56 pm

Go Nani your amazing 🙂


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