Sunday, 7 December 2008

Vidic Late Goal Save Red Devils...

Managerless Sunderland arrived at Old Trafford searching for a win that would take them out of the bottom three as they began life post-Roy Keane with a fixture against the champions.

Manchester United Saved By Late Vidic Winner

Caretaker manager Ricky Sbragia, without the suspended Kieran Richardson, made four changes bringing Anton Ferdinand, El Hadji Diouf, Dwight Yorke and Martin Fulop back into the starting lineup.

Meanwhile, his counterpart Sir Alex Ferguson opted for the same team that triumphed at Eastlands in the Manchester derby last weekend, meaning there was no place for Carlos Tevez who bagged four goals in midweek.

Certainly United could have done with a razor sharp Tevez in a first half which they completely dominated yet failed to find the back of the net.

Dimitar Berbatov had the first chance of the evening. A flick on by Ronaldo found the Bulgarian, and whilst his touch took him past his marker his shot was saved by the boot of Fulop.

Minutes later Ronaldo dummied a free kick to Rooney to strike from 20 yards. The England international’s shot was low and allowed Berbatov to flick out a foot and get a touch on the ball but again Fulop parried.

Park was the next to have a sight of goal. Rooney slipping a cute ball into the Korean’s path but his poke towards goal was saved by the onrushing Fulop.

Yet Sunderland stood up well to the almost constant United pressure, getting numbers behind the ball and making themselves difficult to break down, whilst offering virtually nothing in the way of an attacking force and ensuring Van der Sar was a spectator in the first half.

Sir Alex Ferguson sent his troops out early for the second period and the game restarted in a familiar pattern with Rooney shooting straight at Fulop.

Minutes later Fletcher had an opportunity after some sustained possession by the home side.

The ball was eventually worked to Rafael out on the right and his cross fell to Fletcher who headed a queue of United players in the box, but his shot on the turn flew harmlessly wide.

Carrick was the next to work Fulop, his long range low shot curving towards the corner but the Sunderland stopper claimed it well.

With less than an hour played Ferguson’s patience snapped and he sent on Carlos Tevez, to rapturous applause, for the hardworking but ineffective Park.

Within minutes of his introduction, the home side almost found the elusive breakthrough, with Tevez playing in Ronaldo who in turn found Berbatov. The striker had sight of goal but chose to cut the ball back to Ronaldo who blazed the ball over from close range.

Ronaldo then limped off, holding his side, to be replaced by Anderson with Giggs also coming on for Fletcher as Ferguson went for broke.

With 15 minutes to go United ought to have finally broken the deadlock. A superb cross in from the left by Carrick found Berbatov rising in the box but his header flew over the bar from close range.

Five minutes later and Vidic wasted another glorious opportunity, the Serb planting a straightforward header into the arms of Fulop from only yards out.

Still Sunderland held firm and with less than five minutes left they had substitute Tainio to thank after his block denied Anderson his first United goal.

With injury time looming Sunderland looked to have held out for a valuable point yet United were not to be denied.

A deflected Carrick shot from range beat Fulop, rebounded off the post and fell kindly to Vidic to slot home and send a sigh of relief around Old Trafford.

Manchester Utd: Van der Sar; Rafael Da Silva, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Fletcher (Giggs, 68), Carrick; Ronaldo (Anderson, 67), Rooney, Park (Tevez, 57); Berbatov.

Sunderland: Fulop; Chimbonda, Ferdinand, Collins, Bardsley; Yorke (Tainio,61); Malbranque, Whitehead (Edwards, 76), Reid, Diouf; Cisse (Jones, 68).


1-0 Manchester United (Vidic, 90)

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