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Page last updated at 13:40 GMT, Saturday, 24 April 2010 14:40 UK

Man Utd   3 - 1   Tottenham

Ryan Giggs scores from the penalty spot
Giggs had never scored a penalty in the Premier League before the match

By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer, Old Trafford

Manchester United turned up the heat on Chelsea as they returned to the top of the Premier League by beating Tottenham at Old Trafford.

Nani's wonderfully composed finish was sandwiched in between two penalties from Ryan Giggs as United ran out deserved winners against a disappointing Spurs to establish a two-point lead at the top of the table - at least until Chelsea face Stoke City on Sunday.

And it was a crucial victory achieved without Wayne Rooney, who was forced to watch from an executive box after suffering a groin problem in training on Thursday.

United's win put a halt to Spurs' charge on fourth place after their recent wins against Arsenal and Chelsea at White Hart Lane, and this was a disappointing display from Harry Redknapp's side.

Win puts pressure on Chelsea - Giggs

Giggs gave United the lead from the spot just before the hour after Patrice Evra, who suffered from illness during the game, was fouled by Benoit Assou-Ekotto.

Ledley King looked to have put Spurs in sight of a point when he took advantage of shoddy United defending to head home Gareth Bale's corner with 20 minutes left, but they went under in the face of a trademark late surge from Sir Alex Ferguson's champions who are seeking a fourth title in succession.

Substitute Federico Macheda's pass set up Nani to restore United's lead with nine minutes remaining, and another Giggs penalty in the closing minutes sealed the points.

He showed all his experience and composure to score after Wilson Palacios hauled Nani to the ground.

Dimitar Berbatov in action against Spurs
Berbatov cut a frustrated figure in the first half

Spurs could have no complaints about the penalties awarded by referee Andre Marriner, or indeed the final outcome on a day when the blistering attacking form they had showed in the last fortnight deserted them.

Ferguson's business-like celebrations at the final whistle were a tacit acknowledgement that Chelsea can still put themselves back in pole position.

He will be delighted, however, that his side showed the character and ability to beat a Spurs side that arrived at Old Trafford high in confidence and considered to be a huge threat to United's hopes of securing the three points they required - and all without their talisman, in Rooney.

Rooney's absence was a severe blow for a game United simply had to win to keep applying the pressure on Chelsea at the top of the table.

The importance of the game was not reflected in a first 45 minutes that was a carefully assembled monument to tedium, with both teams demonstrating a total lack of inspiration and creativity.

United did exert a brief spell of pressure around the half-hour mark, when King blocked brilliantly from Dimitar Berbatov eight yards out and Antonio Valencia shot straight at Heurelho Gomes after he was sent clear by Rafael.

Man Utd experience was the key - Phelan

Spurs did not mount a single serious threat on Edwin van der Sar's goal as the half drew to a tame conclusion that betrayed the quality of the players on show.

United defender Evra was struggling and was physically sick in the opening stages of the second half - but recovered sufficiently to almost create the opener for United after 52 minutes. Berbatov headed his cross into the path of Darren Fletcher, but he was inches away from providing the crucial touch.

Wilson Palacios then gave Van der Sar his first moment of anxiety with a long-range shot, a sign of Spurs' previous failure to exert any sort of threat on United.

606: DEBATE
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Redknapp attempted to inject more purpose by replacing the desperately disappointing Jermain Defoe with Eidur Gudjohnsen, but it was United who made the crucial breakthrough from the spot after 58 minutes.

The much-criticised Berbatov played a crucial role with a run into the area and clever flick into the path of Evra. Assou-Ekotto was committed to the tackle and flattened Evra, leaving Giggs to score in composed fashion at the Stretford End. Remarkably, it was the first penalty of his long Premier League career.

Spurs fans, frustrated by their lack of penetration, had been demanding the introduction of Aaron Lennon, and he duly arrived with 25 minutes left in place of David Bentley.

The impact was instant, although Lennon was not involved as King drew Spurs level with 20 minutes left. Michael Carrick showed a lack of strength in the challenge as King rose to head Bale's corner past Van der Sar, with Rafael also out of position as he defended on the post.

Spurs performance disappoints Redknapp

Ferguson is the master of the positive substitution and produced another one when he replaced defender Rafael with Macheda as time ran out. As so often before, fortune favoured the brave as Nani restored United's lead with nine minutes left.

Macheda's angled pass released Nani in the area, and he waited his moment to perfection before lifting a superb lofted strike over Gomes as he came out.

And the game was effectively over four minutes from time when United were awarded another penalty, this time when Nani was bundled over by Palacios. This time he chose to go to Gomes' left, but the end result was the same and Old Trafford was able to celebrate their side's return to the top of the table.

Live text and stats

 

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Man Utd 3-1 Tottenham FT
(HT 0-0)
  • Giggs (pen) 58
  • Nani 81
  • Giggs (pen) 86
  • King 70

Man Utd

Substitutes

Tottenham

Substitutes

Ref: MarrinerAtt: 75,268
MAN UTD
TOTTENHAM

Possession

  • Man Utd 55%
  • Tottenham 45%

Attempts on target

  • Man Utd 8
  • Tottenham 3

Attempts off target

  • Man Utd 7
  • Tottenham 6

Corners

  • Man Utd 4
  • Tottenham 4

Fouls

  • Man Utd 13
  • Tottenham 10
  • Final Result
  • Full Time
  • 90:00+4:04 The final whistle goes and the game is over.
  • 90:00+2:24 Benoit Assou-Ekotto fouled by Federico Macheda, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Heurelho Gomes.
  • 90:00+2:03 Federico Macheda takes a shot. Ledley King gets a block in.
  • 88:43 Peter Crouch has an effort at goal from the edge of the area that misses to the right of the target.
  • 87:32 Free kick awarded for a foul by Federico Macheda on Wilson Palacios. Free kick taken by Michael Dawson.
  • 85:32 Luis Nani provided the assist for the goal.
  • 85:32 GOAL - Ryan GiggsMan Utd 3 - 1 Tottenham Placed penalty scored by Ryan Giggs. Man Utd 3-1 Tottenham.
  • 84:39 Foul by Wilson Palacios on Luis Nani, Penalty awarded.
  • 83:51 Dimitar Berbatov takes a shot from just inside the penalty box which clears the bar.
  • 82:45 Peter Crouch has an effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the left of the target.
  • 80:31 Federico Macheda provided the assist for the goal.
  • 80:31 GOAL - Luis NaniMan Utd 2 - 1 Tottenham Luis Nani finds the back of the net with a goal from close range to the bottom left corner of the goal. Man Utd 2-1 Tottenham.
  • 78:56 Substitution Federico Macheda joins the action as a substitute, replacing Rafael Da Silva.
  • 78:12 Rafael Da Silva delivers the ball, clearance by Tom Huddlestone.
  • 77:19 Luis Nani takes a shot. Save by Heurelho Gomes.
  • 76:53 A cross is delivered by Darren Fletcher, Heurelho Gomes makes a save.
  • 75:54 Shot by Tom Huddlestone from outside the box goes high over the crossbar.
  • 75:24 Outswinging corner taken by Gareth Bale, clearance made by Nemanja Vidic.
  • 74:45 Substitution Peter Crouch is brought on as a substitute for Roman Pavlyuchenko.
  • 74:18 Luis Nani fouled by Gareth Bale, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Luis Nani.
  • 73:35 Aaron Lennon fouled by John O'Shea, the ref awards a free kick. Luka Modric restarts play with the free kick.
  • 73:09 Luis Nani sends in a cross, save by Heurelho Gomes.
  • 71:41 The ball is delivered by Benoit Assou-Ekotto, save made by Edwin Van der Sar.
  • 71:03 The referee blows for offside. Free kick taken by Heurelho Gomes.
  • 69:45 Assist on the goal came from Gareth Bale.
  • 69:45 GOAL - Ledley KingMan Utd 1 - 1 Tottenham Ledley King finds the back of the net with a headed goal from deep inside the penalty area. Man Utd 1-1 Tottenham.
  • 69:27 Corner taken by Gareth Bale from the left by-line,
  • 69:22 Gareth Bale produces a cross, Rafael Da Silva gets a block in.
  • 66:38 Substitution John O'Shea replaces Patrice Evra.
  • 65:15 Substitution Aaron Lennon is brought on as a substitute for David Bentley.
  • 64:40 Darren Fletcher gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Luka Modric. Ledley King takes the free kick.
  • 64:24 Darren Fletcher sends in a cross, Heurelho Gomes makes a save.
  • 64:03 The ball is swung over by Darren Fletcher, Ledley King manages to make a clearance.
  • 63:33 Luis Nani crosses the ball, clearance made by Ledley King.
  • 63:00 The ball is delivered by Rafael Da Silva, clearance made by Ledley King.
  • 62:35 A cross is delivered by Ryan Giggs.
  • 62:11 Gareth Bale produces a cross, Nemanja Vidic makes a clearance.
  • 59:57 Tom Huddlestone fouled by Darren Fletcher, the ref awards a free kick. Tom Huddlestone restarts play with the free kick.
  • 58:48 Substitution Michael Carrick comes on in place of Antonio Valencia.
  • 58:26 The assist for the goal came from Patrice Evra.
  • 57:34 GOAL - Ryan GiggsMan Utd 1 - 0 Tottenham Ryan Giggs scores a placed penalty. Man Utd 1-0 Tottenham.
  • 56:43 Benoit Assou-Ekotto challenges Patrice Evra unfairly and gives away a Penalty.
  • 55:58 Effort from the edge of the box by Luis Nani goes wide of the right-hand upright.
  • 55:33 Short corner taken by Ryan Giggs.
  • 54:53 Centre by Antonio Valencia, Dimitar Berbatov takes a shot. Save made by Heurelho Gomes.
  • 54:06 Substitution Eidur Gudjohnsen replaces Jermain Defoe.
  • 53:29 Wilson Palacios takes a shot. Save by Edwin Van der Sar.
  • 53:05 A cross is delivered by Patrice Evra, Close range header by Dimitar Berbatov goes wide of the left-hand post.
  • 52:39 Ryan Giggs decides to take the corner short.
  • 52:35 The ball is delivered by Ryan Giggs, blocked by Benoit Assou-Ekotto.
  • 52:27 A cross is delivered by Antonio Valencia, Ledley King makes a clearance.
  • 51:22 Gareth Bale challenges Ryan Giggs unfairly and gives away a free kick. Luis Nani has a direct shot on goal from the free kick.
  • 49:59 Luis Nani fouled by David Bentley, the ref awards a free kick. Patrice Evra takes the free kick.
  • 49:14 Ryan Giggs is caught offside. Heurelho Gomes restarts play with the free kick.
  • 48:47 Antonio Valencia crosses the ball, save made by Heurelho Gomes.
  • 45:50 Close range shot by Roman Pavlyuchenko goes wide of the left-hand upright.
  • 45:01 The match restarts for the second half.
  • Half Time
  • 45:00+2:02 The half-time whistle blows.
  • 45:00+1:09 The assistant referee flags for offside against Dimitar Berbatov. Heurelho Gomes restarts play with the free kick.
  • 43:22 Rafael Da Silva challenges Gareth Bale unfairly and gives away a free kick. David Bentley crosses the ball in from the free kick, Nemanja Vidic manages to make a clearance.
  • 41:54 Ryan Giggs takes a outswinging corner to the near post, Ledley King makes a clearance.
  • 41:49 Ryan Giggs sends in a cross, Benoit Assou-Ekotto gets a block in.
  • 40:19 Effort on goal by Dimitar Berbatov from just inside the area clears the bar.
  • 40:13 A cross is delivered by Rafael Da Silva.
  • 38:33 Luka Modric has an effort from just inside the box that misses to the left of the goal.
  • 38:26 The ball is delivered by Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Jonathan Evans manages to make a clearance.
  • 36:53 Centre by Rafael Da Silva.
  • 36:45 Centre by Rafael Da Silva.
  • 36:31 Centre by Antonio Valencia, clearance by Ledley King.
  • 36:09 Unfair challenge on Rafael Da Silva by Jermain Defoe results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Darren Fletcher.
  • 34:23 Strike on goal comes in from Gareth Bale from the free kick.
  • 34:23 Booking Luis Nani receives a yellow card.
  • 34:20 Luis Nani challenges David Bentley unfairly and gives away a free kick.
  • 33:49 Roman Pavlyuchenko gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jonathan Evans. Jonathan Evans restarts play with the free kick.
  • 33:23 Luis Nani produces a right-footed shot from long distance which goes wide right of the goal.
  • 32:07 A cross is delivered by Gareth Bale, save by Edwin Van der Sar.
  • 31:17 Effort on goal by Patrice Evra from just inside the penalty area goes harmlessly over the target.
  • 30:25 Unfair challenge on Gareth Bale by Dimitar Berbatov results in a free kick. Gareth Bale takes the free kick.
  • 29:49 Shot from just outside the box by Dimitar Berbatov goes over the bar.
  • 29:21 Antonio Valencia takes a shot. Save by Heurelho Gomes.
  • 28:31 Dimitar Berbatov takes a shot. Blocked by Ledley King.
  • 28:00 Roman Pavlyuchenko takes a shot. Edwin Van der Sar makes a save.
  • 27:05 David Bentley takes the inswinging corner, clearance by Ryan Giggs.
  • 25:46 The official flags Roman Pavlyuchenko offside. Indirect free kick taken by Jonathan Evans.
  • 25:15 Unfair challenge on Tom Huddlestone by Patrice Evra results in a free kick. Michael Dawson takes the direct free kick.
  • 22:07 Dimitar Berbatov concedes a free kick for a foul on Ledley King. Michael Dawson restarts play with the free kick.
  • 21:36 Rafael Da Silva concedes a free kick for a foul on Luka Modric. Luka Modric takes the direct free kick.
  • 21:03 The ball is delivered by Antonio Valencia, clearance made by Ledley King.
  • 19:39 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Gareth Bale by Antonio Valencia. Heurelho Gomes restarts play with the free kick.
  • 18:34 A cross is delivered by Antonio Valencia, save by Heurelho Gomes.
  • 17:52 Rafael Da Silva is penalised for a handball. Gareth Bale takes the free kick.
  • 15:01 Foul by Wilson Palacios on Paul Scholes, free kick awarded. Ryan Giggs shoots direct from the free kick.
  • 14:54 The ball is swung over by Dimitar Berbatov, Benoit Assou-Ekotto makes a clearance.
  • 12:24 Antonio Valencia crosses the ball, Luka Modric makes a clearance.
  • 12:16 Luis Nani sends in a cross.
  • 11:58 Short corner taken by Luis Nani.
  • 11:43 Tom Huddlestone challenges Ryan Giggs unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick crossed right-footed by Paul Scholes, clearance made by Benoit Assou-Ekotto.
  • 10:01 David Bentley fouled by Luis Nani, the ref awards a free kick. Michael Dawson takes the direct free kick.
  • 4:15 Short corner worked by David Bentley.
  • 4:10 Centre by Jermain Defoe, Patrice Evra makes a clearance.
  • 3:35 The offside flag is raised against Dimitar Berbatov. Indirect free kick taken by Ledley King.
  • 0:24 Foul by Michael Dawson on Dimitar Berbatov, free kick awarded. Paul Scholes takes the direct free kick.
  • 0:00 The referee gets the game underway.

Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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Premier League table snapshot

As it stood on 24 Apr 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Man Utd 36 53 79
2 Chelsea 35 54 77
3 Arsenal 36 39 72
4 Tottenham 35 26 64
5 Man City 35 27 63
6 Aston Villa 35 15 61
7 Liverpool 35 24 59
8 Everton 35 9 54
9 Birmingham 35 -8 47
10 Sunderland 36 -6 44
11 Blackburn 36 -16 44
12 Fulham 34 -2 43
13 Stoke 34 -4 43
14 Bolton 36 -25 36
15 Wolves 36 -23 35
16 Wigan 36 -34 35
17 West Ham 36 -18 34
18 Hull 36 -41 28
19 Burnley 35 -37 27
20 Portsmouth 36 -33 16

see also
Pressure is on Chelsea - Redknapp
24 Apr 10 |  Man Utd
Rooney could miss Man Utd run-in
24 Apr 10 |  Man Utd
Take King to World Cup - Redknapp
24 Apr 10 |  Tottenham
Saturday's football photos
24 Apr 10 |  Premier League
Saturday football as it happened
24 Apr 10 |  Football



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