10-man United burst Tottenham's bubble
Ryan Giggs inspired a stirring recovery for Manchester United as they demolished Tottenham's perfect start to the season with a 3-1 triumph at White Hart Lane. Giggs struck home a glorious 20-yard free-kick to maintain his proud record of having scored in every Premier League season.sports Updated: Sep 13, 2009 00:32 IST
Ryan Giggs inspired a stirring recovery for Manchester United as they demolished Tottenham's perfect start to the season with a 3-1 triumph at White Hart Lane on Saturday.
Giggs struck home a glorious 20-yard free-kick to maintain his proud record of having scored in every Premier League season and cancel out Jermain Defoe's superb early goal for the in-form hosts.
Anderson put United ahead with his own long-range finish just before half-time and, despite seeing Paul Scholes sent off in the second half for a second bookable offence, United kept their composure and wrapped up an impressive triumph thanks to Wayne Rooney's late third.
This was an ominous statement of intent from the reigning champions, whose demise in the absence of the departed Cristiano Ronaldo appears to have been grossly exaggerated.
United are used to defeating Tottenham - they are now unbeaten against the north Londoners in 16 games - but given they began the afternoon peering up at their hosts in the Premier League table, this was a notable victory, and all the more so since it was achieved in adversity.
Lesser sides would have buckled after falling behind after just 47 seconds, when Wilson Palacios won a 50-50 tackle against Darren Fletcher with a thunderous tackle and Benoit Assou-Ekotto dinked a looping cross towards the back post.
Nemanja Vidic, under pressure from Peter Crouch, could only head straight into the air and Defoe flung himself skywards to meet the dropping ball with an exquisite overhead volley that flashed past Ben Foster.
It was a blistering start and Spurs could have added to their advantage in a turbo-charged first 20 minutes, with Crouch seeing a flashing volley saved and then zipping an enticing cross along the six-yard box which only just eluded Palacios.
But, for all Spurs' early sizzle, United never lost their composure.
Instead, they bided their time and, when Palacios' clumsy foul on Dimitar Berbatov gave them a free-kick on edge of the area, they seized their chance, Giggs sweeping a sublime shot into the top right-hand corner.
Suddenly, the game's momentum shifted. Spurs, having dominated midfield with snappy passing and snarling tackles, were on the run and struggling to contain the swarm of red shirts pouring into their penalty area.
The hosts somehow survived in the 32nd minute, when Rooney's initial shot was saved by Carlo Cudicini and Berbatov's two follow-up efforts were blocked on the goal-line by Sebastien Bassong and blazed over respectively.
But their luck did not hold. Five minutes before half-time, Scholes' innocuous shot was only half-cleared by Ledley King and Anderson, scooping up the loose ball, arrowed a low drive into the bottom corner.
Spurs needed the interval to clear their heads, but they re-emerged with greater purpose.
Vidic produced a superb block to deny Robbie Keane from close range and Foster saved brilliantly from Jermaine Jenas' 20-yard shot.
Crouch then smacked the crossbar with a header from the resulting corner as United were driven back into their own half and their task was made even harder when Scholes, having already been booked for a poor challenge on Defoe, was shown a second yellow card for clattering Tom Huddlestone.
Spurs doubtless sensed a chance to mount their own fight-back but their hopes were snuffed out in the 78th minute when Rooney jinked inside Alan Hutton and slid a shot between Carlo Cudicini's legs.