Tag Archive: Nani


 

Vidic heads home United's late leveller

 

Manchester United produced a stirring fightback to extend their unbeaten start to the season in a thrilling 2-2 draw with Aston Villa.

Sir Alex Ferguson’s men looked destined to suffer their first defeat in all competitions this season after Ashley Young blasted home the opener from the penalty spot in the 72nd minute with Marc Albrighton adding the second four minutes later following a swift counter-attack.

Substitute Federico Macheda gave the Red Devils hope as he found the top corner of Brad Friedel’s net in the 81st minute before Nemanja Vidic’s diving header five minutes from time extended Villa’s miserable Premier League run against United to just one win in their last 30 meetings.

After a slow start to the game, Dimitar Berbatov missed a glorious opportunity to put United in front in the 16th minute when he scuffed his shot wide following a neat pass from Javier Hernandez, with Villa appealing in vain for offside.

Wes Brown, brought in at right-back in place of the injured Rafael, was then allowed to wander unmarked towards the near post to make contact with Nani’s whipped free-kick on the edge of the six-yard box but could not direct the chance on target.

Ashley Young forced Edwin van der Sar into a sprawling save on the half-hour mark with a strike from the edge of the box after Gabriel Agbonlahor had flicked on by beating Rio Ferdinand in the air.

Sleepy

Nani and Patrice Evra then demonstrated some quick thinking with the winger playing in the left-back with a free-kick from the edge of the area, but the smart move caught out their own team as much as Villa’s sleepy defence with no-one on hand inside the six-yard box to turn home the France international’s dangerous cross.

Stewart Downing then worked space for a shot as half-time approached but saw his curling strike deflected wide with Van der Sar scrambling across his goal, before James Collins headed well wide in added time before the break.

Stephen Warnock and Nani became embroiled in an altercation at the start of the second period, with the Villa full-back seizing possession and playing on despite his rival being in a heap, before Albrighton lashed wide following Vidic’s poor touch in his own area.

The Portugal international was clearly incensed by the earlier challenge and elected to seek his own immediate retribution and was lucky only to be booked after a blatant swing of the arm into his opponents face as they jumped for a ball.

And in the 54th minute Albrighton missed Villa’s best chance of the match as Downing’s delightful cross found him in space at the far post but his cushioned header back across goal also went wide of the post.

Gerard Houllier’s men went even closer in the 67th minute as another splendid ball into the box from Downing was met by Collins’ towering header, which beat Van der Sar all ends up, only to crash back into the play after hitting the face of the crossbar.

Pressure

Seconds later the woodwork was rattling again as Agbonlahor attempted a one-two with Ashley Young before smashing the loose ball against the base of the near post with United’s goalkeeper helpless again.

But Villa’s pressure finally told when a lightning break by Agbonlahor saw the striker burst away from Vidic down the right before crossing for Ashley Young, with the Villa player unceremoniously bundled over by Wes Brown.

Referee Dean had no hesitation in pointing to the spot before Young picked himself up to confidently drive the ball home, sending Van der Sar the wrong way in the process.

And Villa doubled their lead in the 76th minute with another clever counter-attack as Ashley Young fed Downing down the left with the former Middlesbrough man putting the ball on a plate for Albrighton to fire home from six yards out.

The goalscorer was then in the right place to calmly head off his own line after Rio Ferdinand’s driven effort, before substitute Macheda halved the deficit in the 81st minute with a superb finish into Friedel’s top corner after Darren Fletcher’s backheel.

Downing fired a rising shot fractionally over the bar before Nani’s dangerous inswinging cross found the diving Vidic at the far post to spark scenes of jubilation among the travelling United supporters.

Chelsea and Arsenal leave it late as Man City slip up

Chelsea had to come from behind to defeat Blackburn, Arsenal also left it late to beat West Ham and Manchester United beat Tottenham Hotspur but Manchester City lost to Wolves.

Fulham returned to winning ways by overcoming Wigan, while Everton continued their fine form with a narrow victory over Stoke.

Carlo Ancelotti’s Chelsea looked in trouble early on at Ewood Park but hit back to prevail 2-1 and maintain their five-point advantage at the top of the table.

Blackburn were rewarded for an enterprising start with the opening goal of the game after 21 minutes, Benjani winning an aerial duel against John Terry to get on the end of an El-Hadji Diouf cross.

But Ancelotti had warned on the eve of the clash that there was still more to come from his Chelsea side and their equaliser before half-time was skilfully constructed, with Didier Drogba heading a Florent Malouda pass down for Nicolas Anelka to provide the finish.

It appeared as though the winning goal might never arrive but the Blues finally broke through six minutes from time when Branislav Ivanovic nodded home following good work by Yuri Zhirkov.

Pressure

Arsenal kept the pressure on Chelsea courtesy of a 1-0 triumph over bottom club West Ham, although again the outcome was in doubt right until final whistle.

It was a familiar tale for Arsenal supporters in the first half at Emirates Stadium as their team played with panache but lacked end product against a Hammers side showing resilience in defence and an occasional threat of their own in attack.

Samir Nasri then struck the crossbar with a ferocious free-kick after the break, while Theo Walcott was also denied by the foot of the post moments after coming on as a substitute and Andrey Arshavin’s appeals for a penalty fell on deaf ears following a seemingly innocuous brush with Manuel Da Costa.

Robert Green also played his part with a series of saves before Alex Song popped up at the far post to bundle in a Gael Clichy cross with only two minutes remaining.

Manchester United maintained their pursuit of the leaders with a 2-0 victory overTottenham, but were aided by a controversial second goal at Old Trafford.

The hosts made the breakthrough just past the half-hour mark when Nani whipped in a free-kick from the right and Nemanja Vidic’s run was not tracked as the Red Devils captain guided a header inside the far post.

The second goal came five minutes from the end when Nani side-footed the ball into the net, but before Spurs keeper Heurelho Gomes had restarted play from a free-kick.

Manchester City were unable to bounce back from their defeat at home to Arsenal last weekend as they slipped to a 2-1 loss against Wolves at Molineux.

Emmanuel Adebayor, starting up front alongside summer signing Mario Balotelli in the absence of Carlos Tevez, put City ahead from the penalty spot following a foul by Richard Stearman on David Silva.

Wolves drew level on the half-hour mark thanks to a fine strike by Nenad Milijas and then took the lead early in the second half when Dave Edwards scored on the rebound after Kevin Doyle’s initial effort had been blocked.

City battled in vain to find a way back into the match but Wolves held firm for their first win since the opening day of the campaign.

 

Inspired

A Clint Dempsey double inspired Fulham to only their second Premier League victory of the season as Wigan’s recent revival came to a halt with a 2-0 reverse at Craven Cottage.

Dempsey headed in Carlos Salcido’s left-wing delivery to give Fulham a well-earned advantage in the 30th minute, before finding the net with a neat shot from Chris Baird’s cross just prior to the interval.

Stoke slipped to their third straight defeat as Everton extended their unbeaten run to five games with a hard-fought 1-0 victory at Goodison Park.

There was nothing to separate the sides until Yakubu Aiyegbeni smashed home from a tight angle midway through the second half after Tim Cahill had hit the post.