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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Home Defeat for United on New Year's Eve

It was more like Halloween than Birthday for The Boss when Blackburn snatched the first away win at Old Trafford. Rovers stunned the defending champions to claim a stunning 3-2 win at the end of a quite amazing contest with Manchester United.

When all of the football followers believed United would mark Sir Alex Ferguson’s 70th birthday with a convincing victory and a return to the Premier League summit, manager Steve Kean inspired his players to the most unexpected result of the season.

All were surprised with absence of Rooney from the squad due to his failure to “train well” during the week. The twist of the day did not end here as well. Giggs and Ferdinand were also left away from the bench. Sir Alex has made rotation of his players this season more than others, trying to find the perfect combination.

United gave away a penalty on 15th minute of the match, when Berbatov foolishly tugged at Samba’s shirt directly in front of referee Mike Dean and although the Blackburn captain fell to the ground rather easily for a man of his size. Yakubu does not miss and the Nigerian promptly sent De Gea the wrong way.

Rovers was all over the match with well defending and prompt attacks. They surely deserved a lead on the match. Whereas United kept most of the possessions and failed to score due to some poor performances by its players. Rovers had a goal lead going into the half-time.

With no Rooney to assist his team, Ferguson turned to Anderson at the break, a move that triggered a number of positional changes, the most significant of which saw Valencia shifted into an advanced position.

United’s defensive problems finally showed with Michael Carrick, plugging a gap at centre-half, losing Yakubu on the edge of the penalty area, enabling the Nigerian to skip past Phil Jones before beating De Gea with a left-foot strike.

But while Blackburn continued to celebrate, United claimed a foothold by replying through Berbatov within 60 seconds when the Bulgarian rounded off Rafael’s penetrating run with a diving header from six yards.

It was Valencia's burst of pace and subsequent cut-back that provided Berbatov with the opportunity to side-foot United level on 62nd minute.

With 10 minutes left, De Gea’s hopeless attempt to collect Pedersen’s corner saw him crash into Grant Hanley in a half-heated attempt to punch the ball.

Hanley saw the loose ball and, with De Gea stranded, headed it into the empty net, ignoring United’s weak appeals for a foul.

The final whistle blew with United 2 and Rovers 3 on the eve of a New year and birthday of Sir Alex Ferguson. This defeat would be costly, which would have made United on the top of the table.


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