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Run ends at the hands of the champions

Posted on 12 September 2009  - 12:00

Jermain Defoe's first minute strike was rendered meaningless as champions Manchester United inflicted our first defeat of the season with a 3-1 win at White Hart Lane.

Run ends at the hands of the champions

Jermain Defoe's first minute strike was rendered meaningless as champions Manchester United inflicted our first defeat of the season with a 3-1 win at White Hart Lane.

The in-form striker's acrobatic effort after just 55 seconds gave us the best possible start as we looked to build on the four straight wins that have kicked off our campaign.

But goals from Ryan Giggs and Anderson turned the tables before half-time and Wayne Rooney finished the job with 12 minutes remaining, despite the sending off of Paul Scholes mid way through the second half.

It marks the end of our 100 per cent record so far this season, which had seen five straight wins in all competitions.

With Luka Modric absent through injury, Peter Crouch was rewarded for his goalscoring appearance off the bench last time out against Birmingham with his first Premier League start for the Club.

The big man partnered Defoe up front, with captain Robbie Keane coming in off the left in a ‘Modric role'.

Deadline day signing Niko Kranjcar started on the bench, along with fit again Heurelho Gomes and Jermaine Jenas.

United were themselves boosted by the return of Rio Ferdninand, who made his first start of the season after injury.

The match marked the launch of our newly formed Global Team Ambassador role with Special Olympics. In a nice touch prior to kick off, the teams were led out by 14-year-old Special Olympics athlete Azele.

It was an unforgettable occasion for that young man, and it did not take long for another memorable moment to arrive once the match kicked off.

Just 55 seconds in, and after an early spell of Spurs pressure, Crouch climbed above Nemanja Vidic to meet Benoit Assou-Ekotto's deep ball and nod down for Defoe, who found the back of the net with a perfectly timed overhead volley from six yards out.

It summed up the confidence flowing through not only team, but also the man himself, with this already being his fifth goal of the domestic season, not to mention his goalscoring exploits for England.

Being champions, United were never likely to be shell-shocked, and they looked to hit back almost immediately.

Scholes put a shot wide from 20 yards after a direct run, while Darren Fletcher forced Carlo Cudicini into a smart save at his near post just minutes after the deadlock was broken.

We continued to press up until the equalizer, with Crouch crossing low just beyond the despairing reach of Defoe six yards out after good work from Wilson Palacios on 22 minutes.

It would have gone down as a chance, and as we all know, chances against a team like United need to be taken. Just two minutes later, they were back on level terms.

Palacios brought down Dimitar Berbatov just outside the box, and the evergreen Giggs stepped up to swing a fantastic free-kick into Cudicini's top left-hand corner.

Cue a spell of pressure that ultimately led to the visitors taking the lead.

Cudicini tipped a Berbatov volley over the bar and we had Sebastien Bassong to thank for clearing the same player's effort off the line on the half-hour mark.

But after Crouch headed narrowly wide from a Tom Huddlestone corner, United got their noses in front four minutes before half-time.

A short corner was played to Scholes who fired into the area, and the ball was cleared only as far as Brazilian midfielder Anderson, who struck his low first-time shot past Cudicini.

Jenas entered the fray at half-time on his return from a calf injury, replacing Palacios who was on a booking in what had become a fiery encounter.

It was the returning midfielder who teed up Keane six yards out two minutes after the restart, but a great block from Vidic denied the skipper.

On 54 minutes, Jenas forced Ben Foster into the save of the match with a curling effort from 20 yards, which the England stopper flew through the air to tip around the post.

Crouch struck the crossbar with his head from the resulting corner as we showed all the belief needed to keep this game alive.

Another boost came when Scholes received his marching orders just before the hour mark for diving in on Huddlestone to earn a second booking.

But it only served to prompt United to tighten things up whilst continuing to hit us on the counter-attack.

Cudicini kept us in the game with an excellent reflex save from Rooney after his 66th minute counter-attack.

With 20 minutes left, Patrice Evra adventured forward from left-back and hit a shot against the side-netting at the goalkeeper's near post.

Harry Redknapp introduced Kranjcar on 72 minutes in the hope of unlocking the door, but United put the game out of sight with just over 10 minutes to go.

A Spurs free-kick was cleared and Rooney broke on the counter, taking on and beating both Assou-Ekotto and Alan Hutton before coolly sliding under Cudicini.


Spurs (4-4-2): Cudicini; Corluka (Hutton, 69), Bassong, King, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon, Huddlestone, Palacios (Jenas, 46), Keane (Kranjcar, 72); Crouch, Defoe
Subs not used: Gomes, Naughton, Bentley, Pavlyuchenko

Man United (4-4-2): Foster; O'Shea, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Fletcher, Anderson (Nani, 82), Scholes, Giggs; Berbatov (Carrick, 62), Rooney
Subs not used: Kuszczak, Evans, Fabio, Valencia, Owen