REPORT: SPURS 1, MAN UTD 1
Dimitar Berbatov scored the goal that came within about ten seconds of securing a memorable White Hart Lane win over Manchester United on Saturday.
Dimitar Berbatov scored the goal that came within about ten seconds of securing a memorable White Hart Lane win over Manchester United on Saturday.His first half strike was so nearly enough on a day that marked the debut of Alan Hutton and the home debut of Jonathan Woodgate and the defending was immaculate. However, deep into stoppage time, a corner resulted in the ball squeezing in at the near post and, although Carlos Tevez was credited with the goal, the final touch appeared to come off Michael Dawson.
Back to the start and there was half a chance for United following a run of typical purpose from Tevez, which led to Pascal Chimbonda - playing at left-back - miscalculating an interception and Wes Brown was presented with a shooting chance that ballooned over the bar.
Neither team exerted particular control in the opening 15 minutes, although a Berbatov surge down the left flank came close to resulting in an opening, but his final pass was cut out by Owen Hargreaves in front of goal.
A Jermaine Jenas run down the right got the game going on 20 minutes, the midfielder embarked on a sprint with Hargreaves and he had a decent penalty shout after seemingly being felled inside the area. No matter. Aaron Lennon picked up the loose ball and drilled across goal, Edwin van der Sar could only parry and Berbatov was on hand to stroke the ball into the back of the net.
Dawson later came close with a close-range header from a Lennon corner and the initiative was clearly with the team in white. A brilliant run and expertly flighted cross from Lennon looked perfectly set for Berbatov to smash in a second ten minutes before half-time, but this time the accuracy was lacking from the Bulgarian.
Tom Huddlestone had the chance to fire in a free-kick just before half-time after Hargreaves handled and stopped Lennon on the run. The United player was not even booked as his team-mates applied huge pressure on referee Mr Clattenburg.
A deflected Huddlestone shot dipped just wide early in the second half before Berbatov was the supply line for Keane to shoot on goal, but his effort was calmly foiled by Van der Sar.
United responded to the flow of the second period with the introduction of Nani and Anderson just before the hour mark, with Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs making way.
The boys continued pressing, with Lennon, Hutton really making in-roads down the right hand side and Huddlestone and Jenas dovetailing was almost effortless ease in the centre.
The visitors were showing a spiteful side with some poorly timed challenges flying in that received little in the way of punishment from the official. Dawson did pop the ball in the net on 69 minutes but it came after a messy jump with Van der Sar.
The team were relentless in their energetic approach and kept piling forward, while remaining stubborn and robust at the back. Another goal was the least their efforts warranted.
Huddlestone fizzed in another shot on 74 minutes, but again it was diverted by an untimely deflection. At the other end a wickedly zipped in shot from Anderson looked like it was heading for the bottom corner until Radek Cerny stooped and palmed wide.
Kevin Boateng was introduced in place of Lennon for the final 12 minutes as the pressure on the Park Lane goal we were defending began to increase. Wayne Rooney was booked for diving in the area with six minutes left after a challenge with Dawson.
United hammered at the gate in the final moments before our net rattled as we were about celebrate a victory over the champions.