Monday, January 21, 2013

Heartbreaker: Manchester United 1 - Tottenham Hotspur 1

photo by Dyannavia PhotoRee

Spurs steal a point at the final whistle, as a determined United defense was finally breached.  Here's how a thoroughly gripping game unfolded:

Minutes 0-10: The snow is falling, but so far the players are managing to stay upright. Both teams look decent in possession.

Minutes 11-20: RVP heads it on goal at the 12 minute mark, but the soft effort is easily held by Tottenham 'keeper Hugo Lloris. Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon test David De Gea at the other end, but the latter is correctly judged to be fractionally offside. Nemanja Vidic takes yet another knock on the head, and Spurs begin to take a slight edge in possession.

Minutes 21-30: Michael Carrick sees yellow as a cautious, cagey opening quarter continues. RVP gives United a one goal advantage with his second effort on goal, easily beating Lloris at the near post after Tom Cleverly whips in a cross from the opposite side. De Gea beats away Jermaine Defoe's low strike at the other end to preserve the lead.

Minutes 31-40: The ball moves freely around both sides of  the pitch, but neither side shows much ambition going forward. De Gea is forced into a foot save after Bale's shot glances off Rio Ferdinand, but United throw their bodies around the box with reckless abandon to shut down the threat.

Minutes 41-45: Danny Welbeck begins to make an impact playing from the left wing. Clint Dempsey forces a corner just before the half time whistle, but the ensuing corner goes out of bounds.

Minutes 45-55: Defoe is wide after an uncharacteristic giveaway by Ferdinand. Spurs look refreshed after a warm locker room. De Gea is forced to stop Dempsey at point blank range as the home side continue their search for an equalizer.

Minutes 56-65: The White Hart Lane crowd is in full voice as the game hits the hour mark, and Patrice Evra is pelted with snowballs on the sideline. Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Wayne Rooney are sent into the action for their respective sides, and while Roo is denied a penalty on his first touch of the ball by Referee Chris Foy, the Tottenham man's first task is to deliver a message to his teammates from the Manager.

Minutes 66-75: Dempsey finds only the side netting after the ball pings around the United box, while Welbeck can't stretch quite far enough to turn the ball in at the other end. United look dangerous on the counterattack, while Spurs press continually forward. Antonio Valencia replaces Cleverley.  RVP forces a fine Lloris save, but he's a yard offside when the ball is played to his feet.

Minutes 76-85: Spurs force balls into the box, and it's only a Ferdinand block that denies Defoe after Lennon beats Evra like a drum. Tom Huddlestone replaces Scott Parker, and Defoe swivels nicely but kicks it straight at De Gea.

Minute 85-90: The snow intensifies, as if mirroring the two teams' effort, as Sir Alex paces on the sideline. Lennon's effort is blocked by Jones, and just when the matter appears settled, Clint Dempsey pops up to steal a point in the 93rd minute. It's heartbreaking, but likely deserved on the balance of play.

This is farlieonfootie for January 21.

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