Controversial Nani goal ensures win over Spurs

Manchester United 2 Tottenham Hotspur 0

A controversial late goal from Nani and a first-half header by Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic ensured Tottenham's 21-year wait for victory at Old Trafford continued.

United captain Vidic opened the scoring with a header after 31 pulsating minutes before Nani reacted quickest to some goalmouth confusion to prod home five minutes from time.

Spurs were furious with referee Mark Clattenburg for allowing the second goal, scored after goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes placed what he believed to be a dead ball.

With just two minutes gone Park Ji-sung had come within a whisker of giving United the lead, taking a couple of touches to line up a shot before letting fly from 25 yards. His low effort had Gomes well beaten but cannoned off the post to safety.

Nani also found room to shoot in the opening minutes but this time Gomes made a straightforward save.

Spurs did not allow themselves to be shellshocked by United's busy start and only a precision tackle by Darren Fletcher stopped Aaron Lennon testing Edwin van der Sar after a swift counter-attack in the fourth minute.

Rafael van der Vaart then matched Park's earlier effort, holding possession despite tumbling to the floor before rising to curl the ball against the far post.

Chances continued to come at both ends - Van der Vaart drilling over for the visitors and Park missing the target after some neat footwork in the Tottenham area.

By now United were looking the better side and Spurs survived another nervy moment when Gomes spilled Michael Carrick's shot before gathering again with Javier Hernandez lurking.

Tottenham looked capable of catching their opponents on the break but United's attacks were producing more clear-cut opportunities.

Fletcher missed the latest of them after 25 minutes, failing to convert from the edge of the box after some patient approach play from Nani.

A clumsy Younes Kaboul challenge after half an hour gave the Red Devils the chance to attack from a set-piece and they duly cashed in. Nani floated in the free-kick in from the left and Vidic eased in front of Benoit Assou-Ekotto to head home.

A quickly-taken throw by Gareth Bale, who started despite Harry Redknapp's suggestion that he may be rested, gave Van der Vaart a sight of goal soon after but he badly mishit his shot.

Luka Modric did better with a sweetly-struck half-volley from the Holland star's corner a minute later but Van der Sar was on hand with a vital diving save.

Dimitar Berbatov could have doubled the lead over his old club just before the interval but a combination of Gomes and William Gallas stifled him.

As in the first half, United came out firing at the start of the second, with both Hernandez and Berbatov just failing to get clean shots away in the opening moments.

Robbie Keane and Jermaine Jenas, both drafted in to the starting XI for this match, were looking distinctly off the pace in key positions for Spurs.

In the 59th minute, Bale finally gave the away support something to cheer. In a passage reminiscent of his memorable Champions League hat-trick against Inter Milan he strode past a handful of red shirts and bore down on goal, only to see his shot squirm just wide of Van der Sar's far post.

Keane gave way to Roman Pavlyuchenko just past the hour mark, handing the captaincy to Modric in the process.

After Van der Vaart failed to beat Van der Sar from a tight angle, Pavlyuchenko almost got lucky when his 25-yard effort nearly found its way over the line courtesy of Vidic's deflection, before Peter Crouch replaced Van der Vaart - who looked in a little discomfort as he left the pitch - in the 77th minute.

Nani's controversial strike ended matters, with the officials judging play to be active when Gomes placed the ball down in his area after an unsuccessful penalty appeal.

Gomes clearly believed he was lining up a dead ball but the Portuguese winger was the only one on the referee's wavelength and rolled the ball in to tee up furious scenes of protest by the visitors.

Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Sport
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Sport
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower