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The red devils edge closer to the title..

match report

Manchester United 1 - 0 Everton

Manchester United left it late but they did grab the winner and all three points against a resilient Everton side. The Merseyside team time and again blocked Man United’s attempts and Tim Howard produced some great saves, but the red devils never gave up and eventually broke the deadlock to take themselves within seven points of a historical nineteenth title.

 

With a Champions League semi final against Schalke to be played in Germany on Tuesday, Vidic, Smalling and Park were completely rested while Carrick, Giggs, Evra and Rafael only made the bench. Berbatov being injured and Scholes banned, Man United started with Rooney and Hernandez upfront, Anderson and Gibson in central midfield, while Jonny Evans assisted Rio Ferdinand in central defence, with Fabio and O’Shea at full backs. Nani, Valencia and Van der Sar took up their usual duties.

 

United’s first good chance came on the 25th minute after Anderson produced a lovely pass for Hernandez and the Mexican controlled and shot from a tight angle, but Tim Howard pushed it out for a corner.

 

Hernandez had another great chance 6 minutes later when Rooney found him inside the box and Chicharito shot first intention, but Howard produced another fine save and parried the ball away.

 

And when it wasn’t Tim Howard who was denying Man United a goal, it was one of their own. In the 38th minute, Valencia did well to outrun Baines on the right wing and pulled the ball back to Nani while Hernandez slipped inside the penalty box. Nani produced a fine strike and the ball seemed to be goal-bound until it deflected off Chicharito who still hadn’t got up. The little Mexican appeared to try to move out of the way, but he couldn’t make himself small enough.

 

Man United continued pressing in the second half and 8 minutes after the break Chicharito controlled superbly from a long Anderson pass and set up Rooney inside the penalty box, but Jagielka got back just in time to deny Rooney a one-on-one with Howard.

 

Manchester United still could not get a goal and Everton must have been amazed to find themselves still level considering the number of chances Man United had created. The away team’s hopes peaked in the 56th minute when Anichebe went down inside the penalty area after going shoulder to shoulder with Rio Ferdinand. The referee was quick is dismissing the penalty appeals though and even David Moyes said afterwards that the call had been rightly made.

 

Everton were far from being discouraged though and in the 69th minute, Van der Sar had to produce a fine finger-tip save to deny Rodwell, whose shot from 20 yards had taken a deflection off Jonny Evans.  Finding themselves in the urgency of getting a goal, Man United brought on Evra and Owen in the place of O’Shea and Nani.

 

Owen almost made the difference 15 minutes from time when his effort from Fabio’s cross was deflected onto the post by Distin. Still, United didn’t give up and Ryan Giggs was thrown into the mix, replacing Gibson. Man United came very close to scoring in the 80th minute, after Evra had produced a fine run down the left wing to pass the ball to Valencia. The Equatorian’s powerful shot was blocked by Jagielka but he got another chance and this time chipped the ball to Hernandez at the far post, but Tim Howard managed to palm the Mexican’s header over the post, thereby producing yet another superb save.

 

United’s determination finally paid off in four minutes later, with Anderson picking up the ball in central midfield from Distin's clearance before passing it to Antonio Valencia on the right wing. Valencia put in a clever cross to the far post, where Hernandez perfectly timed his leap and this time did not fail to head the post past Tim Howard and into the back of the net. Manchester United erupted while Sir Alex Ferguson, who was back on the touchline after purging his 5-match ban, could barely contain his joy.

 

The red devils saw off the remaining minutes, including five of added time to claim a precious victory over Everton.

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