At last, Manchester United has got the monkey off its back. Match winning leads were thrown away five times this season and for a few minutes it looked as if it was about to happen again at Stoke City. But Mexican striker Javier Hernandez stepped up to regain the lead four minutes from time and give United their first away win to set the seal on a whirlwind few days. Hernandez had earlier produced a moment of magic in the 27th minute with an amazing finish with the back of his head, only for Tuncay Sanli to hit a stunning equaliser nine minutes from time to earn Stoke it’s first Premier League goal against United in five attempts.
Just two days after Rooney’s spectacular u-turn in signing a five year contract, Hernandez proved the future at Old Trafford may not be as bleak as the England striker had feared. The win moves United to within five points of league leaders Chelsea. One minute all the talk was of a crisis and a crumbling empire, the next it’s all about an ability to challenge for trophies again after their star player signed on for another five years.
Stoke City 1 v Manchester United 2
The Independent – Wayne Rooney may have been absent as he celebrated his 25th birthday, but his presence loomed large at the Britannia Stadium as Manchester United’s faltering Barclays Premier League title challenge stuttered back into life. Rooney was persuaded this week that Sir Alex Ferguson’s men remain the team to beat, but an extraordinary few days at Old Trafford looked set for a miserable finish when Stoke substitute Tuncay hit an 82nd minute equaliser to cancel out Hernandez’s first half header. Full Report
Manchester Evening News -Javier Hernandez struck twice to secure a crucial victory for Manchester United over Stoke at the Britannia Stadium. The Mexican opened the scoring early on with a fine header, but Tuncay equalised with nine minutes to go after Paul Scholes had uncharacteristically given the ball away. Hernandez pounced five minutes later to haul United back to within five points of leaders Chelsea. The win ended a turbulent week for the Reds on a high note, and with Wayne Rooney agreeing a new deal on Friday, Sir Alex Ferguson’s men will hope to push on after the season’s stuttering start. Full Report
Stoke Sentinel – Javier Hernandez’s 87th-minute strike snatched a 2-1 win for Manchester United at the Britannia Stadium, just as Tuncay appeared to have earned Stoke City a draw. Hernandez had headed United in front on 27 minutes, but City surged back and levelled when substitute Tuncay smashed a spectacular 25 yard strike into the top corner on 81 minutes.But Hernandez broke City hearts to leave Stoke searching for their first points against United in five attempts since returning to the Premier League. Full Report
Stoke City – Sorensen, Huth, Shawcross, Faye, Collins (Higginbotham 59), Pennant (Gudjohnsen 79), Wilson, Delap, Etherington, Walters (Tuncay 66), Jones. Goal – Tuncay 81m
Manchester United – Van der Sar, Neville (Brown 46), Ferdinand, Vidic, O’Shea (Carrick 70), Nani, Fletcher, Scholes (Obertan 86), Evra, Berbatov, Hernandez. Goals – Hernandez 27m, 87m