Manchester United moved level on points with Arsenal after a 2-0 victory against Tottenham at Old Trafford. Nemanja Vidic nodded United ahead with his second of the season before Nani put United 2-0 up with a controversial goal that left Spurs fuming. Referee Mark Clattenburg looked to have given a free kick against the winger after he handled the ball when he went down in the box. The ball ran on to Heurelho Gomes who placed the ball down for what he thought was a free kick but Clattenburg had not blown his whistle which allowed the Portuguese to tap home unchallenged.
Despite Spurs’ protests the goal stood and while it was certainly bizarre, there should have been no controversy about it. Clattenburg simply allowed the game to flow because the keeper had the ball completely in his control but then Gomes broke the cardinal rule in football which is ‘play to the whistle’. Nani did, the keeper did not, and a highly unusual but totally legitimate goal wrapped up the points for United.
Manchester United 2 v Tottenham Hotspur 0
The Guardian – Tottenham have never won at Old Trafford in the Premier League and United’s impressive record against them was never in danger this evening, when goals from Nemanja Vidic and a certainty for A Question of Sport‘s “What Happened Next?” round maintained their recent improvement. One always seemed likely to be enough but the second, with time running out, provided the talking point.
Mark Clattenburg has not been Spurs’ favourite referee since he failed to give Pedro Mendes’s goal on the same ground when Roy Carroll had clawed the ball out from two yards over his line in 2005. He won’t be getting a Christmas card from Harry Redknapp after allowing Nani’s strike after his tussle with Younes Kaboul left Gomes throwing the ball down expecting to take a free-kick for handball. Full Report
Manchester Evening News – Nemanja Vidic’s first half header and a controversial goal from Nani handed Manchester United victory over Tottenham at Old Trafford. Skipper Vidic finished Nani’s cross after 31 minutes to put the Reds ahead. And with just a few minutes remaining Nani scored a bizarre goal. The Portuguese winger drove into the box and went down under the challenge of Younes Kaboul. No penalty was given, and in his exasperation Nani handled the ball on the floor.
Tottenham goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes assumed a free-kick had been given and rolled the ball out towards the edge of the box and backed off ready to take the set piece. However, Nani jumped to his feet and kicked the loose ball into the goal, taking advantage of the fact that a free-kick had not actually been awarded. Full Report
London Evening Standard – A controversial late goal from Nani and a first-half header by Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic ensured a 2-1 win which meant Tottenham’s 21 year wait for victory at Old Trafford continued. United captain Vidic opened the scoring after 31 pulsating minutes before Nani reacted quickest to some goalmouth confusion to prod home five minutes from time.
Spurs, who have not won at the ground since 1989, were furious with referee Mark Clattenburg for allowing the second, scored after goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes placed what he believed to be a dead ball. Full Report
Manchester United – Van der Sar, Evra, Ferdinand, Vidic, Rafael (Brown 65), Park Ji-Sung, Carrick, Nani, Fletcher, Berbatov (Scholes 64), Hernandez (Obertan 87) GOALS Vidic 31, Nani 84
Tottenham Hotspur – Gomes, Hutton, Kaboul, Gallas, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon, Modric, Jenas (Palacios 66), Bale, Van der Vaart (Crouch 77), Keane (Pavlyuchenko 62)