Monday, September 20, 2010

Berbatov hat-trick sinks Liverpool

A hat-trick by Dimitar Berbatov gave Manchester United a 3-2 win over Liverpool before 75,230 fans at Old Trafford this morning [Australian Eastern Standard Time].

Steven Gerrard netted both Liverpool goals - the first from a penalty, and the second from a free-kick.

Howard Webb, who refereed the World Cup Final this year in controversial fashion, was in charge of this match and controversy again surrounded him.

He refused to give Manchester United a penalty for blatant shirt-pulling by Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher, and he also gave Manchester United’s John O’Shea a mere yellow card instead of a red when, as the last defender, he pulled down Fernando Torres, who was on his way to goal.

The antics of Manchester United’s Portuguese winger, Nani, were also worthy of a yellow card. He fell dramatically to the ground and rolled in agony several times after literally being touched with a feather.

Liverpool were completely outplayed in the first half and United keeper Edwin van der Sar had little to do.

Liverpool’s passing was brilliant - but it was all backwards and mainly in their own half and invariably back to their keeper. They looked like a team in decline.

Torres rarely got a touch of the ball, while Gerrard played very deep in midfield.

Torres had an eventful game in the end, however, having a hand in three of the five goals - one of Manchester United’s and two of Liverpool’s.

It was Torres who failed to mark Berbatov at a Ryan Giggs corner in the 42nd minute, allowing the Bulgarian the easiest of headers to put the home side in front.

Nani smashed a shot against a Liverpool post in the 57th minute, while two minutes later, Berbatov scored his second goal of the match and one that will surely be in contention for goal of the season. It was the equal of any goal scored by Pele or Maradona.

Darren Fletcher put Nani away on the right and he cut back inside and sent over a cross with his left-foot. Rooney missed the ball, but it fell to a tightly marked Berbatov, who controlled it on his thigh and flicked it in the air before scoring with a magnificent overhead kick from 15 metres to make it 2-0.

In the 63rd minute, Torres chased a ball down the right of the box and was upended by Jonny Evans. Webb awarded a penalty, which was nonchalantly despatched to van der Sar’s left by Gerrard to put Liverpool back in contention.

In the 70th minute, O’Shea pulled Torres down just inside the D and was fortunate indeed to be given only a yellow card. Gerrard took the free-kick and Fletcher conveniently stepped to his left to open up a gap between himself and team-mate Evans, allowing the ball through and into the net past an unsighted van der Sar. Forming proper defensive walls will be a priority at Manchester United training this week and the plastic dummies will be banished.

Six minutes from the end, Berbatov outjumped Carragher to nod home O’Shea’s deep cross from the right and give Manchester United a 3-2 win, which took them to within a point of leaders Chelsea.

Berbatov’s hat-trick was the first for a Manchester United player in this fixture since 1946, when Stan Pearson performed the feat.

Oh, and what was Berbatov's reward? He was substituted two minutes before the end.


Anonymous said...

Harsh Walter. Berbatov was subbed to get a standing ovation, the one he deserved!

Anonymous said...

berbatov clearly a confidence player!

Walter said...

Anonymous 10.43am, I just feel that a player who has scored a hat-trick deserves to see out the match. I don't know of any player who likes to be substituted, especially after a magnificent performance. I recall seeing Torres substituted after a fine display and the look on his face said it all. A standing ovation at the end of the game for a player is appropriate and everyone would know who the applause is for. And, what if Liverpool had equalised again and the man-of-the-match and hat-trick hero was no longer on the field and therefore unable to go for a fourth goal?

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