Robin's Adventures: Hat-Trick Hero Saves United on Fergie's 1000th Match
When United are down 1-0 against Southampton, who are you gonna call? An early header by Lambert flew off the grass past Lindegaard, and Nigel Adkins' team was ahead of the Red Devils. The Saints were off to a confident start, marred only by a former Arsenal star's equalizer. Robin van Persie picked up the ball with his chest, and in a one-touch finish sent the ball into the far post. He had a little help from his teammates, though - the combination leading up to the goal was a stunning team effort. Another newcomer who was on the attack for united was ex-Dortmund player Shinji Kagawa, who started off both halves for the Red Devils. Lambert was going for the double, but the ball flew wide of the right side of the net, and United were safe. The home team were consistently putting the pressure on the Red Devils and successfully taking the ball away. Yet United weren't sitting back defending. Goalkeeper Kelvin Davis came through for his team when a cross from the right led to a header off the ground. Tied at the halftime mark, both teams had shown why English football is the eye-candy of any decade. The promoted Southampton FC played just as good as a Premier League side like Arsenal and proved to be a formidable opponent for Sir Alex Ferguson's legendary team.
|Robin van Persie can't hear you over the sound of how awesome he is. Source: all-soccer|
As Southampton continued to press the guests, Robin van Persie continued to make his mark at his new team, his one shot finish going just a bit wide of the left post. A nice cross from Lambert gave Schneiderlin a header off the grass and a shot that no keeper can save. Lindegaard was able to save a near post shot three minutes later, converting it to a corner and then taking the delivery. Ferguson brought on Paul Scholes and Nani to strengthen the action up front. RVP kept making runs, but he was blocked by Davis. The camera caught England NT manager Roy Hodgson in the stands observing the match. It's a pity he wouldn't be able to call up Van Persie, who plays for the Netherlands, but one can always dream. United's defense, including Rio Ferdinand, cleared a dangerous attack by the home team. Lo and behold, Fergie's side earned a penalty after Van Persie was brought down in the box. The former Arsenal striker went up to take the shot himself, but his effort was simply not good enough, and Davis clawed the ball away in a one-handed save. The home team also managed to get the ball out of the box after several consecutive attempts by Van Persie and company. United's last substitution was Chicharito; Southampton followed with three subs in five minutes. Adkins' side had very few chances at the end and were left to the mercy of the Red Devils. Chicharito missed a header and sent a shot wide, but ended up earning a corner for his team. In the end it was none other than Robin who found the equalizer. Rafael da Silva's cross led to Rio Ferdinand's header off the pitch that bounced off the post. RVP picked up the shot on the rebound, netting in the second goal for United. Nani's corner in stoppage time gave Van Persie the chance to flick his head and send the ball in for his first hat-trick for United and his 100th overall goal in the Premier League. Who could ask for anything more? Definitely not Sir Alex Ferguson; he got the best present a manager can get on his 1000th match with a legendary club like Manchester United.
|Kelvin Davis saves Van Persie's penalty kick. Source: all-soccer|
Barclay's Premier League - 3rd matchday
Sunday, September 2, 2012, 11:00AM ET
Southampton vs. Manchester United - 2:3 (1:1)
Referee: Mike Dean (Wirral, England)
Stadium: St Mary's Stadium (Southampton, England)
1:0 Rickie Lambert (Asst. Jason Puncheon) ('16)
1:1 Robin van Persie (Asst. Antonio Valencia) ('23)
2:1 Morgan Schneiderlin (Asst. Rickie Lambert) ('56)
2:2 Robin van Persie ('87)
2:3 Robin van Persie (Asst. Nani) ('90)