Man United   0

Aston Villa   1

Agbonlahor (21)

12 December 2009 Old Trafford

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Man United
29Kuszczak
24Fletcher
6Brown
15Vidic
3Evra
7Valencia
16Carrick
8Andersonsub28
11Giggssub7
7Parksub9
10Rooneyyellow card
Subs:
1Foster
7Owensub11
9Berbatovsub7
19Welbeck
25Obertan
28Gibsonsub8
30De Laet
Aston Villa
24Friedel
18Young
24Cuellar
5Dunne
25Warnocksub19
18Youngyellow card
19Petrov
7Milner
19Downingsub19
11Agbonlahorgoal
18Heskeysub10
Subs:
22Guzan
7Sidwell
10Carewsub18
16Delph
19Reo-Cokersub19
23Beye
19Collinssub25

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11/12/2009 16:53, Report by Gemma Thompson
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United 0 Aston Villa 1

was Villa who made the decisive breakthrough. Agbonlahor collected possession with his back to goal 20 yards out and, after laying the ball off to Ashley Young on the left wing, he made a dart into the area where he stooped between Brown and Vidic to head home Young’s centre on 21 minutes.

The goal may have come against the run of play, but Villa grew in confidence thereafter. After Friedel had dived low to his right to parry a Michael Carrick long-ranger and Valencia had gone within inches of converting Rooney’s flick-on, the visitors went close to doubling their advantage after a mix-up between Kuszczak and Fletcher. A pass-back from Vidic looked likely to be hoofed upfield by the Polish stopper, but he opted instead to slip the ball to Fletcher, who was stood just outside the box. Agbonlahor was in close proximity and nipped in to steal possession from the Reds’ stand-in right-back. He crossed towards the unmarked Ashley Young, but fortunately Kuszczak managed to get a hand on it allowing Fletcher, at full stretch, to poke the ball clear.

Seconds later the Reds went within a whisker of restoring parity. A Patrice Evra cross was collected by Rooney who turned Carlos Cuellar brilliantly inside the six-yard box before smashing a shot against the crossbar.

Old Trafford’s South Stand rose to celebrate the net rippling five minutes before the break, but unfortunately Giggs’ close-range effort, which had Friedel beaten, found the netting on the wrong side of the post.

That was to be the Welshman’s last action of the afternoon after he was replaced at the interval by Michael Owen as the Reds switched from a 4-5-1 formation to 4-4-2. The renowned goal poacher almost turned provider just before the hour when he linked well with Valencia before firing a low centre across the face of goal. Unfortunately neither Rooney nor Park could get on the end of it.

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