Pouncing on Michael Carrick’s mis-control in the middle of the field, Ba advanced on goal and chanced his arm from 25 yards. De Gea parried away the low effort, but the ball fell perfectly into the path of the onrushing Perch for a simple tap-in.
United’s endeavours to get back into the game were met not only by the emboldened visitors, but the teeming rain and increasingly slickened playing surface. The conditions made hard work for both sides, but the visitors forged the game’s next chance as Rio Ferdinand headed away Cisse’s goal-bound effort.
There were signs of encouragement as the visitors were gradually penned back from the 20-minute mark. Chicharito almost reached Ryan Giggs’ tempting cross, while Mike Williamson was fortunate to escape a penalty claim after clambering over the Mexican. As soon as United located the target, however, parity was restored.
Van Persie’s in-swinging free-kick was flicked on by Giggs and the ball became stuck among a ruck of players. Chicharito was the first to react, quickly firing off a shot which Tim Krul brilliantly saved, only for Evans to reach the rebound ahead of Simpson and slide home the leveller.
Yet, just three minutes later, the Northern Irishman had inadvertently restored the visitors’ lead amid scenes of confusion. The ball was worked wide to Simpson, who advanced into space and smashed in a