FA Barclaycard Premiership
Old Trafford, Sat 28 December 2002
MANCHESTER UNITED 2
(Forlan 37, Beckham 73)
BIRMINGHAM CITY 0
United: Barthez; O'Shea, Ferdinand, Brown, Silvestre; Beckham, Keane (Giggs, 85), Veron, Scholes (Richardson 74); Solskjaer (P Neville 76), Forlan. Subs not used: Ricardo, G Neville.
Birmingham: Vaesen; Kenna, Cunningham (Powell 63), Johnson, Sadler (Woodhouse 68); Devlin, Savage, Cisse, Lazaridis (Horsfield 51); Morrison, Kirovski. Not used: Bennett, Hughes.
When Birmingham City travelled to Old Trafford in December 2002, United were looking to round off the calendar year with a win after slipping to back-to-back league defeats at the hands of Blackburn (0-1) and Middlesbrough (1-3).
The visitors, then managed by ex-Reds skipper Steve Bruce, were not going to make it easy - they had lost just one of their previous seven games, a run which included away wins over Fulham and Sunderland.
Action: A goal in each half sealed a valuable win for United - Diego Forlan netted late in the first period after Birmingham’s defence had frustrated the Reds, then David Beckham's majestic lob made things more comfortable 17 minutes from time. In between, the Blues briefly threatened an equaliser, twice bringing the best out of Fabian Barthez.
Reaction: The 2-0 victory for United inspired a run of six straight wins, including another success over the Blues at St. Andrews in January. In fact the Reds remained unbeaten for the rest of the league season and eventually overhauled Arsenal to clinch an eighth Premier League title.
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