26/10/2013 15:55, Report by Steve Bartram
Report: United 3 Stoke 2
Just as Manchester United looked set to suffer a shock home defeat to Stoke City, the Barclays Premier League champions produced a stirring late comeback to secure a memorable 3-2 victory over Mark Hughes' side.
First half goals from Peter Crouch and Marko Arnautovic bookended Robin van Persie's equaliser, and the visitors were on the brink of their first win at Old Trafford since 1976 until goals in the 78th and 80th minutes from Wayne Rooney and Chicharito flipped the match on its head.
The delirium which gripped Old Trafford was totally at odds with the air of frustration which had prevailed for five sixths of the game, from the moment Stoke forged ahead with their first attack of the game. Crouch unwittingly deflected a Jonny Evans clearance past the grounded David De Gea, and the Spaniard made a fine stop from Jonathan Walters and Crouch prodded just over, as Stoke made the clearer chances.
United levelled shortly before the break, however, as Asmir Begovic parried Rooney's close-range header but was unable to stop van Persie from drilling in the rebound. Yet rather than provide a springboard for the hosts, however, the visitors moved ahead again almost immediately. After Phil Jones had been penalised on the edge of his own area, Arnautovic curled a free-kick in off the underside of De Gea’s crossbar to send Stoke into the interval with the lead.
The second half was an altogether more fractious affair, with a spate of bookings dished out by referee Lee Mason. Stoke's impressive defending continued, but eventually collapsed under the weight of mounting pressure, as Rooney arced a brilliant header over Begovic from van Persie's corner, before substitute Hernandez nodded in Patrice Evra's deep cross to send Old Trafford wild.