MANCHESTER UNITED 1
- Macheda 81
- Cole, J 20,
- Drogba 79
**A tight game that was won the better side. United looked tired after their midweek game in Munich – Chelsea were fresher, brighter and created more goalscoring opportunities.
As United's injured talisman looked on from his executive box, Chelsea took the points courtesy of a majestic first-half performance in a potential title decider.
Chelsea dominated possession in the first half, partly because Park was playing so high that Chelsea often had an extra man in midfield. Cole and Malouda also played brilliantly fluid role – Ferguson seemed to instruct the full-backs to mark them tightly, but this often resulted in Evra and (in particular) Neville being drawn into the centre, opening up space on the flank.
Malouda beat off a tackle form Antonio Valencia on the left and as he cut in to the United box, brushed off a second challenge by Darren Fletcher.
His cross found Joe Cole three yards out at the near post and, even with Patrice Evra behind him, his audacious back-flick beat the Frenchman and United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar with the ball going in at the far post.
Didier Drogba had been introduced for Anelka on 69 minutes and 11 minutes later he put Chelsea 2-0 up – but in hugely controversial circumstances. Salomon Kalou came forward and slipped a timely pass beyond the United defence for Drogba to lash home high to the left of Van der Sar. However replays confirmed that the Ivorian was clearly offside when the pass had been played through. This goal is questionable.
Nani flow down the left and slipped a low cross in. Cech goes down and paws it up into the air. The ball hits Macheda on the chest, then is propelled forward by his right arm and bounces into the left-hand side of the net, 2-1 position until the end.
Team Line-Ups :
Manchester United: Van der Sar, Neville, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra, Scholes (Nani 72), Fletcher (Gibson 86), Valencia Park (Macheda 72), Giggs, Berbatov
Chelsea: Cech, Ferreira, Terry, Alex, Zhirkov; J. Cole (Kalou 74), Mikel, Lampard, Deco (Ballack 82), Anelka (Drogba 70), Malouda