Swansea City 0-1 Manchester United: Early Chicharito strike keeps Red Devils within five points of leaders City
The Mexican star struck early against the Premier League new boys to give Sir Alex's Ferguson's men the spoils in a hard-fought encounter
By Joe Wright
Javier Hernandez's 11th minute strike gave the visitors all three points, with the Mexican slotting home after Ryan Giggs played him clean through after Angel Rangel’s defensive error.
Swansea started in brave fashion in front of their home fans, opting for a 4-3-3 formation against the reigning champions, who welcomed Michael Carrick and Ryan Giggs back to the starting line-up.
But just over 10 minutes into the game, Rangel saw his slack pass intercepted at the edge of his own area, allowing Giggs, playing for the first time in his home nation, to surge into the box and square for Chicharito, who calmly lifted his effort into the net from close-range.
It was a tense 90 minutes in Wales, with both sides carving out a host of chances early on. Scott Sinclair was guilty of the worst miss of the match when he allowed a cut-back to slip through his legs with the goal gaping in front of him, as the hosts squandered a glorious chance to equalise.
Swansea, who were defending an unbeaten home record in the league this season, pressed hard for a share of the spoils in the second half, with Danny Graham in particular looking a big threat to David de Gea’s goal.
But United’s rearguard, which saw Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand partnered together once more, held firm against the pressure from the Swans, and the visitors saw a handful of chances to make the points secure go begging towards the end.
Wayne Rooney came close with two efforts in quick succession and Nani curled an effort just wide of the far post after a late, twisting run.
With only one minute left on the clock, Phil Jones saw a rasping drive rattle against the post after a counter-attack which had displayed a quality of football largely lacking for much of the game.
While a second goal may have made Ferguson’s time on the touchline a little more comfortable, in the end, the clash was settled by Hernandez's early strike, with the Mexican showing just how crucial his clinical finishing could be to United's title chances this season.
The win keeps the Red Devils on the tailcoats of fierce rivals City, who had cemented their place at the top of the pile with a 3-1 win over Newcastle United earlier on Saturday.
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