Manchester United 2 Tottenham Hotspur 1

Last updated : 24 January 2009 By Footymad Previewer
Manchester United's depleted troops marched by beating an under-strength Tottenham Hotspur side 2-1 in the fourth round of the FA Cup at Old Trafford.

The Red Devils went into the game without ten of their first-team squad, while Spurs were missing seven senior players.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson will be hoping that some of the walking wounded will be available for Tuesday's Premier League trip to West Bromwich Albion after three more suffered knocks against Spurs.

Debutant left-back Fabio da Silva - the twin brother of the injured Rafael - limped off after an impressive 55 minutes' action.

Cristiano Ronaldo followed 18 minutes later - replaced by recent signing from Partizan Belgrade, debutant Zoran Tosic, while striker Danny Welbeck went off three minutes from the end of normal time.

Yet, for all the star absentees, United proved too strong for Spurs. However, they had to come from behind after been caught cold by the visitors in the fifth minute.

Fabio's poor defensive clearance went straight to Tom Huddlestone on the left edge of the United box.

Huddlestone crossed the ball into the centre where Roman Pavlyuchenko nipped in before Nemanja Vidic at the near post to send the most delicate of headers into the far corner of the net from eight yards.

The goal stung the home side into action. In the 18th minute, Carlos Tevez collected John O'Shea's pass 25 yards out before hitting a tremendous shot which crashed against the Spurs bar.

Only a brilliant tackle in his own penalty area by Tottenham's Chris Gunter denied Welbeck a goal, after the United youngster's mazy run took him past three Spurs players.

United's equaliser after 34 minutes owed much to a lucky deflection. Michael Carrick's measured low corner to the unmarked Paul Scholes 25 yards out was fired goalwards by the United veteran.

The ball took a cruel deflection off Huddlestone and went through Tevez's legs past Spurs' young goalkeeper Ben Alnwick and into the net.

United were ahead 90 seconds later but this time the goal was pure class.

Carrick's pinpoint 40-yard pass found Dimitar Berbatov closing in on the right edge of the Tottenham box.

The Bulgarian striker, who joined United from Spurs for £30million in the final hours of the last transfer window, collected the ball and in one movement rifled home a superb low shot.

The second half was a pale imitation of the first, although Gareth Bale blasted wide from close range and Tottenham had injury time claims for a penalty turned down by referee Peter Walton when substitute Adel Taarabt's shot hit Scholes on the arm.