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Manchester United's Wayne Rooney wipes his face as he walks off the pitch following their English Premier League match against Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford in Manchester, northern England, September 29, 2012. (NIGEL RODDIS/REUTERS)
Manchester United's Wayne Rooney wipes his face as he walks off the pitch following their English Premier League match against Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford in Manchester, northern England, September 29, 2012. (NIGEL RODDIS/REUTERS)

Premier League

Spurs end futility at Old Trafford with thrilling win over Manchester United Add to ...

Tottenham Hotspur ended their 23-year wait for an away victory against Manchester United with a spectacular 3-2 Premier League win at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Goals from Jan Vertonghen, Gareth Bale and Clint Dempsey marked the high point of manager Andre Villas Boas’s time at Spurs to date.

The Londoners climbed to fifth in the table on the back of this result while United were left third, four points behind leaders Chelsea.

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In a remarkable second half, United scored through Nani and Shinji Kagawa but were unable to produce an equaliser as Spurs ended a run of 26 games, home and away in all competitions, without a win over Alex Ferguson’s side -- a sequence dating back to May 2001.

Spurs made an astonishing start, taking the lead inside two minutes.

Vertonghen took a pass from Aaron Lennon and scythed through the United defence, surging past Rio Ferdinand into the United area where his goalbound shot deflected off Jonny Evans and wrong-footed goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard.

The second goal, after 31 minutes, was similar in its execution and no more than the visitors deserved for a half of domination.

This time Bale was the tormentor of the United defence, collecting a short ball from Mousa Dembele just inside the home half and running away from Ferdinand far too easily before scoring with a clinical right-foot finish beyond Lindegaard’s dive.

But even that surprising half-time scoreline gave no hint of the remarkable three-minute period after the interval which brought three goals.

Ferguson’s move in bringing on Wayne Rooney as a half-time substitute was vindicated after 51 minutes when the England forward crossed from the right and Nani, arriving ahead of William Gallas, volleyed in from six yards.

Within a minute, however, Spurs had restored their two-goal cushion, as United’s defence suffered yet more embarrassment.

Jermain Defoe’s pass found Bale in far too much space in the United area and the Welshman’s shot was parried by Lindegaard, allowing Dempsey the most routine of tap-ins from six yards.

The drama was not over and, incredibly, less than a minute later United had drawn to within a goal, at 3-2.

Michael Carrick’s pass reached Kagawa, back to goal, who turned and buried a shot into the corner of the goal from eight yards.

Rooney almost equalised for the Reds, with the half still only 16 minutes old, as he planted a 20-yard free-kick, awarded for a foul on Kagawa by Dempsey, around the Spurs wall and Friedel, only to see it strike the post.

It was a drastic improvement from United and needed to be for it was not until the 44th minute that Brad Friedel had a save to make, a routine gather from Nani’s shot on the edge of the Tottenham area.

United could point to two penalty decisions that went against them in the first half.

After 11 minutes, a poor defensive header from Dempsey presented Robin van Persie with a shooting opportunity, with Gallas sliding in and seeming to catch the striker after the ball had gone.

Later in the period, Vertonghen appeared to tug back Nani with both hands in the six-yard area although the Portuguese winger made a meal of the contact, possibly influencing referee Chris Foy in the process.

The penalty theme continued in the second half, with the ball striking the hand of Sandro in the Spurs area but Foy ruling the contact was accidental.

Soon afterwards Rooney fired just wide before van Persie squandered Unuted’s best chance yet of an equaliser as Carrick played him completely clear only for the Dutchman to roll his shot the wrong side of the post after 69 minutes.

Eight minutes from time, Scholes’s saw Friedel parry his 18-yard shot.

Rooney then hurriedly blazed high and wide before Carrick’s header across the six-yard box hit the post but Spurs were not to be denied a memorable victory.

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