Dimitar Berbatov drifted through 69 minutes of Manchester United's home game with Middlesbrough on Monday before scoring the only goal to keep the champions in touch with the Premier League leaders.

The Bulgarian striker appeared an uninterested observer for much of a freezing night at Old Trafford, but when the visiting defence failed to properly clear a Michael Carrick cross he was well placed near the penalty spot to steer it back past Ross Turnbull for the decisive goal.

United began the game ten points behind Liverpool, albeit with three games in hand, and though they made most of the running in the first half they were short of spark. Cristiano Ronaldo had several half-chances but sent them either wide or straight at the keeper, while centre back Nemanja Vidic headed wide from a corner.

Middlesbrough, who had not won in their previous seven games as they slid towards the relegation zone, got a little more adventurous after the break, with Afonso Alves and Tuncay Sanli both going close. United also had plenty of shots, but they were generally tame and the Old Trafford fans were getting edgy, as well as cold.

They were warmed 21 minutes from time, however, when Berbatov cracked the winner from 12 metres.

"He's a marvellous player," Ferguson said of his summer signing from Tottenham Hotspur. "He's taken the goal very well at a crucial moment. At that stage you start to get concerned." fifa

Manchester United 1 - 0 Middlesbrough Highlights


  1. Juan y Fer  

    December 30, 2008 at 10:53 PM

    I think United is the only Liverpool´s rival this season.
    Chelsea has the problem of the overvalued Scolari

    (a blog about sport in English and EspaƱol)

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