London - Javier Hernandez rescued Manchester United and manager David Moyes
with an 80th-minute winner in a 3-2 victory over Stoke City in the
Premier League on Saturday.
The Mexican substitute's winning goal
capped a strong late flourish from United, who had equalised only two
minutes earlier through the ever-dependable Wayne Rooney.
in victory, and even with a fight back reminiscent of former manager
Alex Ferguson's glory years, United looked far from their
championship-winning form of last season.
Robin van Persie marked
his 50th start for the club with his 38th goal, cancelling out a Peter
Crouch opener, only for Marko Arnautovic to restore Stoke's lead just
before the interval.
Hernandez, a second-half substitute, struck
10 minutes from time to bring United three sorely-needed points, heading
in Patrice Evra's left-wing cross from five yards and sparking
touchline celebrations from Moyes and coach Phil Neville.
had started the game with an apparent spring in their step after a
midweek success over Real Sociedad in the Champions League, but they
succumbed to the very first Stoke attack after three minutes when
full-back Erik Pieters was allowed far too much space down the left.
superb cross found Crouch, who extended his lengthy frame to turn a
shot goalwards that was well saved by David de Gea, only for defender
Jonny Evans to play the rebound against the Stoke forward and back into
the United goal.
There may have been a slice of fortune in the
manner of the finish, but Stoke would go on to show they deserved it
over the remainder of the first half, with Crouch volleying narrowly
over and Jonathan Walters' close-range shot being saved by United
goalkeeper De Gea.
The visitors were growing in confidence, their
hosts struggling to break down their dogged defending and looking short
on attacking ideas, although Rooney, at least, was performing at near
His 25-yard shot after 32 minutes finally brought a save
out of Asmir Begovic, the Stoke goalkeeper turning his effort over the
Van Persie's equaliser came in the 43rd minute,
carved out on the right by Nani, whose cross reached Rooney for a
Begovic did well to turn the ball away, but only
as far as Van Persie, who drove the rebound home from eight yards for
his ninth goal in his last seven appearances against Stoke.
should have been a platform for United to build upon, but in the final
minute of the half Phil Jones brought Arnautovic down on the corner of
the home team's area and presented the Austrian with a free-kick.
Stoke forward conjured up a superb shot that hit the underside of the
United bar and crept over the line as De Gea collapsed vainly into the
United's frustration was obvious and referee Lee Mason had to
separate Van Persie from defender Ryan Shawcross as tempers flared.
after the restart, Rooney's near-post shot was well covered by
Shawcross but, before the hour had elapsed, Moyes had seen enough,
throwing on teenage winger Adnan Januzaj in place of Nani, in a switch
that was wildly popular with the home supporters.
required a rare defensive error from the visitors to allow United a
route back into the game from Van Persie's 78th-minute corner.
having slipped away from his marker, did the rest with a well-judged
glancing header into the top-left corner to make it 2-2, before
Hernandez applied the coup de grace.