Giggs breaks Norwich hearts
Ryan Giggs marked his 900th appearance for Manchester United with a stoppage-time winner as valiant Norwich were beaten 2-1.
By Razwan Mirza
Last Updated: 26/02/12 6:11pm
Ryan Giggs marked his 900th appearance for Manchester United with a stoppage-time winner as valiant Norwich City were beaten 2-1 at Carrow Road.
Giggs, 38, who scored against the Canaries in the top flight 19 years ago, did it again, this time with a dramatic stoppage-time goal to leave City heartbroken.
Manchester United were ahead at the break thanks to Paul Scholes' second goal since his return from retirement.
The midfielder finished off a well-worked move in the seventh minute, heading home Nani's right-wing cross from six-yards.
Grant Holt restored parity with seven minutes remaining, turning well before lashing his effort into the far corner from 12 yards.
But United poured forward in added time and were eventually rewarded when Giggs stabbed home Ashley Young's fine cross at the back post to put the Red Devils back within two points of leaders Manchester City.
Only three teams have won at Carrow Road in the Premier League this season, and it was another positive start by the hosts as Simeon Jackson looked to get in between centre-backs Rio Ferdinand and Jonny Evans.
United, though, soon settled and retained possession well, and were in front on seven minutes.
Nani swung the ball over from the right, and it bounced through the six-yard box to the far post, where Scholes nodded it past John Ruddy.
Bradley Johnson was shown a yellow card by referee Andre Marriner for a crunching tackle on the Portuguese winger, which on another day could well have been red.
On 15 minutes, it was almost 2-0 when another flowing United counter opened up the Norwich defence before Danny Welbeck's scuffed shot was touched wide at full stretch by Ruddy.
Norwich finally created a meaningful chance on 28 minutes, Kyle Naughton chipped a throughball into the right side of the United penalty box. Anthony Pilkington took it in his stride with a sublime first touch before knocking his shot goalwards, with De Gea making a fine reaction save at the near post.
Javier Hernandez should have done better when played clear into the Norwich penalty area, but failed to trouble Ruddy with a tame effort straight at the goalkeeper.
At the other end, De Gea was producing a top-drawer display as he plucked a glancing header from Holt out of the air after the Norwich captain turned Pilkington's right-wing cross goalwards.
At the start of the second half, Giggs weaved his way into the Norwich box and tumbled under a challenge from Zak Whitbread, but play was waved on.
On 57 minutes, Johnson's low, 25-yard effort floated just wide.
Pilkington's looping cross fell to Andrew Surman at the far post, but his well-executed volley was blocked.
Welbeck and Giggs exchanged passes to send the striker clear, and his chip floated past Ruddy, but Whitbread was alert to recover and hack clear even though the ball may have been going wide.
Norwich maintained their pressure, with Bennett's cross from the right plucked out of the air by De Gea as Holt lurked in the six-yard box.
Giggs was initially denied a goal to cap his milestone when his close-range volley cannoned off the top of the bar from Phil Jones' cross on 72 minutes.
Wes Hoolahan's cross then hit Evra on the elbow as Norwich screamed for a penalty, but referee Marriner thought otherwise.
Scholes gave the ball away to substitute Aaron Wilbraham 25 yards out, and the big striker strode forwards before unleashing a shot towards the top corner, which De Gea turned over at full stretch.
Norwich, though, were not to be denied as the resulting corner was cleared back to Adam Drury, who launched it into the area again. Whitbread knocked the ball down to Holt, who squirmed between two markers before firing in his 10th league goal of the season on 83 minutes.
Young's goalbound effort was blocked and Welbeck somehow missed a free-header from two yards.However, Giggs ensured a fairytale finish when he stabbed home in stoppage time to keep United on the tails of leaders City.
|Norwich City||Team Statistics||Manchester United|
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|5||Shots on Target||7|
|8||Shots off Target||2|
|46.3||1st Half Poss.||53.7|
|39.8||2nd Half Poss.||60.2|