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Manchester United mistake with Stoke

premier league live bettingManchester United lost their first points of the Premier League season, having reached the 1-1 draw away to Stoke City.

Sir Alex Ferguson was forced to draft Antonio Valencia in at right-back after Jonny Evans was injured in the warm-up, requiring Phil Jones to move into the centre. Star striker Wayne Rooney missed out with a hamstring strain, providing Dimitar Berbatov an opportunity to remind his manager of his ability.

After several scrappy minutes without incident, substitute Michael Owen dragged multiple defenders out of position just outside the box, allowing Nani to maraud through, having completed a smart one-two with Darren Fletcher, jink away from his remaining marker and slice home a quality finish low into the corner.

But United could not be complacent and immediately after the goal David de Gea was forced into an excellent save. As Stoke countered, the ball broke to the onrushing Andy Wilkinson, who burst into the box and unleashed a stinging shot bound for the top corner, but the Spaniard reacted very well to deflect it wide.

United enjoyed some pretty but aimless possession in the Stoke box that came to nothing after the restart, and a moment of contrast was provided soon after when Crouch rose to meet Matt Etherington’s corner, heading a simple finish home, helped by the unmoving De Gea, to score his first goal for his new side.

Just moments later, with the Britannia crowd in full song, there might have been a second for the tall striker, who snuck in behind the hesitant Rio Ferdinand to have a close-range effort, but De Gea made an instinctual block to keep it out.

There was no doubt that Stoke were the team in control as the midpoint of the second half arrived, with Jermaine Pennant and Etherington causing problems on the wings. De Gea was forced to tackle Crouch with his feet when Pennant supplied him in the box, with shouts for a penalty rightly ignored.