(HD Video) ‘Cristiano Ronaldo’ 100% Cheating Moments
On March 4 2009, the full-time whistle is blown at St James’ Park. Manchester United are cantering towards their 11th Premier League title under Sir Alex Ferguson.
Goals from Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov had seen United come from behind to beat Newcastle 2-1 and restore their seven-point lead at the top of the table. Buoyed by their League Cup final victory over Tottenham the previous weekend, the Reds had just claimed their 11th successive victory in the league.
A visit from bitter rivals Liverpool awaited Ferguson’s side in their following match. Having beaten them 2-1 at Anfield earlier in the season, alongside the fact that Rafael Benitez’s side lost 2-0 to Middlesbrough just two games prior, meant that nobody foresaw what would happen next.
A then 24-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo gave United the lead with a 23rd-minute penalty and United looked set to make it 12 straight victories in a row, but Liverpool had other ideas. Fernando Torres levelled the scores just five minutes later, before Steven Gerrard put the visitors ahead with a penalty of their own, moments before half-time.
In the second half, Fabio Aurelio and Andrea Dossena sealed a 4-1 win for the visitors.
The title was still firmly in United’s hands as they headed to Craven Cottage looking to bounce back from that defeat in their next game. United were without Nemanja Vidic, following his sending off against Liverpool, but still had more than enough to win against a Fulham side who hadn’t beaten United at home in 45 years.
Yet football is seldom romantic, and the powers that be had no time for a rose-tinted view of United’s title charge.
After 18 minutes, Paul Scholes was shown a straight red card for handling Bobby Zamora’s goal-bound header, with Danny Murphy dispatching the resulting penalty. United may have been down to 10-men, but they were pressing for a second-half equaliser, when Zoltan Gera struck on the break with a superb control and finish.