Saturday 25 January 2014
Manchester United scored three goals in the final 18 minutes to stun Blackpool and open up a five-point lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League table.
Dimitar Berbatov struck twice to follow his hat-trick three days earlier against Birmingham City as United made it 23 matches unbeaten from the start of the season.
For Blackpool it was a third successive league defeat and a fifth in six matches as they slipped down the table, having started the month in eighth.
With Charlie Adam dominating in midfield, the Seasiders, who were enjoying their first season in the Barclays Premier League, made a positive start and took the lead in the 15th minute when former United trainee Craig Cathcart powered in a header. DJ Campbell doubled Blackpool's lead just before half-time when he headed home Adam’s corner for his eighth Barclays Premier League goal of the season.
But the match changed when Javier Hernandez replaced Wayne Rooney after 66 minutes. Berbatov gave the visitors hope when he converted Darren Fletcher’s cross in the 72nd minute and, two minutes later, the visiting side equalised when Hernandez steered the ball home after a pass from fellow substitute Ryan Giggs.
Visiting defender Rafael Da Silva was taken off on a stretcher after falling awkwardly and, after a long stoppage, United sealed victory in the 88th minute when Berbatov ran on to a pass from Paul Scholes and finished powerfully.
The victory gave Man Utd 51 points while Blackpool dropped to 12th, six points above the relegation zone.
“In the first half we were battered – we were terrible," United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said. "We changed it at half-time, brought on Giggs, started to penetrate and in the end ran out deserved winners.”
Blackpool manager Ian Holloway said that he was "gutted" and "devastated". "I will be waking up feeling like I have been kicked somewhere very delicate,” he added.
United were champions when the sides met again on the final day of the season and their 4-2 victory condemned the Seasiders to relegation after just one year in the top flight.