Manchester United comeback stuns Stoke City Premier League: Manchester United 3-2 Stoke City

Premier League champions Manchester United scored two late goals to earn a vital 3-2 victory over Stoke City at Old Trafford.

Peter Crouch scored in the opening minutes to hand the visitors a shock lead, before Robin van Persie equalised with a smart finish just before the interval.

However, United conceded another on the stroke of half time when Marko Arnautović curled in an exquisite free-kick.

With the clock ticking down to full-time the atmosphere inside Old Trafford became increasingly tense, but United were bailed out by two late goals in quick succession by Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez.

The home crowd must have feared the worst when Crouch bundled home inside the opening two minutes after initially forcing David De Gea into a close-range save.

The Red Devils looked short of ideas and were being reduced to speculative efforts from range, with only one – from Rooney – testing Asmir Begovic in the Stoke City goal.

But United continued to pile on the pressure and were rewarded for their efforts just before half-time when Van Persie netted the equaliser.

The Dutchman profited after Begovic had pulled off a fine save to keep out Rooney’s back-post header, but the Stoke ‘keeper could do little about Van Persie’s follow-up.

It seemed that would be enough to send the two sides into the break all square, but the Potters took the lead on the stroke of half-time courtesy of Arnautović’s fine free-kick, which left De Gea with no chance.

United boss David Moyes needed to gamble – and his decision to send on Adnan Januzaj and Hernandez had the desired effect.

Januzaj kept the visitors on the back foot, while Hernandez was typically lively inside the penalty area.

But it was Rooney who put United back on level terms, 12 minutes before the full-time whistle, with an excellent near-post header from a Van Persie corner.

Then Hernandez headed in from a Patrice Evra cross two minutes later to send the home supporters into raptures.

This was a comeback straight from the Sir Alex Ferguson era – and the legendary Scot, like every other Manchester United fan, will have been hugely encouraged by this afternoon’s dramatic turn-around.

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