Berbatov double complete Manchester Utd miracle U-turn

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Dimitar Berbatov snatched a late winner as Manchester United came from two goals down to beat Blackpool 3-2 in a thrilling English Premier League clash at Bloomfield Road on Tuesday.

United trailed 2-0 at half-time as goals from Craig Cathcart and DJ Campbell rocked Sir Alex Ferguson’s side.

But the Premier League leaders produced another of their famous late comebacks as Berbatov’s double – taking his total to 20 for the season with 19 of them in the Premier League – and one from Javier Hernandez ensured their unbeaten run extended to 23 league games and lifted them five points clear of second placed Arsenal.

Blackpool had been unsettled this week by the constant speculation over the future of captain and talisman Charlie Adam.

Adam has handed in a written transfer request, which was subsequently rejected, yet rumours persist that Liverpool are in the hot seat to land the midfielder although an initial inquiry has already been rebuffed by Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston.

The first meeting between the sides for 35 years, which should originally have been played in December but was lost to the arctic conditions, started brightly with Blackpool on top.

After 10 minutes, Luke Varney slipped Gary Taylor-Fletcher through down the right wing but nobody could get on the end of his low cross as Edwin van der Sar comfortably gathered in the United goal.

However, the feeling that the encounter could only get better was underlined when Blackpool took the lead through former United defender Cathcart.

Cathcart, who left Old Trafford in pre-season, headed home as United fell asleep at the back in the 15th minute.

Adam swung a decent ball into the six-yard area which beat everybody as Cathcart arrived late and could not miss.

The game remained open but contained few real chances although Nemanja Vidic did almost knock the ball past van der Sar in a defensive mix-up and Elliot Grandin then fired over when well placed.

Ferguson’s side failed to put enough passes together or penetrate Blackpool’s defence as Nani, Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes all had peripheral roles in the first half.

And they were punished again just before the break when Blackpool doubled their lead through Campbell.

The forward grabbed his sixth goal in seven games when United again collapsed from Adam’s corner as Nani mistakenly flicked the ball into Campbell’s path and he clinically finished from close range to send Blackpool into the break pinching themselves in disbelief.

Immediately after the re-start, Blackpool felt they deserved a penalty when Rafael crashed into Luke Varney but referee Peter Walton waved away the home side’s claims.

To their credit, Blackpool did not appear fazed by their advantage and continued on the attack after the break and even through Ryan Giggs had come off the bench for United, Ferguson’s side still looked short of ideas.

Rooney was also substituted with 25 minutes left as Ferguson put faith in Hernandez to liven the visitors up and he almost scored but Richard Kingson did enough to smother his close-range effort.

However, the match was then turned completely on its head as United hit two goals in as many minutes to prove they were not dead and buried.

Firstly, Berbatov converted from close range following Fletcher’s low cross and then 90 seconds later, Hernandez equalised as he ran onto a beautiful Giggs ball to slide past Kingson.

From that moment onwards, there seemed like being only one winner and so it proved with two minutes of normal time remaining as Berbatov sped through on goal and poked his second and United’s third past Kingson to cap a stunning turnaround.

In Tuesday’s other Premier League clash, Aston Villa won 2-1 at third bottom Wigan to move six points away from the relegation zone.

Gabriel Agbonlahor opened the scoring in the 49th minute when he nodded home after Ali Al Habsi saved Carlos Cuellar’s header.

Gerard Houllier’s side, who beat Manchester City on Saturday, wrapped up the points in the 62nd minute when Ashley Young converted a penalty after being fouled by Hendry Thomas.

James McCarthy’s deflected effort reduced the deficit in the 80th minute but it was too late for Wigan to salvage a draw.

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