The winger converted Ashley Young’s cross in the dying embers of a closely fought game to the delight of the traveling supporters, as United once again cut Manchester City’s lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League to just two points.
Norwich appeared to be heading for a well-deserved draw when skipper Grant Holt canceled out Paul Scholes’ opener with just eight minutes remaining, but the Red Devils again demonstrated their never-say-die attitude deep into injury time.
The imperious Giggs was outstanding throughout, as was the other goalscorer Scholes, but United’s victory was largely courtesy of David De Gea, who produced a number of stunning saves to keep Norwich at bay.
As the score suggests, the match itself was very tightly contested, with the home team arguably having the best of the game; however, United picked up three points largely courtesy of De Gea, who turned in a fantastic performance, as he produced a string of stunning saves to keep Norwich at bay.
Giggs and Scholes were excellent too, and it was the old guard who were involved early on, as Sir Alex Ferguson’s men struck first.
Giggs had missed a good chance just moments before a well-worked move saw the exceptional Paul Scholes covert Nani’s inviting cross to give the champions the lead.
Scholes started the move, and after a neat interchange between Danny Welbeck and Phil Jones, the ball was fed to Nani. The Portuguese winger was wasteful throughout, but he was able to whip in his one dangerous cross of the match, which looked to have evaded everyone before Scholes ghosted in unmarked at the back post to head home.
It was the midfielder’s second goal since coming out of retirement. His importance to United was glaringly evident as he dictated the tempo of the game and set the tone for the opening half hour, in which the visitors dominated possession but were unable to capitalise on their dominance with a second goal.
Norwich keeper John Ruddy, once on trial at Old Trafford, was the prime reason United were unable to turn their dominance into goals, as he made a terrific save from Danny Welbeck before saving from Javier Hernandez shortly after.
The Canaries almost found a way back into the game before half time, but they too were denied by some excellent goalkeeping.
Anthony Pilkington was the beneficiary of some questionable defending from Patrice Evra, but his shot was saved by the feet of De Gea. Moments later, De Gea again rescued the visitors, demonstrating his outstanding reactions to pluck a close-range Holt header out of the air.
Paul Lambert’s team were starting to cause the champions real problems before the break, but the underdogs’ momentum was halted by half time, and Welbeck came close to doubling the champions’ lead early in the second period, only to be denied by Zac Whitbread’s goal-line clearance.
Who was Man of the Match?
The game remained evenly matched, although Norwich began to look the team more likely to score as United were pushed deeper into their half in a bid to defend their lead, and De Gea was again called into action.
With just over 10 minutes remaining, Scholes gifted Aaron Wilbraham possession in the United half, and his powerful 20-yard drive was kept out by a splendid one-handed save from the Spaniard.
However, the visitors’ lead didn’t last for much longer, when a corner was half cleared, and the resulting pump into the box fell at the feet of Holt. The Norwich skipper used his body well to turn Rio Ferdinand, before lashing a powerful effort into the top corner of the net that not even the outstanding De Gea could keep out.
Local rivals Manchester City rejoiced, and Carrow Road celebrated, but United were stung into life and almost struck back immediately.
Welbeck was afforded two great chances with just under five minutes remaining, but he was denied first by the foot of Ruddy, and then took his eye off the ball when Giggs’ cross presented him with the easiest of headers.
United fans would have been forgiven for believing a draw was now inevitable, but there was one more twist in an enthralling Premier League battle.
With just one minute of injury time left, Young made himself space on the left and was able to fashion a final goalscoring opportunity with a delightful inswinging cross, which was gleefully converted by Giggs at the back post
Giggs’ impact sparked wild celebrations from the traveling fans, who were superb throughout, before he was hailed as “amazing” by Sir Alex Ferguson after the match.
Norwich’s excellent performance will be no consolation to the home side, who deserved at least a point, but United were again able to show their mettle, and have no intentions of giving up their Premier League title without a fight.
United added another chapter to their long history of dramatic victories, but the script was written for Giggs, who signed off his special day in the perfect manner.
Norwich City: Ruddy (8), Drury (7), Whitbread (7), Ward (6), Naughton (6), Johnson (5), Surman (5), Pilkington (7), Fox (7), Holt (7), Jackson (5); Subs: Bennett (6), Wilbraham (6), Hoolahan (6)
Manchester United: De Gea (9), Evra (6), Jones (7), Ferdinand (6), Evans (7), Giggs (9), Carrick (7), Scholes (8), Nani (5), Hernandez (5), Welbeck (6); Subs: Young (7), Smalling (n/a)
Referee: Andre Marriner (8)