MX23RW : Sunday, June 20 01:55:37| >> :60:2748:2748:
Sep 2, 2012 at 4pm UK at St Mary's Stadium
Man UtdManchester United
Schneiderlin (55'), Lambert (16')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Van Persie (23', 87', 90')

On this day: Robin van Persie hat-trick downs Southampton

Two years ago today, Robin van Persie scored a hat-trick as Manchester United defeated Southampton 3-2 at the St Mary's Stadium.

When Manchester City pipped rivals Manchester United to the Premier League title in 2012, Sir Alex Ferguson vowed that he would never allow his side to be beaten in such a manner again.

To ensure that he would be true to his word, that summer Ferguson got one over on 'the noisy neighbours' by beating them to the signature of Arsenal striker Robin van Persie, who had scooped the previous season's PFA Players' Player of the Year award thanks in part to his 22-goal haul in all competitions.

After a brief debut from the bench away at Everton, the Dutchman marked his first start with a goal in the 3-2 victory over Fulham at Old Trafford.

Next up for Van Persie and his new teammates was a trip to the St Mary's Stadium to take on Southampton two years ago today. The newly-promoted Saints may have lost their opening two encounters of the campaign against champions City and Wigan Athletic, but they had shown signs that they could be competitive at the top level.

They displayed as much against United in what was Ferguson's 1,000th match in charge of the club, but the encounter would ultimately end in another loss for the hosts thanks to the clinical Van Persie.

The hosts did open the scoring, though, when in the 16th minute, Rickie Lambert rose above Rafael da Silva to head Jason Puncheon's cross beyond the reach of Anders Lindegaard.

However, within seven minutes, United were level. Antonio Valencia's cross towards the back post found Van Persie and having chested the ball down, his second touch saw him lash a half-volley into the far corner of Kelvin Davis's net.

Van Persie and Shinji Kagawa both had chances to put United in front either side of the break, but it was Southampton that regained the lead 10 minutes after the restart. Lambert turned provider on this occasion as he picked out Morgan Schneiderlin, who made the most of a slip from his marker Patrice Evra to head in front close range.

United responded and were soon given the perfect opportunity to reply after Southampton centre-back Jos Hooiveld had hacked down Van Persie inside the penalty area. The summer signing dusted himself down to take the resultant kick, only for his chipped effort to be turned to safety by Davis.

He would not be denied, though, with two goals in the final five minutes ensuring that United would take all three points back to Manchester with them.

His second of the match would come after Rio Ferdinand had hit the post in the 87th minute and then, in the second minute of stoppage time, Van Persie darted towards the near post to meet Nani's corner, which he was able to flick into the roof of Davis's net.

"His first goal was magnificent - the control and then to bury it. It was a really good goal. His header was excellent, too, but he has been a terrific player for us," Ferguson said of Van Persie after the final whistle.

Meanwhile, the centre-forward himself added: "It was a good feeling afterwards, but I'm very disappointed with the penalty. When that happens at 2-1 down, you can't take a penalty like that. Something went wrong big time.

"I have to say a big thank you to Paul Scholes. Every single pass he hit was the right one. It was unbelievable. He is man of the match for me."

SOUTHAMPTON: K Davis; Clyne, Hooiveld, Fonte, Fox; Puncheon (Mayuka), S Davis, Schneiderlin, Ward-Prowse, Lallana (Rodriguez); Lambert (Guly)

MAN UNITED: Lindegaard; Rafael, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Valencia, Carrick, Cleverley (Scholes), Kagawa (Nani); Welbeck (Hernandez), Van Persie

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Ryan Giggs the Manchester United interim manager looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Sunderland at Old Trafford on May 3, 2014
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