The Argentinean was set up by substitute Dimitar Berbatov whose volley to the far post allowed Tevez to tap home from close-range. The match had been well contested but United always looked the most likely to get the breakthrough and there task was made easier when Andy Wilkinson was sent off for the home side.
United were without captain Rio Ferdinand who was injured in the pre-match warm up and was replaced by Jonny Evans. Evans allowed Ricardo Fuller to get away from him in the opening moments of the match but the Potters striker blazed over the bar.
Manchester United then took control of the match but were met by some solid defending by Stoke who were prepared to get men behind the ball. Nemanja Vidic and Wayne Rooney both went close with headers but United becoming visibly frustrated by their inability to break down the Stoke defence.
At the start of the second half Stoke goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen was twice called into action but managed to save well from Tevez and later from Paul Scholes. Fuller went close again for Stoke as they had a rare foray into United territory.
The striker almost benefitted from a mix up between Edwin van der Sar and John O'Shea on the edge of the box but the United duo managed to clear.
A game that had experienced some niggling incidents – notably involving Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo – then exploded once more as Wilkinson clattered into the back of Ronaldo and was sent off for a second-bookable offence. Alex Ferguson brought Berbatov on and his presence seemed to lift the visitors.
The Bulgarian headed over the bar soon after coming on before setting up Tevez for the winner seven minutes from full time. Gary Neville crossed the ball which Berbatov collected and he volley on towards the far post where Tevez was lying in wait.