Manchester United 1-0 Fulham


Wayne Rooney continued his recent scoring spree at Old Trafford with a winning goal which keeps pressure on Manchester City at the top of the table

 

 

By Alex Byrom
Deputy Football Editor from Old Trafford

A solitary goal from Wayne Rooney helped Manchester United see off Fulham and go three points clear at the top of the Premier League.

The England striker converted a Jonny Evans cut back just before the break to seal victory as United struggled to put the ball in the net. Ashley Young had several chances but found Fulham goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer in fine form as Fulham were mainly second best throughout. And late on, Fulham felt that they should have been awarded a penalty when Michael Carrick tripped Danny Murphy inside the box. The result means United take advantage of Manchester City's slip up against Stoke City on Saturday and with eight games to go are in pole position to retain their title.

United started the day level on points with their neighbours City, but with an inferior goal difference.

Manager Sir Alex Ferguson challenged his side to use their game in hand to pull away from Manchester City as well as reduce their goal-difference deficit, admitting it could be an "issue" at the end of the season.

 

? DID YOU KNOW ?

Fulham have lost all but one game at Old Trafford in the Premier League-  a 3-1 victory over the Red Devils in October 2003.And the opening ten minutes suggested that United were likely to do both, with Ferguson's side dominating possession and controlling the game, although failed to test Mark Schwarzer. 

But United could only muster one decent chance with Ryan Giggs heading Rafael's cross straight at Schwarzer, who has never kept a clean sheet at this ground. 

After surviving the opening twenty minutes, Fulham came into the game with the visitors playing with more urgency and energy than United, who were unusually sloppy with their passing in front of a subdued atmosphere at Old Trafford.

Moussa Dembele and Mahamadou Diarra seemed to have the better of Carrick and Giggs in central midfield and Fulham attacker Clint Dempsey tested David de Gea from 20 yards with a curling effort, which the young Spanish stopper did well to hold onto. 

But with the game heading for a turgid stalemate at the break, United sprang in to life to take the lead, much to the relief of the Old Trafford faithful.

It came from Rooney, who smashed home from close range following Evans's cut back after Fulham had failed to clear Ashley Young's whipped cross from the left.

Young's whipped delivery was misjudged by Hangeland which incidently put off Risse behind him. 

 

? DID YOU KNOW ?

Fulham are the only Premier League side yet to concede a penalty this season.United almost doubled their lead after the break with the lively Antonio Valencia latching on to Giggs's delightful ball over the top, but Schwarzer was equal to the Ecuadorian's strike.

Schwarzer was again called into action shortly after, tipping Young's right-footed curling effort from the left round the post.

Young saw two successive efforts superbly saved by Schwarzer before Giggs's goal-bound effort was blocked by Brede Hangeland.

But this was largely a flat display from United, who failed to take the opportunity to reduce the goal difference deficit - something that could come back to haunt them at the end of the season.

And in actual fact United were lucky not to concede a penalty in the 87th minute when Carrick clearly tripped substitute Murphy inside the box. But referee Michael Oliver waved away their appeals and United hung on for a nervy victory.

The result means Fulham remain in 13th place but, having been humbled 5-0 by United earlier in the season, Cottagers boss Martin Jol will have been hugely encouraged by his side's display.

United next travel to Blackburn Rovers in the Premier League just two days after Manchester City host Sunderland at the Etihad Stadium.

 

ANALYSIS
Alex Byrom
The Football Site- Deputy Football Editor

"None."

 

 

Monday 26th March 2012

Barclays Premier League

Old Trafford

 

Manchester United 1-0 Fulham                          KO 8pm               (HT 1-0)

Rooney 41 

 

Manchester United:    01. De Gea- 7/10, 21. Rafael- 7.5/10, 05. Ferdinand- 7/10 (Smalling 74- 3.5/10), 06. Evans- 7.5/10, 03. Evra (C)- 6.5/10, 25. Valencia- 8/10, 16. Carrick- 6/10, 11. Giggs- 5.5/10, 18. Young- 8/10, 19. Welbeck4.5/10 (Hernandez 63- 4.5/10), 10. Rooney- 7/10 (Scholes 78- 3/10)

Subs not used:  40. Amos, 04. Jones, 09. Berbatov, 23. Cleverley 

Booked:      Giggs (34)

 

Fulham:  01. Schwarzer- 8/10, 02. Kelly- 6/10, 05. Hangeland (C)- 5.5/10, 18. Hughes- 5.5/10, 03. Risse- 4.5/10, 16. Duff- 6/10, 19. Diarra- 7/10 (Murphy 71- 5.5/10), 30. Dembele- 6/10, 21. Frei- 4/10 (Ruiz 67- 3.5/10) 23. Dempsey- 6.5/10 , 07. Pogrebnyak- 6.5/10.

Subs not used:  12. Stockdale, 14. Senderos, 20. Etuhu, 28. Briggs, 42. Trotta

Booked:      None

 

My Man of the Match:     Ashley Young (Manchester United)- Rating 8/10

My Poorest Performer of the Match:      Kerim Frei (Fulham)- Rating 4/10

 

 

Referee: Michael Oliver (Northumberland)- 6/10
Attendance: 75,570

 

 

Match Facts

Possession: Manchester United- 60%               Fulham- 40%

Shots: Manchester United- 19                 Fulham- 5

Shots on target: Manchester United- 16              Fulham- 4

Shots off target: Manchester United- 3               Fulham- 1

Corners: Manchester United- 7                Fulham- 1

Fouls: Manchester United- 17               Fulham- 6

Offside: Manchester United- 1                 Fulham- 0

Assists: Manchester United- Evans                Fulham- None

 

 

Sir Alex Ferguson - Manchester United Manager

"It was tough. We probably did, yes [dominate the match], but we got a bit nervous at the end. It always tough when you're up against a team that defends, but we had good chances and couldn't take them, and we were nearly made to pay for it.

"We're top of the League and we just need to keep this run going to the end of the season. 

"They probably should have had a penalty, Michael [Carrick] has just caught Danny [Murphy] but we can point to one in the first half, when Patrice's cross was handled, but you rarely get those."

Click here the full interview with Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson

 

 

Martin Jol - Fulham Manager

"It was a definite penalty kick. I don't know what has happened, why the referee has not given it. The linesman can't see it from there, but the referee is there. He must make a brave decision: book Murphy for a dive or give a penalty and Carrick is sent off.  Everyone in the ground was expecting a penalty. A few years ago, the ball was a metre over the line and they did not give it. Maybe the linesman was not quick enough that time. But the referee was there in line. It needed a brave decision because it was either a dive and he should book someone or he has to give Carrick a red card. I don't want to see Carrick sent off but it needed a brave decision and I think it was a penalty kick."

Click here for full interview with Fulham boss Martin Jol

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