Saturday, January 23, 2010

Rooney hits four Goals

Wayne Rooney hit four goals as Manchester United went top of the Premier League with a 4-0 win over Hull City at Old Trafford.

Rooney made his league tally 19 for the season - a career-best total only mid-way through the campaign - with an early opener and three late strikes to put down a brave effort from the Tigers, who stay in the drop zone after the loss.
It was not all sweetness and light for United though as captain Rio Ferdinand, returning to the team after a worrying back injury, could be in trouble with the FA after his elbow on Craig Fagan was missed by the match officials.
United were utterly dominant in the first half but only had Rooney's eighth-minute poacher's goal to show for two-thirds of the possession and almost 20 chances.
Michael Owen was particularly profligate, notching his first miss in the second minute when his finish came off Anthony Gardner and spun wide for a corner after good work by Rooney.
Rooney soon notched his 16th Premier League goal of the season though, poking the ball home from close range after Boaz Myhill could only parry a Paul Scholes distance special.
Myhill arguably could have done better with Scholes's initial effort, but he kept them in the contest afterwards.
Ji-sung Park headed wide five minutes later, off-balance as he met Darren Fletcher's cross, and Ferdinand poked Nani's corner just wide of the near post on his return from a worrying back injury.
The now usual haphazard United defending reared its ugly head soon after though, with consecutive suicidal defensive headers from Scholes and Jonny Evans forcing Edwin van der Sar to save bravely at Nick Barmby's feet, and the Dutch keeper flapping at the resultant corner and only saved by a Ferdinand clearance from Gardner at the far post.
After that though it was business as usual for the Red Devils.
Rooney had a half-volley deflected just over by a last-gasp Paul McShane block, while Nani saw a penalty appeal waved away after a reckless challenge by Geovanni, although the Brazilian seemed to pull out just in time.
United were all over the Tigers, as Owen was denied when Myhill stopped his spectacular volley and Kamil Zayatte blocked him on the rebound, while Rooney sent a superb free-kick inches wide with Myhill rooted to his goal-line.

Rooney then spooned the ball well wide from 12 yards after another swarming attack initiated by the evergreen Scholes, while late in the half Owen fired weakly at Myhill from eight yards out after some great build-up saw him play one-twos with Rooney and Nani.
Somehow it stayed 1-0 into the break, with Hull fortunate not to be long gone as they went down the tunnel.
The second half started slowly as, while United had almost all the possession, they failed to create any clear-cut chances until Myhill spilled Nani's low cross on 57 minutes.
Lone striker Fagan, while not getting any quarter in front of goal, defended from the front for Hull and chased everything and anything put in the United half, while Gardner and McShane in particular impressed at the back.
They gained in confidence, testing Van der Sar with some crosses and winning a corner on the right that bounced dangerously in front of goal before hitting Zayatte and going wide.
United woke up, and Rooney went close with a low drive before Park mis-hit another good low cross from Nani straight at Zayatte.
Owen was responsible for another miss, heading inches wide after getting behind Gardner to meet a perfectly-weighted free-kick won and delivered by Nani.
Hull came agonisingly close to an equaliser when substitute Kamel Ghilas did brilliantly to control McShane's cross before turning and firing a low drive across Van der Sar but just wide of the far post.
Another sub, Darron Gibson, nearly made it 2-0 for the hosts but his lob landed just the wrong side of the crossbar, while there was a moment of controversy in the build-up to that chance, with Ferdinand potentially in hot water after seeming to aim an elbow at Fagan in an off-the-ball-incident missed by referee Steve Bennett.
United got their second soon afterwards though.
On 82 minutes Nani - who would have been man of the match but for Rooney - smashed a free-kick off the bar: with Andy Dawson hurt after colliding with Myhill while clearing the rebound, Hull decided not to put the ball out of play and Nani fed Gibson, who slid Rooney through to smash the ball into the roof of the net.
Hull's resolve was broken and Rooney added a third four minutes later, arriving unmarked to head into the bottom left after yet another great delivery from Nani.
The England striker added a gloss to the victory with a fourth - the first time he has scored that many in one match - when he drilled into the bottom left after sub Dimitar Berbatov's pull down put him in, although Hull's defence backed off him to allow the shot.
United go two points clear of Arsenal and Chelsea, who have one and two games in hand respectively: Hull stay 18th, with a goal difference of -26, the worst in the division.

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