Sunday, March 14, 2010

Manchester United crushed Fulham 3-0

Wayne Rooney scored twice as Manchester United crushed Fulham 3-0 at Old Trafford to return to the summit of the Premier League.

All three goals came in the second half as Rooney made his Premier League tally 25 and overall season haul 32 as he chases Cristiano Ronaldo's target of 31 and 42 from 2008-09, while Dimitar Berbatov added a third late on after impressing throughout but failing to find the target.
United move two points clear of Chelsea and Arsenal after the win, while Fulham stay 10th.
The result was a reverse of Fulham's 3-0 victory at Craven Cottage in December but, unlike that game, Roy Hodgson's side were comprehensively outplayed by a United side keen to continue the momentum after their 4-0 thrashing of Milan in the Champions League.
Both sides are renowned for quick, incisive passing and the first half panned out in entertaining fashion, although neither side could break the deadlock.
United, as expected, had more of the ball and created the greater number of chances.
Rooney, who hit his 30th goal of the season against Milan in midweek, mis-kicked his finish on 10 minutes, had a penalty appeal rejected after a challenge from Stephen Kelly 11 minutes later, forced an excellent save from Mark Schwarzer on the half-hour mark, was denied by a Hangeland-Kelly double-block seven minutes later and curled an imaginative effort inches wide just before the break.
His striker partner Berbatov was heavily involved too, and missed one gilt-edged chance when he headed Nani's cross over to cap off a move he started.
Portugal winger showed both sides to his game - impressing with his running and crossing, having a shot deflected over but frustrating when he tried to go it alone with Rooney unmarked in the box.
Fulham had their opportunities too. Bobby Zamora was a touch isolated up front, with Dempsey providing the support and firing just over once and straight at Edwin van der Sar twice.
Zamora should have put Fulham in front on 39 minutes when, after beating Rio Ferdinand to a long ball from Danny Murphy, he opted to finish first-time with his preferred left foot when his right was better placed: the shot skewed well over, with Van der Sar grateful as he was stranded.

Fulham made one change at the break, bringing on the surprisingly benched Damien Duff for Simon Davies, but they were a goal down almost immediately.
After United went forward from kick-off, Rooney turned on the edge of the box to slip the ball wide left to Nani. For some reason Fulham opted not to track Rooney, standing and watching as he waltzed into the middle and diverted the low cross past the helpless Schwarzer.
An old-fashioned goalmouth scramble saw the visitors lucky to survive repeat shots from Rooney and Nani, while Ferdinand hooked an improvised volley just wide after Antonio Valencia's corner.
Berbatov nearly doubled the lead with an audacious bicycle kick from the edge of the box but the effort went wide as United bossed the game with Fulham barely leaving their half.
On one rare foray forward, the Whites should have levelled when, after Zamora was played clean through by a fortuitous deflection, Nemanja Vidic raced back to block a finish that the Cottagers' top scorer should have released earlier.
Park Ji-sung, on for Valencia, laid on a simple headed finish for Berbatov with a delightful scooped cross from the outside of his right boot but the Bulgarian again mis-directed his finish just wide of the far post.
Patrice Evra got forward to fire wide after combining with Park, while Schwarzer had to be at his acrobatic best to tip Darren Fletcher's rising finish over.
They finally got a second when, with six minutes remaining, Berbatov killed Michael Carrick's long pass with a superb first touch before gliding between Nicky Shorey and Chris Baird to hand an easy finish to Rooney.
Fulham were a broken team now, and Berbatov scored a deserved third when he stooped to nod Park's cross into the bottom right.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Manchester United stuns Milan by four

A brace from Wayne Rooney sealed a 4-0 victory and an emphatic 7-2 aggregate scoreline as Manchester United romped past Milan at Old Trafford to clinch their place in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Rooney gave United the lead in just the 13th minute with a sublime glancing header, and the England forward netted his 30th goal of the season with a deft finish seconds after half-time to stun the visitors.
David Beckham was confined to the Milan bench from the outset, but the former United midfielder had to wait until his side were 3-0 down before he was introduced after Park Ji-Sung slammed a fierce shot beyond Christian Abbiati just before the hour-mark.
Darren Fletcher capped an imperious display from the English champions with a fourth goal in the 88th minute, and Milan and Beckham were left utterly shell-shocked at the final whistle.
Rooney almost gave the hosts the lead in the fourth minute as he swivelled on the edge of the Milan box to latch on to Antonio Valencia's cut back and fired a low shot which he dragged narrowly wide of Christian Abbiati's near post.
Milan were hardly subdued at the other end, as Andrea Pirlo whipped over a devilish delivery in the eighth minute which Nani inadvertently flicked over to Ronaldinho, but the Brazilian's header drifted narrowly wide.
Two minutes later, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who flanked Marco Borriello along with Ronaldinho, stole in at the back post beyond Patrice Evra to receive Thiago Silva's raking diagonal pass from the back, but his first touch was sloppy as the ball evaded him.
Neville was preferred to Rafael at right-back for United, and Sir Alex Ferguson's decision was vindicated as the skipper picked out Rooney with a pinpoint cross from the right as United stamped their authority on the match in the 13th minute.
Rooney's exquisitely-timed run caught Daniele Bonera napping as the forward climbed above his marker to glance a deft finish beyond a helpless Abbiati and score his third headed goal in the tie.

Milan looked devoid of ideas in attack as they sought to redress the balance of the tie and, as Ronaldinho and Huntelaar were dragged outwide to gain possession, Borriello was left increasingly isolated and stifled for space.
Veteran midfielder Clarence Seedorf was introduced at half-time as the Rossoneri looked to inject some impetus into their midfield, but it was United who began the half in sparkling fashion.
Nani surged down the left wing at blistering pace before the Portugese's precise cut back was dabbed past the onrushing Abbiati by Rooney with the utmost swagger and composure.
Milan were left horribly exposed as their three-pronged attack offered about as much defensively as they did in forward areas, and United capitalised in the 59th minute to kill the tie.
Paul Scholes found Park in behind Marek Jankulovski, and the midfielder's low shot fizzed into the bottom corner to make it three in the 59th minute as the hosts were rampant.
Then ensued a procession of substitutions as both managers recognised that the tie had been effectively decided, and the first to make his entrance was Beckham, to a standing ovation from the Old Trafford crowd.
Rooney was withdrawn to a rapturous reception as the forward was denied a potential second hat-trick, and Paul Scholes and Neville departed swiftly afterwards.
The evening was capped off by Fletcher in the 88th minute as the midfielder capitalised on more shoddy defending by the visitors to turn home Rafael's deep cross and make it four.
United swagger through to the quarter-finals after humbling Milan over the two legs, as Rooney yet again established himself as one of the world's most potent attacking forces.