1 users online


Fulham 0-1 Man Utd Prem25 1213 The Sun

last updated Sunday 03rd February 2013, 12:05 AM

The Sun Logo
Shaun Custis at SunSport

Fulham (0) 0 Man Utd (0) 1

THE perfect 10 for Wayne Rooney.

United's No 10 made it 10 goals in 10 games as United went 10 points clear at the top of the table.

Rooney produced the late spark on a night when the floodlights went out at Craven Cottage

United looked to be heading down a dark alley before the England man was sent out to the left-wing to accommodate sub Javier Hernandez. And Roo made the most of life on the flank as he capitalised on some hesitant Fulham defending with an exquisite finish 11 minutes from the end.

United's win turned the screw on second-placed Manchester City and it is vital the reigning champions beat Liverpool today to stay in touch with the leaders.

Fulham more than played their part in an electric game which fizzed from start to finish and the fans recognised their efforts by applauding them off.

They could feel hard done by that they did not get a point out of it but United's trademark this season has been the ability to nick results.

They may not be playing all singing and dancing football but they have been ruthlessly effective at winning when they perhaps should not have done.

Much of that success has been down to sharp-shooting Robin van Persie. This time though the £22million summer signing from Arsenal came to the rescue with a goal-line clearance in added time from a header by Philippe Senderos.

It was an illustration of how hard United are working to get their title back.

Rafael also headed off the line from Bryan Ruiz in the final quarter while Jonny Evans turned one over his own bar and Rio Ferdinand was at his imperious best to deal with the Fulham threat.

Fair play too to David de Gea, who has had a lot of stick recently for some poor performances. The Spanish keeper made a series of excellent saves, although he was never tested in the air where he is at his most vulnerable.

Fulham played with great freedom buoyed by their midweek victory over West Ham and they were determined not to be intimidated by United.

Fergie's side had thumped them 4-1 in the FA Cup a week earlier and won 5-0 the last time the two sides contested a Premier League game on their turf.

But this was very different and the first half was breathtaking. Goodness knows how Fulham survived early on when United had four chances to score and a penalty shout in the space of 15 seconds.

Brede Hangeland turned a corner towards his own goal which Mark Schwarzer saved and full-back Evra hit the rebound against the Fulham bar.

With the ball still bouncing around, Rooney tried an overhead kick which Sascha Riether blocked on the line.

Van Persie then collected and appeared to be tripped in the area by Riether before the ball ran to Evra again whose shot was well saved by Schwarzer.

Having escaped, Fulham broke and De Gea was at full stretch to tip over John Arne Riise's volley and also got the slightest of touches to a Ruiz shot which struck a post.

There was more. Hangeland hit his own bar with a header from 12 yards out having seconds earlier made a a great tackle to deny Nani.

Iranian Ashkan Dejagah was just wide from the edge of the box for Fulham before Rooney shot just past the far post.

Unbelievably Rooney then struck an upright with a right-footed curler after Nani had opened Fulham up and Tom Cleverley laid it back.

That made the woodwork score United 3 Fulham 1 and it was not even half-time. But suddenly the stadium was plunged into darkness as all the floodlights went out.

The players stood around slightly bemused wondering like the rest of us how come the scoreboard and the adverts round the perimeter were still lit.

Referee Kevin Friend decided to take the teams off down the tunnel and we all waited.

The lights came back to life after a 10-minute delay and three minutes were played before everyone disappeared again for half-time.

It had been a relatively quiet night for Van Persie and his flick header from Nani's cross was directed straight at Schwarzer as the second half got going.

Every time United were on the ball you felt they were going to create something but the goal eluded them.

Fulham were coming into their own, too, and Chris Baird's 25-yard shot was well held by De Gea.

Baird then got all the way back into his own box to make a superb block on Nani after great work by Van Persie had set the winger up.

It was Chicharito time and the little Mexican replaced Antonio Valencia to try and find that elusive goal for United as Rooney moved out to the wing where he enjoyed more space.

Fulham though were really putting United under pressure and Riether was denied by De Gea before United scrambled it away.

Evans cleared over his own bar and Rafael headed off the line from Ruiz.

But United, as they have done so often this season found the breakthrough to take the points.

Rooney got away as a long ball drifted over Senderos and, with Aaron Hughes standing off, a cool right-footed finish from the England striker found the bottom corner of Schwarzer's net.

Van Persie header off the line from Senderos, just moments later, ensured all three points stayed in the bag.

Fulham: Schwarzer, Riether, Hangeland (Hughes 46), Senderos, Riise, Duff, Karagounis (Emanuelson 68), Baird, Dejagah (Petric 82), Ruiz, Rodallega.
Subs Not Used: Etheridge, Frimpong, Davies, Kacaniklic.

Booked: Baird.

Man Utd: De Gea, Da Silva, Ferdinand, Evans, Evra, Valencia (Hernandez 66), Cleverley (Giggs 75), Carrick, Nani (Welbeck 84), Rooney, van Persie.
Subs Not Used: Amos, Anderson, Smalling, Kagawa.

Booked: Rooney.

Goals: Rooney 79.

Att: 25,670

Ref: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire).

Source .
Since 1998
"It's been updated!"