David Moyes celebrated his first home win as Manchester United manager as ten-man Crystal Palace were dispatched with a 2-0 win at Old Trafford.
United were poor in the first half, but led at the interval through Robin van Persie’s 45th minute penalty as Kagisho Dikgacoi was sent off for the foul on Ashley Young.
The home side grew in confidence in the second half and sealed the win through Wayne Rooney’s superb free-kick with nine minutes to go.
The first half an hour was grim watching for both sets of fans, with the only chances falling to United and coming from distance. Michael Carrick pulled off a good save from Julian Speroni with a drilled shot while later, Rooney’s shot was comfortably saved as the Red Devils failed to click as an attacking force.
It was towards the end of the half when things turned into United’s favour and van Persie played a big part in that. The Dutchman should have scored from Patrice Evra’s low cross, but his flick was well off target from six yards out. Just after, Rooney picked out his strike partner with an amazing lofted pass, but the former Arsenal man rocketed his volley off the crossbar from ten yards when he should have at least the target.
The chances kicked Palace into some sort of action and they had a fantastic chance to take the lead on the counter-attack in the 41st minute. Mile Jedinak’s long raking pass was brilliantly brought down by Dwight Gayle who skipped past Rio Ferdinand with pace, but the striker clipped his shot wide across goal from a tight angle. It was a difficult opportunity, but one of the best Palace had all game.
With a minute to go, the game changed dramatically as United were given a penalty in controversial fashion and Palace were reduced to ten men. Young raced past Dikgacoi who brought the England winger down and after consulting with his assistant, Jon Moss pointed to the spot. It was a controversial decision as replays showed that you couldn’t be sure the challenge was in the area. Crystal Palace will be doubly furious as Dikgacoi was sent off for the foul and van Persie stepped up to rifle United in front.
With the lead in their control, United were much better in the second half. Young should have doubled the advantage in the 48th minute, but fired straight at Speroni from ten yards and the goalkeeper did well to palm the ball away to safety. Young fired just wide a few moments later while Marouane Fellaini, who came off the bench for his United debut, forced a good save with a 30 yard half-volley.
Van Persie was looking for a second and two chances in ten minutes denied him the brace. The first was a left-footed curling shot that flew inches over while afterwards, the striker smashed at goal from a tight angle but Speroni pulled another top save. Despite the missed opportunities and good saves, the home side did put the result without doubt in the 81st minute.
Rooney missed both of England’s game in the international break buts cored a great free-kick from 30 yards. The ball curled over the wall and into the bottom corner and although Speroni got a hand to it, the goalkeeper couldn’t keep it out and the Stretford End was celebrating.
The win marked Moyes’ first win at Old Trafford in his career and moved his side up to second in the table ahead of the 3pm fixtures.
Match Report by Kyle Dixon (@kyledixon95)