A scintillating first-half attacking display was enough to seal a deserved 3-1 victory for Manchester United over Fulham at Craven Cottage.
Martin Jol’s men simply couldn’t cope with the Reds in full flight and the visitors romped into a 3-0 lead after 22 minutes thanks to goals from Antonio Valencia, Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney.
The scoring began in the ninth minute thanks to some excellent build-up play between van Persie and Rooney. The former found the latter with an excellent turn and threaded pass that put Rooney clear. The striker could have shot himself, but opted to wait and set up Valencia to side-foot home.
After former United striker Dimitar Berbatov had nearly got in behind the Reds’ defence, almost immediately David Moyes’ men went up the other end to double the advantage on 20 minutes. Adnan Januzaj dispossessed Scott Parker in midfield before putting van Persie clear to smash into the roof of the net. Two minutes later van Persie turned provider. An excellent Tom Cleverley pass sent the striker free down the right and he advanced into the area before sending an inch-perfect cross to Rooney who couldn’t miss.
After injuries had forced Moyes into making a triple substitution at the break – Marouane Fellaini, Shinji Kagawa and Chris Smalling replaced Cleverley, Rafael and Jonny Evans – Fulham gave themselves a lifeline on 65 minutes when substitute Alexander Kacaniklic’s speculative effort was deflected past David De Gea by Rooney’s outstretched boot. Another Fulham sub Darren Bent headed on to the top of the bar late on, but the Reds deservedly came away with the three points.
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