- English Barclays Premier League
- 2 February 2013, 5:30pm
- Craven Cottage
- Attendance: 25,670
FULL-TIME: MAN UNITED WIN!So the Red Devils have gone TEN points at the top of the Premier League table. I know Man City are playing tomorrow but whichever way you look at it, Mancini's men have a very daunting task on their hands. Man United deserve their win today against a Fulham side who stay loitering around in 13th place. Thanks for joining our coverage. Stick around for the match report.
90+4 mins: Somehow we're still going! Fulham have one last chance with a free-kick in a central position 20 yards out but Rodallega fires it into the wall. Disappointing from him.
90+2 mins: The answer was nearly no and yes in a matter of seconds! Senderos sees his header cleared off the line (again!) by van Persie. Then, Hernandez reacts first to a mistake Riether who fights back to stop the Mexican from scoring near his own goal-line!
90 mins:Just three minutes are added on but Fulham are finishing the stronger side. Can Man United hold on?
88 mins: Fulham eventually get their foot on the ball again and Rodallega flicks it into a very dangerous area. Rafael is alert though to sweep up for the Red Devils.
86 mins: Man United are keeping the ball really well in the dying stages. Fulham are chasing shadows at the moment.
83 mins: Nani has been poor again today and is Man United's last change. Welbeck trots on in his place.
81 mins: Fulham thrown on Petric to partner Rodallega up front. Dejagah is the man to make way. Is there time for a twist?
79 MINS: MAN UNITED AHEAD! A touch of class just at the right time from ROONEY! It's nothing more than a long ball over the top but Rooney pounces on it straight away and dribbles into the area. He bides his time, before cleverly using Hughes to shield the ball away from keeper. He then rounds the move off by placing the ball neatly into the bottom right corner. A silky finish!
75 mins: Giggs comes on for Cleverley but he can only watch as Fulham continue in their search for the opening goal. It nearly happens too as Ruiz's header from six yards is cleared off the line by Rafael!
72 mins: Ruiz drifts a cross up towards the right post where Dejagah arrives very late to head the ball in front of an perplexed Evra. The Iranian can't guide his header on target though.
70 mins: Riether stings De Gea's gloves from 20 yards out. The Spaniard can't hold onto the ball and it falls for Ruiz but he can't covert from eight yards out!
67 mins: Karagounis puts in a good shift for Fulham and is coming off now for debutant Emanuelson.
65 mins:In more Baird news, he's now in the book for a late tackle on Valencia. That's the last we'll see of the Man United winger as Hernandez is coming on to replace him.
64 mins:Baird is then in the thick of it near his own end as he stops Nani from a probable tap-in from close range.
61 mins: Riether plays a delicious cross in from the right but there's only Rodallega in the mixer challenging for it. Then, a piledriver from Baird is grabbed cleanly by De Gea.
57 mins: Rafael decides to venture forward for Man United, but a curling shot with his weaker left foot was never going to trouble the Fulham goalie.
55 mins: There are signs of life from Fulham as Karagounis bursts forward down the middle. He looks towards goal and his eyes light up, before cracking a right-footed shot way wide of the target.
52 mins:There's not an awful lot I'm afraid. It's just more of the same with Man United stroking the ball around without really threatening the Fulham goal.
48 mins: The first chance of the half falls to Man United and to van Persie. Nani, on the left, receives the ball from the opposite flank and pops it up just past the near post where RvP gets in front of his man but nods it straight at Schwarzer.
45 mins: Welcome back for the second half. You'll be pleased to know the lights have stayed on. As Man United prepare to kick-off, there's news of a Fulham sub as Hangeland comes off for Hughes.
HALF-TIME: Well that was an entertaining first-half! The woodwork has been hit four times, the goalkeepers have been in great form and the floodlights went out. Man United have been much the stronger team so far but unlike the FA Cup clash last weekend, they have nothing to show for it yet. Can they find the breakthrough in the second half? Join me again in 15 minutes to find out.
45 mins: There's one minute of added on time at Craven Cottage. Ade texts to stay "thanks for the lifeline out shopping for duration of match :-(" We've all been there Ade. Stay strong.
43 mins: Van Persie's has had a quiet game so far but nearly roars into life with a fierce drive which Schwarzer saves down by his left post
1820: They're back on! Hurrah! Mohamed Al-Fayed has put 50p in the meter so we can play the remaining two and bit minutes of the first-half. We'll restart with that Man U corner...
42 mins: THE FLOODLIGHTS HAVE GONE OFF!Man United were just about to take a corner but Craven Cottage has plunged into darkness! Hmm something fishy is going on here I reckon. The players make their way off the pitch, leaving everyone else to twiddle their thumbs.
41 mins: Fulham attempt to work their way down the left side but Dejagah gives the ball away just inside the final third.
38 mins: Fulham try and get themselves back into this match after a sustained spell of pressure from the visitors. Duff whips in not one, not two, but three crosses from the right but none of them find a fellow white shirt.
35 mins: Nani weaves his way to the byline before lifting a horrible cross onto the roof of the net. I wonder how many times that has been said before?!
32 mins: If it wasn't for that pesky woodwork, we would have had four goals to talk about already! This time it's Rooney who strikes the post with a lovely curling effort.
30 mins: As Evra receives treatment for a bash to the head, the camera zooms on Rafael's boots which are engraved "Fabio". It begs the question, did Fergie send the wrong twin to QPR?
28 mins: Ruiz does well to race back and deny Rooney a clear sight of goal just inside the Fulham area. The pressure then lifts once again as Man United concede a soft free-kick.
25 mins: The game is much more settled now but it's Man United who still look the more threatening. Rooney and Nani link-up well down the left side but the move ultimately comes to nothing.
22 mins: Man United are beginning to assert their authority over Fulham now and are seeing plenty more of the ball. Cleverley and Carrick are pulling the strings well in midfield.
18 mins: This game is miles better the FA Cup tie last weekend already! Another chance falls to Man United as Carrick finds RvP with a pin-point pass. The Dutchman then lays it off for Rooney to slam wide of the left post from 18 yards.
15 mins:The woodwork is rattled at either end! Ruiz's sweetly-struck volley comes off the foot of the right post after De Gea gets the faintest of touches. Then, Hangeland appears worryingly determined to score an own goal as another misguided header nearly nestles in the net.
12 mins: Riise rolls back the years with a left-foot firecracker which De Gea tips over from underneath his crossbar. The resulting corner is easily cleared by the league leaders.
10 mins: Schwarzer is at his best again moments later as he stretches to fingertip Evra's poked shot wide. The Aussie is then relieved to see Rooney's strike from the edge of the area hit his own player.
8 mins: Wow! The Man United response is a strong one! Firstly Schwarzer shows great reflexes to stop Hangeland heading into his own net from a Red Devils corner. Evra then smashes the rebound against the bar and Rooney's hooked effort is cleared off the line!
6 mins: That's another good opportunity for Fulham as Ruiz zips in ahead of Evans. The forward then freezes in front of goal though and allows Evans back in to steal it.
3 mins: A quiet start at Craven Cottage with both sides wrestling for possession. That's until Rodallega breaks free and cuts it back for Dejagah, who sees his powerful effort from inside the area blocked.
Keith, Crewe -"Robin Van Persie will score 2 and Cleverly 1"
0 mins: And we're off! Fulham, without a Berba in sight, get us underway in their white and black strips. Man United, looking to go a whopping ten points clear at the top, are in their usual red.
1700: Hello and welcome to our live coverage of Fulham's home clash against table toppers Man United.
Fulham, who were battered by Man United last weekend in the FA Cup, will be relieved that they are facing the Red Devils this week on their precious home soil. Martin Jol makes two changes from the midweek win over West Ham with Baird amd Dejagah. More importantly, Berbatov is the not in the squad.
Man United also come into this game with another Premier League win under their belt, edging past hard-working Southampton at Old Trafford. Sir Alex decides to make five alterations from that victory as Rafael, Ferdinand, Cleverley, Nani and Valencia all returning.
Will Man United be going ten points this evening? Let commentator Mark Scott know your thoughts via the text box above.
- English Barclays Premier League
- 2 February 2013, 5:30pm
- Craven Cottage
- Attendance: 25,670
Manchester United's trip to Fulham saw the woodwork struck four times, the lights go out and Wayne Rooney grab the only goal of the game to send the Red Devils 10 points clear at the top of the Premier League table.
Bryan Ruiz hit the post for the hosts, while Rooney, Patrice Evra and a wayward header from Brede Hangeland cannoned back off the frame of the goal at the opposite end of the field.
An eventful encounter then saw the floodlights fail at Craven Cottage, forcing the players from the field shortly before half-time.
It looked as though that would be the major talking point in the game, but Rooney stepped up for United on 79 minutes - stroking the ball into the bottom corner after leading a counter-attack.
Released from the Old Trafford cabbage patch, United stated their intent by selecting two orthodox wide-men and attacking from the first whistle.
With Fulham, even minus former Red Devils striker Dimitar Berbatov, far more of a threat than they were when the sides met in the FA Cup seven days ago, it made for a rip-roaring opening in which both keepers excelled and the woodwork at either end was rattled.
Robin van Persie's corner started it, bouncing off Hangeland and towards his own goal, forcing Mark Schwarzer into the first of a series of excellent saves. Evra reacted quickest but could only scoop the ball against the bar before Sascha Riether cleared Wayne Rooney's shot off the line.
De Gea then got fingertips to a Ruiz shot that thudded against a post before play switched down to the other end where Hangeland, after denying Nani with a superb last-ditch tackle, turned Van Persie's corner on to the bar.
Only then did a breathless contest slow in intensity, although a brilliant move involving Nani and Tom Cleverley created another opportunity for Rooney, which he stroked against a post.
Nani was certainly making an impression on only his fourth match back after two months out with a hamstring injury, only for his momentum to be halted as the stadium was plunged into darkness.
The players did return to complete the opening period, although Van Persie's shot, gathered at the second attempt by Schwarzer, was the only incident of note.
The floodlight incident seemed to take the zip out of the entire contest, with neither side coming close to matching the thrills they had produced before the impromptu break in proceedings.
For a while it appeared Fulham might claim a major scalp.
Rafael cleared off the line from Ruiz after Jonny Evans had been forced to head away from underneath his own bar.
Rooney had other ideas, though, and when Fulham failed to get a touch to De Gea's long kick downfield, the England man picked his spot and, in front of national coach Roy Hodgson, calmly found the bottom corner.
Fulham piled forward in search of a dramatic leveller, but they were unable to break United's stubborn resistance - with Van Persie clearing a Philippe Senderos header off the line in stoppage-time.