Skip to main content

Rooney goal puts Manchester United top of English Premier League

March 26, 2012 -- Updated 2157 GMT (0557 HKT)
Wayne Rooney celebrates his goal just before halftime in the English Premier League game against Fulham.
Wayne Rooney celebrates his goal just before halftime in the English Premier League game against Fulham.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Manchester United beat Fulham 1-0 at Old Trafford
  • Victory takes United top of the English Premier League
  • First half goal by Wayne Rooney enough to seal three points
  • Sevilla beat Granada 3-0 in Spain's La Liga

(CNN) -- Wayne Rooney's first half goal gave Manchester United a 1-0 win over Fulham Monday to go back to the top of the English Premier League.

The champions went into the evening clash at Old Trafford knowing a win would take them three points clear of local rivals Manchester City, who have led the standings for much of the season.

But it proved a hard won victory against obdurate opponents, who offered a threat throughout..

Fulham had strong penalty claims turned away late in the game as substitute Danny Murphy went tumbling in the box under challenge from Michael Carrick.

Referee Michael Oliver waved the appeals away and United were left to celebrate a vital win, their sixth in a row.

They had started the game with flourish but Fulham stifled their early threat and looked set to go in at halftime level.

But a defensive mistake undid Martin Jol's team as Ashley Young's cross initially eluded Rooney before John Arne Riise dithered and Jonny Evans sent back in the cross for the England striker to score his 11th in nine games.

The excellent Antonio Valencia forced a fine save from Mark Schwartzer in the Fulham goal and the Australian also denied Ashley Young after the break with Brede Hangeland blocking a follow up from Ryan Giggs.

With Rooney replaced by Paul Scholes, United looked to settle for just the single goal but were nearly undone as Carrick appeared to clip Murphy, with even his manager Alex Ferguson admitting his side had been lucky to avoid conceding a penalty.

"I think they had a claim, no doubt," he told Sky Sports. "We had a claim for a penalty in the first half when there was a clear hand ball.

"Maybe the ref was thinking about that."

Manchester City's 1-1 draw at Stoke had seen them head champions United on goal difference but with eight games left in the season they now trail.

In Spain's La Liga, Sevilla moved up to ninth with a 3-0 win at struggling Granada, but are still eight points adrift of a Champions League spot.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
August 15, 2014 -- Updated 1151 GMT (1951 HKT)
Last season Jose Mourinho wrote off the title of hopes of his "little horse" -- but now he has a squad primed to dethrone Manchester City.
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 1858 GMT (0258 HKT)
Luis Suarez will have to wait until late October to make his competitive Barcelona debut his ban for biting an opponent was partially upheld.
August 14, 2014 -- Updated 1649 GMT (0049 HKT)
Can Louis van Gaal cut it at Manchester United? Will Bayern conquer all in Germany? Is this PSG's year to win the Champions League?
August 7, 2014 -- Updated 1012 GMT (1812 HKT)
It's been a difficult year for Barcelona on and off the pitch, and the signing of Luis Suarez has only increased the prospect of more controversy.
August 11, 2014 -- Updated 1435 GMT (2235 HKT)
Germany striker Miroslav Klose, who scored a total of 16 goals at four World Cup finals, has announced his retirement from international football.
July 31, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
Cultural y Deportivo Leonesa line up in their tuxedo kit.
When celebrating an important anniversary, it's always good to look your best. At least that's theory for a Spanish football team's preseason tuxedo kit.
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 1103 GMT (1903 HKT)
While many top European clubs are targeting the U.S. market, French football is setting its sights on expanding into Asia -- with China playing a key role.
July 27, 2014 -- Updated 1229 GMT (2029 HKT)
Major League Soccer has snared another big name from England with former Chelsea star Frank Lampard committing his future to New York City FC.
July 23, 2014 -- Updated 1656 GMT (0056 HKT)
Europe's top clubs have booked a summer holiday to the U.S. -- but this is business not pleasure as they look to cash in on the World Cup afterglow.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1828 GMT (0228 HKT)
Brazil's new coach Dunga won the World Cup as a player in 1994.
Former World Cup-winning captain Dunga is appointed coach of Brazil's national team for the second time, charged with restoring national pride.
July 22, 2014 -- Updated 1420 GMT (2220 HKT)
Colombia's World Cup star James Rodriguez continues Real Madrid's long tradition of signing "Galacticos."
July 21, 2014 -- Updated 1007 GMT (1807 HKT)
Germany's World Cup-winning captain Philipp Lahm has decided to go out at the top by announcing his retirement from international football.
ADVERTISEMENT