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
The U.S. government recognizes Kosovo, as do most European states, but getting football's ruling bodies to play ball has proved harder.
June 4, 2014 -- Updated 1504 GMT (2304 HKT)
National heroes don't always belong to one country. Ask France's World Cup hero Patrick Vieira, who is rediscovering his roots.
CNN's John Sinnott on the quiet Cambridge graduate behind Liverpool's resurgent campaign.
May 30, 2014 -- Updated 1519 GMT (2319 HKT)
They are the dispossessed -- stateless, and unrecognized by football's ruling body. But these teams will still play at their own World Cup.
Louis van Gaal will be a perfect fit for Manchester United the club, business and brand, says CNN's Patrick Snell.
May 19, 2014 -- Updated 1924 GMT (0324 HKT)
There's a new force in Spanish football -- and Atletico Madrid's ascendance is sharply contrasted by the fall from power of Barcelona.
May 13, 2014 -- Updated 1206 GMT (2006 HKT)
Rubber bullets, drones and FBI-trained riot police. Welcome to Brazil's 2014 World Cup -- will protests overshadow football's showpiece event?
May 9, 2014 -- Updated 1318 GMT (2118 HKT)
The former England international, who famously kicked a banana off the pitch 27 years ago, says education is the key to tackling racism.
May 7, 2014 -- Updated 1200 GMT (2000 HKT)
Of course not. But former Fulham owner Mohamed Al Fayed seems to think the removal of Michael Jackson's statue was a very "bad" idea.
May 7, 2014 -- Updated 1603 GMT (0003 HKT)
BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 01: Neymar of Barcelona celebrates his goal during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final first leg match between FC Barcelona and Club Atletico de Madrid at Camp Nou on April 1, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
The Brazilian star's first season in Spain may have spluttered along, but the 22-year-old says he'll be firing on all cylinders at the World Cup.
April 30, 2014 -- Updated 1715 GMT (0115 HKT)
Former Soviet footballer Sergei Baltacha traveled from the land of the hammer and sickle to join The Tractor Boys and in doing so broke new ground.
April 29, 2014 -- Updated 0931 GMT (1731 HKT)
Brazil's Dani Alves arrived at Barcelona from Sevilla in 2008 and he has gone on to make over 180 appearances for the club.
Villarreal football supporter who threw a banana at Barcelona's Dani Alves during league match handed a life ban by the La Liga club.
ADVERTISEMENT