Rooney, RvP goals give United win
A lackluster Manchester United required a fortuitous penalty converted by Robin van Persie and a late free kick by Wayne Rooney to overcome 10-man Crystal Palace 2-0 in the Premier League on Saturday.
United manager David Moyes earned his first victory at Old Trafford but only after Palace had Kagisho Dikgacoi sent off for a 43rd-minute foul on Ashley Young that proved to be the turning point in the match.
Van Persie slotted home the resulting penalty, even though the foul was committed outside the box, and Rooney - wearing a thick, black headband to cover a deep gash to his forehead - completed an uninspiring win in the 81st minute.
After a draw with Chelsea and defeat at Liverpool, the result at least got United back to winning ways after making its worst start to the season in five years. The introduction of Marouane Fellaini - a deadline-day signing from Everton - for his debut as a second-half substitute was also a welcome sight for the home fans, but there was little else to cheer.
Palace barely had a chance but United was far from fluent in front of former manager Alex Ferguson, who watched on from the directors' box to pile even more pressure on Moyes. And the groans were audible from United fans before the debatable refereeing decision by Jon Moss, which ruined the promoted visitors' hopes of taking anything back to London.
Young, who had already been booked for diving, fell easily under the challenge of Dikgacoi after seizing on a sloppy pass across the face of Palace's penalty area by Mile Jedinak. Not only was the challenge outside the area, there looked to be minimal contact on Young, who ran across the path of Dikgacoi.
With Palace's players still aggrieved, Van Persie sent the goalkeeper the wrong way for his third goal of the season and the tension lifted around the stadium.
Fellaini, signed for 27.5 million pounds ($43 million), was brought on for the ineffective Anderson to pep up the hosts but Palace coped pretty comfortably until Rooney curled a free kick into the bottom corner past the despairing dive of Julian goalkeeper Speroni.
Rooney, who missed England's two recent World Cup qualifiers with his head injury, waved to the crowd after grabbing his first goal of the season to indicate all is well after a summer of upheaval when he was linked heavily with a move to Chelsea.