Rooney gives Man United 2-1 win over Southampton
Manchester United survived a second-half Southampton onslaught
to win 2-1 and go seven points clear in the English Premier League
title race on Wednesday.
United fell behind after three minutes when goalkeeper David de
Gea was partly culpable for Jay Rodriguez scoring.
Even after Wayne Rooney responded with two goals in the first
half for United, De Gea’s goalkeeping remained a concern, looking
Southampton spent almost the entire second half in United
territory and was denied a point only by some desperate defending,
with Adam Lallana coming close to equalizing after De Gea spilled
Rickie Lambert’s free kick straight to him.
But while United is seven points ahead of Manchester City at the
top, Southampton is just three points clear of the relegation
A much-needed win, though, looked possible in the opening
After an underhit and misdirected back pass from Michael
Carrick, De Gea failed completely to block, and Rodriguez stroked
the ball into an empty net.
Southampton’s problem was that despite the delirium, the team
still had another 87 minutes to get through against a side so used
to coming from behind it is almost routine.
Southampton never looked likely to manage it.
One excellent throughball from Shinji Kagawa was all it took to
slice through the visitors’ defense, allowing Rooney to charge
forward and equalize in the 8th minute.
Kagawa hit a post on United’s next attack and it took some
excellent goalkeeping from Artur Boruc to keep the hosts at bay as
returning Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck both threatened
Rooney’s 101st goal at Old Trafford came in the 27th.
When defender Patrice Evra climbed highest at the far post to
meet Van Persie’s free kick, Evra left Rooney with the easiest of
But with United struggling to find its rhythm at the start of
the second period, Mauricio Pochettino’s team pushed forward in
search of a leveler, with substitute Lallana having a significant
influence as Rickie Lambert twice went close.
Amid the dicey defending that eventually heralded the
introduction of United veteran Rio Ferdinand, the most telling
moment came when De Gea spilled Lambert’s long-range free kick.
A gasp went round Old Trafford before De Gea pounced to deny
Lallana a tap-in, and sarcastic cheers when the goalkeeper next
caught the ball.
Briefly, United relieved the pressure, with Van Persie’s
goalbound header brilliantly saved by Boruc before the Dutchman had
an effort ruled out for offside.
But Southampton was soon back on the offensive, and United fans
were able to cheer something positive from De Gea – an excellent
flying save to turn away Lambert’s free kick.
Nemanja Vidic flung himself in the way of another Lambert shot
before Rooney, who finished playing on the left as defensive cover
for Evra, ensured Southampton’s final assault went nowhere.