United reassert authority with comfortable Pompey win
Man Utd 2-0 Portsmouth
Manchester United maintained their grip on the Championship with a solid if unspectacular win over Portsmouth, with Rooney and Carrick both on the scoresheet.
Wayne Rooney was recalled to the line-up after injury and the England striker opened the scoring after meeting a Ryan Giggs cross and tapping home. It was Anderson’s pass which found Giggs, and the Pompey defence was left wanting as they unsuccessfully tried to play the offside trap, allowing the Welshman to easily pick out Rooney.
Giggs had a couple of good chances as United were wasteful in the first half. First he was well blocked by the diving James while he bundled a header wide when he should have done better. John O’Shea who later picked up an injury after coming on for captain Neville, who also is out for two weeks had a header cleared off the line.
Pompey improved after the break and Crouch and Glen Johnson had their best chances, the striker shooting wide and another saved while Johnson forced a good save from Van Der Sar.
United were not at their flowing best but in Rooney had a player who is determined to see them through. And the game was wrapped up eight minutes from time as substitute, Carrick smashed one past the despairing James after collecting a magnificent pass from Paul Scholes.
Man Utd: Van der Sar, Neville (O’Shea 13), Vidic, Evans, Evra, Fletcher, Scholes, Anderson (Carrick 76), Giggs, Ronaldo, Rooney*, O’Shea (Rafael Da Silva 52).
Subs Not Used: Kuszczak, Berbatov, Nani, Tevez.
Goals: Rooney 9, Carrick 82.
Portsmouth: James, Johnson, Campbell, Distin, Hreidarsson, Davis, Mullins, Hughes, Belhadj, Nugent (Pennant 46), Crouch.
Subs Not Used: Begovic, Pamarot, Utaka, Cranie, Kanu, Basinas.
Ref: Peter Walton (Northamptonshire).
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