• Manchester United 2-0 Crystal Palace

Moyes gets first Old Trafford win amid penalty controversy

ESPN staff
September 14, 2013
Marouane Fellaini signs autographs before making his debut for Manchester United © Getty Images

David Moyes earned his first Old Trafford win as Manchester United manager as a first-half Robin van Persie penalty and a late Wayne Rooney goal helped see off 10-man Crystal Palace at Old Trafford.

Crystal Palace had kept things tight until Kagisho Dikgacoi was red-carded for denying Ashley Young a clear goal-scoring opportunity two minutes before half-time. Debate raged as to whether the decision was correct, but Van Persie converted the penalty and Rooney scored his first goal of the season late on to clinch victory.

Rooney returned to the Manchester United starting line-up after concerns over his ability to play with a gash on his forehead suffered in training were settled. Marouane Fellaini was on the bench for his first game since his £27.5 million move from Everton, while Shinji Kagawa did not even feature there due to flu.

Palace, in search of their first league win at Old Trafford since 1989, began with former Arsenal striker Marouane Chamakh leading the line.

United fans were up in arms in the ninth minute as Patrice Evra's charge into the box ended with a coming together between him and Mile Jedinak, however referee Jon Moss turned away vociferous appeals for a penalty. Ten minutes later, Ashley Young went tumbling in dramatic fashion in almost the same patch of grass, but again Moss stood firm.

It had been a fairly quiet first half in terms of clear-cut chances until the 39th minute, when a delightful weighted pass from Rooney on the right found Robin van Persie in space 12 yards from goal, and the Dutchman controlled well on his chest before a dipping shot glanced off the top of the crossbar and over.

Barely a minute later it was Rooney with a clear sight of goal, as Young found him at the back post but - perhaps restricted by his protective headgear - the striker could not make a proper connection with his forehead.

Suddenly, chances were coming at a frantic pace, and Palace were next to threaten as a deep ball flummoxed Rio Ferdinand and was controlled with a fantastic first touch by Dwight Gayle who then prodded the ball wide of the far post as David de Gea closed down the angle.

Then, with two minutes to go until half-time, the game was blown wide open. Young's touch on the turn sent him through on goal and Dikgacoi collided with him on the edge of the box. Referee Moss pointed to the spot and produced a red card for the Palace defender, and Van Persie then stepped up to send Julian Speroni the wrong way with his penalty.

Young, central to the controversial end to the first half, nearly added a second goal 10 minutes into the second half with a curling effort from the left edge of the box that had Speroni beaten but curled just wide of the far post.

A cheer went round Old Trafford on the hour mark as Fellaini appeared on the touchline preparing for his introduction to the match. He replaced the disappointing Anderson, but not before Van Persie had sent a decent chance from 16 yards blazing over the bar.

Adnan Januzaj came on for his Premier League debut in place of Young, and Van Persie then came a fraction closer to adding a second for United, his shot skimming narrowly over the bar from the edge of the box.

Van Persie continued to look the most likely to add to United's tally, forcing a good block from Speroni at the Palace goalkeeper's near post. However, the Dutchman made way for Javier Hernandez with 11 minutes to go.

The three points were secured in the 81st minute when Januzaj was fouled by Adlene Guedioura and Rooney stepped up to curl a 25-yard free-kick over the wall and beyond Speroni's despairing dive.

Rooney almost added a third in injury time, but Danny Gabbidon cleared a low cross from inside the six-yard box with a last-ditch dive.

Download ESPN's new UK sport app, a fresh and powerful new way to follow your favourite UK sports news, scores and video.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
ESPN staff Close