[Premier League] Manchester United 2-0 Crystal Palace
ManUtd: Robin van Persie (45pen), Wayne Rooney (81)
United collected a first home league win under David Moyes by seeing off Crystal Palace with a goal in each half through Robin van Persie and the returning Wayne Rooney.
Ashley Young was a central figure in the first half as he was brought down by Kagisho Dikgacoi to allow van Persie to net a penalty after earlier being booked by referee Jon Moss for simulation after tangling with the same player.
Both sides seemed to take time to settle in the early kick-off and there were precious few efforts on goal until the match livened up following a magical backheeled attempt by van Persie that flew wide.
Van Persie opted for power rather than precision after chesting down an exquisite pass by Rooney and crashed past Julian Speroni but against the bar. Rooney, playing wearing a protective headband, was unable to reach a Young cross but Dwight Gayle lofted a clear opportunity at the other end wide after getting the better of Rio Ferdinand.
The key moment came just before half time as referee Moss awarded United a penalty and sent Dikgacoi off after some sloppy defending allowed Young through on goal. Van Persie kept his cool to beat Speroni from the spot for his fifth goal of the domestic season.
Any thoughts that the Reds would run away with the game after the interval were dismissed as Young could only fire a precise Anderson through ball at Speroni. The introduction of Marouane Fellaini and Adnan Januzaj helped spark sustained pressure as Speroni scrambled away a Fellaini drive, van Persie curled over the top and Rooney had shot blocked. The killer second finally arrived when Rooney swept a free-kick beyond Speroni's reach after Januzaj had been fouled.
The match United took some time to get into top gear and also to kill off the 10-men Eagles but it was encouraging to see strike-duo Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney both on the scoresheet. Ashley Young had already been booked for simulation when he was floored by Kagisho Dikgacoi and referee Jon Moss brandished the red card for the Palace man. Van Persie beat Julian Speroni from the spot and another dead-ball settled it as Rooney curled a free-kick into the corner of the net with nine minutes left.
Goals Van Persie may have had to wait before despatching the penalty as Dikgacoi took an age to depart the field of play but he drilled his spot-kick low and hard to add to his ever-increasing United tally. Rooney's free-kick came after substitute Adnan Januzaj was felled by Adrian Mariappa and provided further evidence that he will be a key figure for David Moyes.
Sub-plot Marouane Fellaini made his debut and was denied a goal by Speroni's sprawling save while Adnan Januzaj produced an exciting cameo in his first Barclays Premier League appearance. The substitutes helped the Reds turn the screw and clinch the points so surely both will be delighted with their contributions.
Star men Michael Carrick was his assured self from the outset, spraying some lovely passes out wide to Young, while Rooney was desperate to get involved in everything after being sidelined with his head injury. Rooney's opening goal of the season will do him the power of good while Januzaj's electrifying impact showed just why he is so highly rated at Old Trafford.
The opposition Palace sat deep and only really threatened once - when Dwight Gayle worked his way past Rio Ferdinand and chipped David De Gea, only to see the finish drop wide of the far post. Marouane Chamakh was a lone figure in attack with Gayle dropping into a withdrawn role and it became damage limitation, in truth, after the sending off.
Move of the match Januzaj worked his way down the left to cheers from the crowd soon after his introduction, linking superbly with Rooney. It was a glimpse into the future perhaps and had everybody on their feet.
In the stands Sir Alex was here to witness his first senior game since Moyes took over. Predictably, the Scot received hearty applause from all around him when he headed to his seat.