Red devils edge out Palace

2013-09-15 14:00

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Bad start for Dikgacoi as he sees red

Bafana Bafana midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi was shown red as Manchester United recorded a 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace at Old Trafford yesterday afternoon.

The Palace midfielder was given his marching orders after bringing down Ashley Young inside the penalty area.

Robin van Persie converted from the spot before striker Wayne Rooney doubled the tally in the second half.

United Coach David Moyes sprung a surprise in his team selection, with Rooney returning to the starting line-up a week earlier than expected after recovering from a head injury, while deadline-day signing Marouane Fellaini was forced to settle for a place on the bench.

Clear-cut chances were not plentiful early on despite the home side’s control of the game.

Indeed, two penalty shouts inside a 10-minute period in the first quarter provided the most worry for Palace early on.

Patrice Evra could consider himself lucky to have stayed out of the book when he went down under nonexistent contact from Mile Jedinak in the ninth minute.

Not long after, Young did receive a yellow for simulation as his trailing leg was viewed not to have been disturbed by Dikgacoi as he went down theatrically.

The visitors began to find their feet and enjoyed a spell of possession in which they looked comfortable, if not threatening.

Van Persie came close to ending this period of calm in stunning fashion in the 39th minute as he controlled a cross from Rooney on his chest before unleashing a right-footed effort that cannoned off the crossbar, with Julian Speroni beaten.

Dwight Gayle, a year ago of non-league outfit Bishop’s Stratford, nearly stole the show as his deft touch eased him by a stagnant Rio Ferdinand on the United byline. But keeper David de Gea stood tall and forced the striker to chip his effort wide.

With half-time beckoning, it all went horribly wrong for Palace.

A sloppy pass from Jedinak – until then so impressive – was pounced on by Young, the attacking midfielder surging towards goal only to be brought down from behind by Dikgacoi.

Referee Jon Moss took his time before awarding the penalty, having judged the foul to have taken place inside the box and giving Dikgacoi his marching orders.

Van Persie made no mistake with the penalty, side-footing it into the left-hand corner with Speroni going the other way.

There was an air of inevitability as the second half began, with questions being asked about the nature of Palace’s damage limitation act and not their comeback.

As expected, United pressed but without any real bite, as Rooney fluffed his lines and Van Persie shooting way over, both from the edge of the box.

Fellaini made his United bow in the 62nd minute amid a flurry of substitutions from both sides. The Belgian nearly grabbed a debut goal just six minutes into his spell at Old Trafford, forcing Speroni into a good save as he unleashed a volley from just outside the area.

Van Persie almost completed his brace as he let fly from a distance, his effort whizzing over the crossbar.

Rooney was the man who eventually grabbed the second goal, curling home a free kick from just outside the box in the 81st minute.

The floodgates threatened to open, but to their credit, Palace stuck at it. But the visitors could not deny Moyes his first three-point haul at the Theatre of Dreams.

» Other results: Hull City 1, Cardiff 1; Stoke City 0, Man City 0; Sunderland 1, Arsenal 3; Tottenham 2, Norwich City 0; Everton 1, Chelsea 0

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