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West Ham United
26 March 2012
• Old Trafford, Manchester
Referee: M. Oliver
• Attendance: 75570
W. Rooney 42'
Shots on Target
FULL TIME! Fulham had one last chance to get it in the box there, but a monster header from Jonny Evans seals the points for United. They move three points clear at the top of the Premier League after Wayne Rooney's first half goal, but there will be plenty of discussions about that penalty not given to Fulham in the dying moments.
90' + 3'
Desperate stuff as United are hacking everything clear. Added time is up...
Looking back on those replays, it might have been a soft challenge, but Carrick made connection with Murphy and not the ball. A penalty, for me.
What a big call from the referee, Fulham have been denied a penalty. Danny Murphy goes down under a challenge from Michael Carrick, and that really should have been a penalty. A massive call from Micahel Oliver.
Young is played in down the left by Giggs, but his attempted cross to Chicharito at the far post is well blocked.
Chicharito bears down on goal but loses the ball under his feet at the final moment.
Dempsey is down hurt after a Paul Scholes challenge. It appears that he ripped the sock on his calf there.
Fulham whip in a dangerous free-kick, but De Gea comes off his line to punch the ball away well. He doesn't look too comfortable though, landing awkwardly on his wrist.
Valencia torments Riise on the right, shimmying and running before putting a ball into the box, but Chicharito just can't get a proper contact on the ball and it falls to Schwarzer.
Rooney tries a Scholes-like 50-yard pass but it doesn't quite come off. Ferguson responds by replacing the striker with the midfielder.
Danny Murphy, just on off the bench plays a great ball over the top for Clint Dempsey, but Jonny Evans looks to marshal the ball out. As he does though, Dempsey almost gets a touch on the end of it, some dangerous stuff from the United defence.
Mark Schwarzer has just kept Fulham in the game. He makes a decent stop from a powerful Ashley Young effort, and saves the follow up as well - and the ball bounces loose to Giggs on the edge of the area but his half-volley is blocked on it's way to goal by Brede Hangeland, stopping a certain goal.
This has been a slightly disappointing game so far, not too much action. It looks like it's getting stretched now though, both sides looking to attack quickly.
Rafael makes a great surging run from right back and it eventually leads to a shot for Ryan Giggs, but he drags his effort wide on the bounce.
Danny Welbeck was the man to make way for Chicharito, and Fulham are readying Bryan Ruiz to come on of the bench. The visitors have barely had a kick in the second half, but there's still only one goal in it.
The game has slowed a bit again. Sir Alex Ferguson isn't looking happy on the bench, and Chicharito is about to enter the match.
United are playing some very nice football at the moment, with Giggs, Rooney, Young and Welbeck almost combining for a fabulous goal.
Ashley Young curls a nice effort low towards the far post, but Schwarzer does well to tip it wide.
From the corner United almost get another as Aaron Hughes just about avoids putting through his own net, and Rooney drags a shot wide.
Giggs plays a lovely chip over the top for Valencia, but the winger lashes his volley straight at Schwarzer, and Fulham manage to clear for a corner.
Fulham get the second half underway.
HALF TIME! United have been a little bit off the pace so far tonight, but Wayne Rooney has put them ahead with his sixth goal in his past five games against Fulham.
45' + 1'
United are forced into some defending now as Pogrebnyak gets on the ball in the area. He finds Kelly, but the right-back's shot is well blocked by Evra.
United are on the front foot now, with Antonio Valencia and Rafael on the right wing the source of the attacking.
Goal Wayne Rooney
Fulham don't push out from the corner, and Ashley Youngs whips in a perfect cross, but it evades United players and hits Riise on the leg, falling to Jonny Evans who taps the ball to Rooney for an easy finish from close range.
Assist Jonny Evans
A great cross from Valencia evades everyone but United keep it on the other wing and Evra's cross strikes Stephen Kelly on the arm. No penalty though.
The volume has just shot up a bit at Old Trafford, the fans getting a little impatient as United try to force a goal before half-time.
Welbeck has a shot stopped by Schwarzer from distance when Giggs was in a better position. Not sure he saw him though.
Yellow Card Ryan Giggs
Ryan Giggs goes into the referee's book for a rash challenge on Dembele. He really flew into that tackle, a bit strange to see. Maybe he's been taking lessons from Paul Scholes...
Rafael finds some space in the Fulham area, but his left footed shot is weak and easily saved by Schwarzer. It's been a pretty slow game so far.
United play a corner short, and from the eventual cross into the box, Patrice Evra comes close with an overhead kick. His technique wasn't quite on the same level as Sebastian Coates from last week, but it had Schwarzer scrambling as it bounced just wide.
What a goal that would have been. Valencia drives into the box and exchanges a one-two with Danny Welbeck in almost identical fashion to the way they set up Chicharito's second goal last week, with a nice flick from the striker, but they are crowded out and the ball eventually pops into Schwarzer's arms.
It's whipped in nicely by Young but well cleared from just under Schwarzer. Good defending.
United have a free-kick in a dangerous area on the left wing.
Dempsey has another shot from the edge of the area, but De Gea flies to his left, cat-like to pluck it out of the air and hold onto it. Fulham will be very encouraged by the past 10 minutes.
Clint Dempsey now offers the first full test for De Gea, taking on Jonny Evans, before firing low to the keeper's right, but it doesn't have enough power on it to trouble him.
Moussa Dembele gets his first real time on the ball, and ghosts past Carrick on the halfway line before firing in a shot that goes well wide. A decent spell of possession for them now though.
Dempsey gets in Fulham's first shot of the night, a little effort from the front post that is deflected wide for a corner. De Gea is under pressure from the corner as a header loops up in the air, but the keeper deals with it well.
The first real chance of the night also falls United's way, with Ryan Giggs heading straight at Mark Schwarzer from 12 yards after some good work from Rafael on the right.
First effort of the night and it goes to Wayne Rooney, but the striker's shot is blocked.
United, as you might expect, are controlling possession and starting to apply some pressure. Fulham are sitting very deep, so whenever they clear the ball it's coming straight back at them.
Pretty quiet start to the game so far, no-one really getting near the goal yet.
United get us underway.
Here are tonight's teams: Manchester United: De Gea; Rafael, Evans, Ferdinand, Evra; Valencia, Carrick, Giggs, Young; Welbeck, Rooney. Subs: Amos, Jones, Berbatov, Smalling, Chicharito, Scholes, Cleverley. Fulham: Schwarzer; Kelly, Hughes, Hangeland, Riise; Diarra, Dembele; Duff, Dempsey, Frei; Pogrebnyak. Subs: Stockdale, Murphy, Ruiz, Etuhu, Briggs, Trotta, Senderos.
Hello, and welcome to Goal.com's play-by-play coverage of Manchester United v Fulham. The hosts can move three points clear of Manchester City with a win tonight, and are up against opposition that have only won once at Old Trafford in the Premier League.
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