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Premier League

  • August 14, 2011
  • • 11:00 AM
  • • The Hawthorns, West Bromwich
  • Referee: M. Jones
  • • Attendance: 25360

West Brom 1-2 Manchester United: United recovers from De Gea error as Ashley Young forces late own goal to settle entertaining clash

Ferdinand and Vidic limp off injured, but United gets its season off to a good start with a 2-1 win over West Brom.

Manchester United got its title defense off on the right foot with a 2-1 win over West Bromwich Albion. Wayne Rooney's goal and an Ashley Young forced own goal in the second half helped Sir Alex Ferguson's men overcome a goalkeeping mistake from debutant David de Gea.

Roy Hodgson handed debuts to former Manchester United keeper Ben Foster and Republic of Ireland international Shane Long, who was signed from Reading during the week, while striker Peter Odemwingie failed to recover from an ankle problem in time for the match.

Ferguson handed starts to summer signings de Gea and Ashley Young, while Tom Cleverley and Danny Welback started after returning from loan spells at Wigan and Sunderland respectively.

Patrice Evra, Javier Hernandez, Darren Fletcher and Antonio Valencia were all absentees for United, while Dimitar Berbatov, Ryan Giggs, Michael Carrick and Park Ji-Sung all were forced to settle for places on the bench along with new central defensive signing Phil Jones, who arrived from Blackburn during the summer.

Young became goal maker just after the 10 minute mark. He was found by fellow England international Wayne Rooney as he broke the West Brom offside trap of the left wing. Young in turn repaid the compliment to the Manchester United striker, giving him the ball just outside the area, before Rooney turned and placed the ball beyond Foster’s outstretched hand and into the bottom corner.

With ten minutes left in the half, de Gea was forced into his first piece of real action as a long ball arrived at the feet of Long and he found the onrushing Paul Scharner, who rifled a shot that was palmed away for a corner by the Spanish stopper.

But a minute later de Gea was left with his head in his hands and his teammates questioning him as Long received the ball on the left before beat Chris Smalling and hit a shot to the back post that should have been dealt with but ended up in the net.

The Manchester United keeper’s confidence seemed to be dented by the Long strike, as firstly Chris Brunt came close, then de Gea was forced to clear a Somen Tchoyi cross which almost went into the net before the stopper intervened to save his side from going behind at the break.   

Long shot | Irish international claims his first goal for the Baggies

Five minutes after the start of the second half the visitors were forced into a change as Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic limped from the field with an injury that he had picked up earlier in the game.

With just over a quarter of an hour left United had to change its second center back as Rio Ferdinand limped off with what seemed to be hamstring injury to be replaced by Jones.

With just over 10 minutes left de Gea’s uncertainty crept back into the game as a free kick from the right wing arrived at the back post and once again the Spanish stopper looked fragile as he failed to stop the ball going out for a corner.

United finally claimed a winner with less than 10 minutes left as impressive new signing Young raced in from the left wing and his shot deflected off of both Gabriel Tamas and then Steven Reid, before finding the bottom corner of Foster’s net.

The visiting defense managed to stay solid for the remainder of the game, protecting de Gea at all costs to secure a valuable three away points, which could come in crucial.