English Premier League: Bright Start For Champions Man United


Manchester United opened the defence of their English Premier League title with a 2-1 victory at West Bromwich Albion today.

United sealed their victory after 81 minutes when West Brom’s defender Steven Reid turned an Ashley Young cross into his own team’s net at the Hawthorns.

“We’ve got that never-say-die attitude,” Young told Sky Sports. “We had to grind it out and that’s what we did.”

Wayne Rooney gave United a 13th-minute lead, with Shane Long scoring on his debut for West Brom after 37 minutes.

United, Bolton and Wolverhampton Wanderers are the only teams to win their opening matches, all three starting their campaign with an away victory.

Tottenham’s game against Everton was postponed because of last week’s rioting in London, while Manchester City host Swansea City tomorrow.

The visitors had early chances today, with a free kick from Young forcing a save by ex-United goalkeeper Ben Foster, who also had to punch clear after Anderson lifted a ball into the penalty area. At the other end, a Jonas Olsson free kick was cleared by Wayne Rooney.

It was Rooney who scored the opener, exchanging passes with Young before making room to shoot and hitting a low effort into the far corner of the net.

David de Gea, signed by United following the retirement of goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar, stuck out a hand to push a strongly hit Paul Scharner shot wide after 35 minutes to protect his team’s lead.

Two minutes later, De Gea failed to deal with a low effort from Long that went under his body as he dived to try and make a stop. The Spaniard was criticized after United’s Community Shield win against Manchester City last week for failing to save a long-range shot from Edin Dzeko.

United had to replace both center-backs, Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, because of injuries in the second half, but the visitors kept out West Brom and managed to snatch the win.

Ferdinand will be out for six weeks with a hamstring injury, manager Alex Ferguson said afterwards. It follows an injury to fellow defender Rafael, who suffered a dislocated shoulder in training and will miss the first 10 weeks of the season.

Today’s winning goal came after Young collected the ball on the left, cut inside and attempted a cross that deflected off two West Brom players. The final touch came off Reid six yards out.

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