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Last Updated: Saturday, 3 December 2005, 19:05 GMT
Man Utd 3-0 Portsmouth
Manchester United moved up to second in the Premiership with a comfortable win against managerless Portsmouth.

Paul Scholes headed his first goal of the season from Ryan Giggs' corner after 20 minutes and Wayne Rooney added the second 10 minutes from time.

Ruud van Nistelrooy then lofted home a third as United finally made their massive dominance pay.

Portsmouth, with rumours of Harry Redknapp's return rife, never posed a serious threat as United won with ease.

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson flew back from Belfast after attending George Best's funeral.

And Old Trafford was united before kick-off for a minute's applause in honour of Best.

One name missing from the United line-up was newly-appointed captain Gary Neville, who was not involved, perhaps with the Champions League game against Benfica in Portugal on Wednesday in mind.

United made a fast start, and Scholes nearly took advantage when Portsmouth goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown fumbled Van Nistelrooy's shot.

The Holland striker then almost broke the deadlock after 14 minutes when he turned brilliantly on the edge of the area and shot narrowly over the top.

United were dominating Portsmouth completely - and it was no surprise when they took the lead six minutes later.

Giggs' corner found Scholes totally unmarked in the area, and he sent a downward header past Ashdown.

Van Nistelrooy should have given United a two-goal cushion on the stroke of half-time, but Ashdown plunged bravely at his feet to save.

United lost John O'Shea during the interval, when he was replaced by Kieran Richardson.

Pompey - who had barely ventured into United territory - almost delivered a stunning sucker-punch 12 seconds after the re-start, when Matthew Taylor surged into the area but shot into the side-netting.

United, not for the first time this season, were labouring to ram home massive advantage in territory and possession, and it was no surprise when Cristiano Ronaldo replaced Giggs.

Inevitably, it was Rooney who settled the growing nerves inside Old Trafford with 10 minutes left.

Portsmouth failed to clear, and Rooney expertly swept a right-foot finish beyond Ashdown from just inside the area.

Ronaldo's pace and invention had made a big difference, and he was influential again as he crossed for Van Nistelrooy to chip over Ashdown to seal the win six minutes from time.

  • Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson:
    "It was a convincing performance, we really worked our socks off and showed great determination.

    "I'm pleased with the scoreline. We got the start we wanted in terms of tempo but then we maybe over-played it.

    "I'm delighted for Paul (Scholes) and I'm sure everyone in the ground is too. Knowing what a good goalscorer he is, he can start adding to his tally now."

  • Portsmouth caretaker boss Joe Jordan:
    "It's been an interesting year. A lot has happened since I came here but that is football.

    "We need to steady the ship and stabilise and collect some points.

    "I enjoyed the build-up and preparation and taking that responsibility but I didn't enjoy the result and I certainly didn't enjoy the last 15 minutes."

    Man Utd: Van der Sar, Brown, Ferdinand, Silvestre, O'Shea (Richardson 45), Park (Saha 79), Smith, Scholes, Giggs (Ronaldo 65), Rooney, van Nistelrooy.
    Subs Not Used: Howard, Fletcher.

    Goals: Scholes 20, Rooney 80, van Nistelrooy 84.

    Portsmouth: Ashdown, Priske, O'Brien, Stefanovic, Griffin, O'Neil, Diao, Viafara, Taylor (Robert 72), Silva (Todorov 59), LuaLua.
    Subs Not Used: Westerveld, Primus, Vukic.

    Booked: Griffin.

    Att: 67,684

    Ref: C Foy (Merseyside).

    Interview: Man Utd striker Ruud van Nistelrooy

    Interview: Man Utd assistant manager Carlos Queiroz

    Interview: Portsmouth caretaker manager Joe Jordan


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