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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 November 2006, 21:52 GMT
Man Utd 3-0 Everton
By Phil McNulty

Rio Ferdinand congratulates Cristiano Ronaldo after his goal
Rio Ferdinand congratulates Cristiano Ronaldo after his goal
Manchester United maintained their three-point lead at the Premiership summit with a comfortable win.

Sir Alex Ferguson's much-changed side struggled to find rhythm early on, but Cristiano Ronaldo broke the deadlock with a 20-yard finish after 39 minutes.

Everton had no cutting edge and Patrice Evra scored his first goal for United from a tight angle after 63 minutes.

Substitute John O'Shea wrapped up the win with a flicked finish from Evra's cross two minutes from time.

United made five changes from the side that drew against Chelsea, with Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nemanja Vidic and Louis Saha all left out.


Everton had Richard Wright back in goal for his first Premiership start of the season with on-loan Tim Howard ineligible to play against his parent club, and were still without influential injured duo Andrew Johnson and Tim Cahill.

United's reshuffle meant the league leaders were slow to get into their usual stride.

Michael Carrick was robbed by James McFadden in a dangerous position after 15 minutes, and the Scot shot just wide after exchanging passes with Leon Osman.

Kieran Richardson glanced a free-kick on to the top of the bar before he almost got a goal in unconventional fashion when Wright's clearance struck him, but landed safely.

Wayne Rooney received a predictably hostile reception from Everton's fans who once idolised him, but he almost silenced the taunts with a header that flashed just wide with Wright beaten.

Everton had more than held their own though in the early exchanges, and were somewhat unfortunate to go behind six minutes before the interval.

Carrick's shot was blocked by Nuno Valente, and Ronaldo drove the rebound low past Wright from 20 yards.

United sealed the points after 63 minutes when Evra surged on to Rooney's pass and outstripped Joseph Yobo to slot a powerful finish through Wright's legs.

It was the signal for Ferguson to make changes and rest players with the game apparently won, particularly Ronaldo, who was replaced by Gabriel Heinze.

Everton threatened a late surge, but Yobo was just off target with a header from Mikel Arteta's corner.

And United sealed the win when substitute O'Shea stole on to Evra's cross to beat Wright from close range.

  • Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson:
    "After dropping two points against Chelsea this was an important game for us.

    "I had to make changes because we have got an important Champions League game against Benfica coming up and we couldn't afford injuries and players coming out of the cold to play.

    "Cristiano Ronaldo took his goal well and it was a good strike from Patrice Evra as well. He's a good striker of the ball and he's got real enthusiasm.

    "We have got players to win games, but need a defensive record that wins titles and it was good to get another clean sheet."

  • Everton manager David Moyes:
    "I'm pleased with how we played, especially in the first half.

    "There was no shame in how they played and they can leave here with their heads high. We don't feel 3-0 was a fair reflection of the game.

    "When you are 2-0 down it is very difficult, but it was important we didn't go to pieces. I'm very disappointed with the way we lost the third goal, which was very poor from our point of view."

    Man Utd: Van der Sar, Neville, Ferdinand, Silvestre, Evra, Fletcher, Carrick (Brown 73), O'Shea, Richardson, Rooney, Ronaldo (Heinze 68).
    Subs Not Used: Kuszczak, Saha, Scholes.

    Booked: Evra.

    Goals: Ronaldo 39, Evra 63, O'Shea 89.

    Everton: Wright, Yobo, Stubbs, Lescott, Nuno Valente, Arteta, Neville, Carsley, Osman (Vaughan 76), Beattie, McFadden.
    Subs Not Used: Ruddy, Weir, Van der Meyde, Anichebe.

    Booked: Arteta.

    Att: 75,723 Ref: M Halsey (Lancashire).

    Wednesday's football photos
    29 Nov 06 |  Football


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