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Last Updated: Saturday, 17 March 2007, 14:41 GMT
Man Utd 4-1 Bolton
By Phil McNulty

Wayne Rooney celebrates Man Utd's second with Cristiano Ronaldo
Wayne Rooney celebrates Man Utd's second with Cristiano Ronaldo
Ji-Sung Park and Wayne Rooney each scored twice to keep Manchester United six points clear at the top.

United lost injured Gary Neville early on before Park slid home a close-range finish after 14 minutes.

The brilliant Cristiano Ronaldo ran through before setting up Rooney to chip in the second and then Park bundled home a third before the break.

Rooney struck again late with a crashing volley before Gary Speed pulled one back from the penalty spot.

United - and watching England coach Steve McClaren - suffered a blow after only seven minutes when Neville collapsed to the turf following an innocuous collision with Speed.

He received lengthy treatment before being helped off by United's medical staff.

It was the only low point of a sparkling first 45 minutes of attacking football from a United side that left Bolton beaten and outclassed - with Ronaldo in irresistible form.

The Portuguese winger set up the opener after 14 minutes, sprinting down the left flank and running the ball perilously close to the byeline before setting up Park to slide home.

Ronaldo was instrumental again as United doubled their lead three minutes later, running at the heart of the Bolton defence and setting up Rooney for a delicate lofted finish over Jussi Jaaskelainen.

It was Rooney's 50th goal for United, and any doubts about the destination of the points were removed after 25 minutes as Park added a third.

Jaaskelainen fumbled Ronaldo's 20-yard shot, and Park was perfectly placed to pounce.

Bolton rallied briefly at the start of the second half, with Anelka shooting over the top from close range when he should have scored.

But United could have added a fourth after 48 minutes when Ronaldo left a rare blemish on an almost faultless display by somehow failing to touch in Gabriel Heinze's cross.

Sir Alex Ferguson felt his side were exerting such control that he was able to rest players ahead of Monday's FA Cup quarter-final against Middlesbrough.

Ronaldo was replaced by Alan Smith with 20 minutes left, and deservedly took the accolade of a standing ovation from the Old Trafford crowd.

Smith was involved as Rooney punished Bolton to extend United's advantage with 16 minutes left.

He cleverly set Rooney clear, giving the England striker time to line up a devastating right-foot finish that gave Jaaskelainen no chance.

Bolton pulled one back five minutes from time when Nemanja Vidic was harshly adjudged to have pushed Abdoulaye Faye.

Speed's penalty was poor, but it sneaked in under Tomasz Kuszczak.

  • Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson:

  • "The resilience of this team is not going to be put back at all.  "I'm very pleased. It is a terrific result for us against a Bolton team which is a very good team and make you work all day.  "Four goals at home this time of year is great."

  • Bolton manager Sam Allardyce:

  • "I can't understand how we have conceded three goals from our dead-ball situations.

    "We have to get the basics right and play the percentage game as we have not the same quality as them United.

    "We have gifted Manchester United three goal. I am angry with us not doing those things right."

    Man Utd: Kuszczak, Neville (Brown 11), Ferdinand, Vidic, Heinze, Ronaldo (Smith 70), Carrick, O'Shea, Park, Rooney, Giggs (Richardson 56).
    Subs Not Used: Heaton, Evra.

    Booked: Richardson.

    Goals: Park 14, Rooney 17, Park 25, Rooney 74.

    Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Hunt, Ben Haim, Faye, Gardner, Nolan, Campo (Thompson 78), Speed, Davies (Teymourian 52), Anelka, Pedersen (Diouf 28).
    Subs Not Used: Walker, Giannakopoulos.

    Booked: Campo, Gardner.

    Goals: Speed 87 pen.

    Att: 76,058

    Ref: A Wiley (Staffordshire).

    Neville out of England qualifiers
    17 Mar 07 |  Internationals
    Saturday's football photos
    17 Mar 07 |  Football


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