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Man Utd 4-3 Hull

By Paul Fletcher

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring for Manchester United
Ronaldo has scored twice in each of his last two games

Manchester United survived a late rally by Hull to move up to third place in the Premier League.

Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring with a low strike before Daniel Cousin headed Hull level at the near post.

Michael Carrick struck from 20 yards, Ronaldo headed in a corner and Nemanja Vidic volleyed home as United led 4-1.

But Bernard Mendy lobbed Edwin van der Sar, and when Mendy was fouled by Rio Ferdinand, Geovanni converted the penalty to set up a grandstand finish.

Hull started the match two points ahead of their opponents and defending an unbeaten away record in the Premier League but Phil Brown's team were outclassed by their illustrious and expensively assembled opponents for most of the game.

Phelan hails 'fantastic' game

Following the defeat against Chelsea on Wednesday, it was the first time the Tigers have lost successive games since their promotion to the Premier League.

However, Hull continued to show the desire and willingness to compete that has already brought them 20 points - and in doing so came closer than at one point seemed possible to taking something from the match.

Despite the late scare, United have really started to find their form after a quiet start to the season and have now won eight of their last nine fixtures while playing with increasing style and verve.

606: DEBATE

Against Hull it was as if the United forwards, energised and challenged by a sublime piece of play from Dimitar Berbatov against West Ham on Wednesday, were all trying to showcase their talents.

Ronaldo used the bottom of his boot to cushion a long ball into the path of Berbatov in only the third minute.

The Bulgarian's cross-cum-shot was controlled by Ronaldo, whose shot on the turn with his left foot went in off the post.

With the goal coming so early, the situation looked ominous for the visiting team, but United were guilty of over-playing time and again, with flicks, feints and elaborate turns the order of the day despite their slender lead.

Occasionally a Hull player was made to look foolish - one turn from Berbatov leaving George Boateng chasing shadows while Ronaldo picked out a team-mate despite looking in the other direction.

We gave Man Utd too much respect - Brown

But the visiting team would not be cowed, chasing and challenging their illustrious opponents.

And the Tigers stunned the vast majority of the crowd when Cousin brilliantly headed his team level at the near post from Andy Dawson's free-kick.

United's electrifying play suddenly acquired a great deal more potency and a swift break culminated in Berbatov passing to Carrick, whose precise low strike with his left foot also went in off the post.

The home team effectively sealed victory shortly before the break when Ronaldo headed the third from Nani's corner, the ball taking a slight deflection off Paul McShane.

Berbatov shot across goal and wide shortly after the resumption while Ronaldo dallied after being played clean through and Kamil Zayatte made a brilliant block.

But poor defending allowed a corner to reach Vidic low down and he guided the ball past Myhill, who should have done better.

It was starting to look like a case of damage limitation for the Tigers - but it was Hull who scored next.

Substitute Mendy brilliantly lobbed the ball over the advancing Van der Sar. Vidic almost pulled off a brilliant clearance but the linesman correctly ruled the ball had crossed the goal-line before the Serb booted it clear.

Myhill saved a venomous strike from Rooney but Hull's never-say-die spirit ensured a dramatic final few minutes. Mendy was brought down by Ferdinand and Geovanni made no mistake from the spot.

Rooney, for one, was flustered and was lucky to stay on the field after a couple of dangerous tackles in very quick succession. He was booked for the second of them.


Man Utd: Van der Sar, Neville, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra, Ronaldo, Carrick (Giggs 72), Anderson (O'Shea 88), Nani (Tevez 64), Berbatov, Rooney.
Subs Not Used: Foster, Park, Rafael Da Silva, Fletcher.

Booked: Rooney, Tevez.

Goals: Ronaldo 3, Carrick 29, Ronaldo 44, Vidic 57.

Hull: Myhill, McShane, Turner, Zayatte, Dawson, Marney, Hughes (Mendy 59), Boateng (Folan 86), Geovanni, King (Halmosi 63), Cousin.
Subs Not Used: Duke, Barmby, Garcia, Ricketts.

Booked: Turner, Mendy.

Goals: Cousin 23, Mendy 69, Geovanni 82 pen.

Att: 75,398

Ref: Mike Dean (Wirral).


BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match on 90 minutes: Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo - 8.53 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.



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see also
Premier League as it happened
01 Nov 08 |  Premier League
Saturday's football photos
01 Nov 08 |  Football
Hero or zero?
01 Nov 08 |  Premier League
Ferguson frustrated despite win
01 Nov 08 |  Man Utd


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