Rooney on target for United

Striker shrugs off an own goal to score twice as Manchester United maintain title charge with 4-2 victory over Stoke.

    Rooney on target for United
    Alex Ferguson’s side remain in second place, four points behind leaders Chelsea who earlier beat city rivals Tottenham [Reuters]

    Wayne Rooney made up for an early own goal by scoring two at the right end on Saturday as Manchester United beat Stoke 4-2 in the English Premier League.

    Rooney's second goal was his 200th in club football and helped United consolidate second place behind leaders Chelsea, after the England striker inadvertently gave the visitors a perfect start at Old Trafford.

    Rooney headed into his own net in the 11th minute, but then responded with another header for the equaliser after meeting a perfect cross from Robin van Persie in the 27th.

    Van Persie then put United ahead in the 44th, before Danny Welbeck made it 3-1 just after the break.

    Michael Kightly gave Stoke hope again in the 59th, but Rooney restored the two-goal lead six minutes later to secure the victory.

    Early attack

    Despite playing away at Old Trafford, it was Stoke who came out attacking early, with former Liverpool midfielder Charlie Adam helping dictate play. It was Adam's touchline free-kick that Rooney ended up nudging into his own net, under pressure from Ryan Shawcross in the six-yard box.

    It was the first goal Rooney netted at either end this Premier League season, and meant United conceded the opening goal for the seventh time in 11 games in all competitions.

    Adam then forced David de Gea into a fine reaction save from the opposite touchline as the United defence was almost caught out.

    But Danny Welbeck and Patrice Evra both wasted good opportunities before Van Persie and Rooney linked up to drag the hosts level.

    Rooney fed his strike partner to the left before heading off into the box, where he met an inch-perfect cross to head in from a similar position to the one he found himself in at the other end.

    Welbeck then could have put his side in front from Rooney's cross, then clipped the crossbar with a curling effort. Instead, Van Persie made it 2-1 when he stole into space to meet Antonio Valencia's cross, rolling a close range finish into the corner.

    A minute after the break, United had another. Rooney was the provider this time with a cross that invited Welbeck's flying header. But United again looked shaky in defence in letting the visitors back into the match.

    Kightly charged straight down the centre of the pitch, and after a fortunate ricochet off Ferdinand, the midfielder calmly finished.

    It was the seventh goal United had conceded at home in four league games this season.

    But Rooney completed the win with a simple finish as Van Persie's low cross bobbed about in the six-yard area before rolling to the far post, where the unmarked striker tucked home.

    SOURCE: AP


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