Manchester United 2-0 Crystal Palace
GOALS either side of half-time from Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney condemned Crystal Palace to defeat at Manchester United.
Van Persie struck from the spot in first half stoppage time after Kagisho Dikgacoi was controversially dismissed for a foul on Ashley Young which appeared to have been committed just outside of the area.
And the 10-men were undone again nine minutes from the final whistle as Rooney scored from a free-kick to secure the three points for the champions.
Ian Holloway made only one change from the side which impressively defeated Sunderland 3-1 a fortnight ago, the injured Joel Ward making way for Adrian Mariappa.
Among the substitutes for Palace were new signings Jimmy Kebe, Cameron Jerome, Adlene Guedioura and Barry Bannan.
The hosts included Rooney and Van Persie in their starting XI, with former Eagle Wilfried Zaha named on the bench.
United started brightly and Julian Speroni had to be alert to punch clear Michael Carrick’s third minute 20 yard shot.
Patrice Evra went to ground inside the box but his claim Mile Jedinak had tripped him was ignored by referee Jon Moss.
Fabio Da Silva placed an effort well wide of the target , while Young picked up a yellow card for taking a dramatic dive in the area as Dikgacoi tried to get out of his way.
Jose Campana did well to clear the danger from Van Persie’s header across the face of goal as the defending champions continued to dominate the early exchanges.
Van Persie came agonisingly close when he was picked out by Evra’s cross but his cheeky back flick went about a foot wide of the post.
And the Dutchman went even closer six minutes from the break when met Rooney’s pass, took one touch and then fired his shot on to the crossbar.
Young’s delivery just failed to pick out the head of Rooney, while Dwight Gayle almost gave Palace the lead against the run off play when he shook off Rio Ferdinand but placed his chipped effort wide of David De Gea.
However, all of Palace’s good work was undone on the stroke of half-time when Dikgacoi was red carded for a trip on Young and Van Persie stepped up to convert from the spot.
It didn’t look as if the foul had been committed inside the box and the visitors went in at the interval feeling rightly aggrieved and seriously up against it for the remainder of the game.
Speroni did well to deny Young four minutes after the restart and at the other end Gayle’s low drive lacked both power and conviction as it sailed harmlessly wide.
Chamakh went into the book for a late challenge on Nemanja Vidic moments before young curled an effort wide from just outside of the box.
Campana was replaced by Guedioura on 58 minutes as Palace made their first change.
Van Persie blazed a shot over after Evra had burst into the box before United introduced Marouane Fellaini for Anderson and then Gayle made way for Jerome.
Young became the latest player to go off four minutes later for Adnan Januzaj and then Fellaini almost helped himself to a dream debut goal with a stinging 30-yard volley which Speroni had to put behind.
Van Persie came within an inch of doubling his and United’s advantage with a shot from inside the box that just flew over the bar.
Palace’s final change with quarter of an hour remaining saw Chamakh come off for Kebe.
Speroni did well to keep out another Van Persie attempt before the United striker was substituted for Javier Fernandez.
Manchester United were awarded a free-kick just outside of the area after Guedioura had fouled Januzaj.
It was Rooney who took the 81st minute set piece and he coolly fired his shot over the Palace wall and into the corner of the net beyond the despairing dive of Speroni.
Rooney tried to be a bit too smart with an attempted chip of the Palace keeper which went behind for a goal-kick.
Damien Delaney fired wildly over from an injury time corner, kind of proving this just wasn’t meant to be Crystal Palace’s day.
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Crystal Palace: Speroni, Mariappa, Gabbidon, Delaney, Moxey, Dikgacoi, Jedinak, Campana (Guediora 58), Puncheon, Gayle (Jerome 63), Chamakh (Kebe 75). Subs not used: Alexander, O'Keefe, Phillips, Bannan
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