Saturday 19 March 2005, 3:00pm at Old Trafford, Manchester
Barclays Premier League
Manchester United
Manchester United
Ronaldo 21'
Fulham FC

21' Goal

Cristiano Ronaldo

77' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Alan Smith
Off:Ruud Van Nistelrooy

83' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:John O'Shea
Off:Wayne Rooney

90' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Philip Neville
Off:Paul Scholes

51' Yellow Card

Papa Bouba Diop Card was given for a foul

64' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Sylvain Legwinski
Off:Papa Bouba Diop

89' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Tomasz Radzinski
Off:Claus Jensen

A great performance from Fulham went unrewarded as Cristiano Ronaldo's first-half strike proved to be the difference between the sides at Old Trafford.

Fulham rallied in the closing stages, but were denied a point when Lee Clark's shot hit the woodwork and Andy Cole's drive was deflected to safety.

United's victory margin should have bigger, with Edwin van der Sar saving well from Wayne Rooney and John O'Shea.

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson selected an unchanged team for only the second time this season - and they responded by totally dominating the first 45 minutes against a desperately poor Fulham. Paul Scholes headed narrowly wide as early pressure mounted, and it was no surprise when Ronaldo gave United the lead in spectacular style after 21 minutes.

The young Portuguese winger cut in from the left before unleashing a powerful 25-yard drive high past Van der Sar. United spent the rest of the half on cruise control, without creating too many clear-cut opportunities to emphasise their superiority.

Wayne Rooney was always a threat, and he almost doubled United's lead on the hour when he had a shooting opportunity from long-range.

The teenager fired in a low and powerful shot, but Van der Sar plunged low to his left to save.

Fulham then suffered another blow when influential midfield man Papa Bouba Diop pulled up sharply with a hamstring injury and was replaced by Sylvain Legwinski.

Ronaldo was United's biggest danger, and he came within inches of adding his second after 67 minutes, firing a left-foot shot across the face of goal after being played in by Scholes.  Van der Sar then came to Fulham's rescue once more, diving inside his six-yard box to turn away Gabriel Heinze's dangerous cross.

Fulham's first moment of danger came with nine minutes to go, and were only denied an equaliser by the woodwork.

Clark's shot came back off the post, and United's previously unemployed goalkeeper Tim Howard need to dive to his right to block Carlos Bocanegra's drive from the rebound.

It would have been harsh on United - but punishment for their failure to take full advantage of their dominance. Former United striker Cole then saw a close-range shot deflected narrowly wide off Howard's legs. United substitute Alan Smith almost crowned the victory with a lob from the half-way line, but Van der Sar scrambled back to save.

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Saturday 19 March 2005
Kick-off: 3:00pm

Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester
Attendance: 67,959

Referee: Andy D'Urso

Manchester United

Line-up: Howard; Brown, Ferdinand, Silvestre, Heinze; Scholes (Neville 90'), Keane, Fortune; Ronaldo, Van Nistelrooy (Smith 77'), Rooney (O'Shea 83')

Unused substitutes: Carroll, Neville


Line-up: Van der Sar; Rosenior, Knight, Goma, Bocanegra; Malbranque, Diop (Legwinski 64'), Clark, Claus Jensen (Radzinski 89'), Boa Morte; Cole

Unused substitutes: Crossley, Volz, John

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Chelsea 30 77
2 Manchester United 30 66
3 Arsenal 30 64
4 Everton 29 51
5 Liverpool 29 44
6 Bolton Wanderers 29 43
7 Charlton Athletic 30 43
8 Middlesbrough 29 42
9 Tottenham Hotspur 30 42
10 Aston Villa 29 38
11 Newcastle United 29 38
12 Manchester City 30 36
13 Birmingham City 29 32
14 Blackburn Rovers 30 32
15 Portsmouth 30 31
16 Fulham 29 30
17 Crystal Palace 30 26
18 Southampton 29 24
19 West Bromwich Albion 30 24
20 Norwich City 29 20
Manchester United (4-3-3)
  • 24Tim Howard
  • 6Wes Brown
  • 5Rio Ferdinand
  • 27Mikael Silvestre
  • 14Gabriel Heinze
  • 22Paul Scholes
  • Roy Keane
  • 25Quinton Fortune
  • 7Cristiano Ronaldo
  • Ruud Van Nistelrooy
  • 10Wayne Rooney
  • 1Roy Carroll
  • 2Gary Neville
  • 22John O'Shea
  • 14Alan Smith
  • 18Philip Neville
Fulham (4-5-1)
  • 1Edwin Van der Sar
  • 37Liam Rosenior
  • 6Zat Knight
  • 24Alain Goma
  • 34Carlos Bocanegra
  • 4Steed Malbranque
  • 14Papa Bouba Diop
  • 10Lee Clark
  • 16Claus Jensen
  • 11Luis Boa Morte
  • 8Andrew Cole
  • 12Mark Crossley
  • 2Moritz Volz
  • 5Sylvain Legwinski
  • 17Collins John
  • 17Tomasz Radzinski