Saturday 4 February 2006, 5:15pm at Old Trafford, Manchester
Barclays Premier League
Manchester United
Manchester United
Ronaldo 14', 86'; Saha 23'
Fulham FC
McBride 22'; Helguson 37'

14' Goal

Cristiano Ronaldo

23' Goal

Louis Saha

86' Goal

Cristiano Ronaldo

35' Yellow Card

Alan Smith Card was given for a foul

38' Yellow Card

Wes Brown Card was given for a foul

44' Yellow Card

Gary Neville Card was given for a foul

79' Yellow Card

Patrice Evra Card was given for a foul

69' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Wayne Rooney
Off:Park Ji-Sung

69' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Nemanja Vidic
Off:Gary Neville

81' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Phillip Bardsley
Off:Patrice Evra

22' Goal

Brian McBride

37' Goal

Heidar Helguson

17' Yellow Card

Liam Rosenior Card was given for a foul

62' Yellow Card

Luis Boa Morte Card was given for a foul

46' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Tomasz Radzinski
Off:Michael Brown

62' Substitution

Player was substituted for tactical reasons
On:Collins John
Off:Heidar Helguson

Despite enjoying lengthy spells of possession Fulham went down 4-2 in what was a fine game of football. However, for the second time this season United scored a contentious third goal, an award which incensed boss Chris Coleman who was sent to the stands for his justifiable protests.

Chris Coleman gave a debut to Michael Brown, our new signing from Tottenham, who replaced the injured Sylvain Legwinski. Otherwise it was the same team that faced Spurs in midweek. United, without Rio Ferdinand who was red carded in midweek also surprisingly elected to leave Wayne Rooney on the bench.

United had the first attempt on goal after three minutes. Ji-Sung Park slid in a pass to Van Nistelrooy who forced a fine save from Niemi. The resultant corner was played to the edge of the box where Brown's low volley was directed straight into the arms of Niemi.

The next attack saw United take the lead. Gary Neville's initial cross was partially cleared but the United skipper played the ball through to Park who saw his shot deflect off Bocanegra past Niemi into the goal. It appeared that luck once again had deserted Fulham on their travels.

It was 2-0 after just fourteen minutes when Ronaldo scored with a thunderous free kick from thirty yards, following a foul by Michael Brown on Saha. Minutes later another Saha run was stopped at the expense of a foul though the referee's decision to book Liam Rosenior seemed harsh.

Fulham pulled a goal back after twenty one minutes. The persistence of Steed Malbranque saw a pass played out to the right and Liam Rosenior sent over an exquisite cross which McBride headed firmly past van der Sar. From the kick off United restored their two goal lead in controversial circumstances with Saha netting the rebound after Niemi had blocked an initial effort from van Nistelrooy who appeared offside when the ball was played to him.

Fulham battled back and Helguson saw a close range header held by van der Sar. Soon after Smith was booked for a foul on Elliott. Our efforts were rewarded after 36 minutes when Wayne Bridge surged down the left flank and his pinpoint centre reached Helguson at the far post and the Icelandic striker headed firmly past van der Sar.

An equaliser almost arrived in added time, when McBride headed over after Helguson knocked back a Steed Malbranque cross.

Fulham substituted Radzinski for Brown at the interval. In the 51st minute Malbranque went on a mazy run which ended with a low drive forcing van der Sar to dive to hold the ball. Luis Boa Morte was next to show his pace but his surging run ended with a shot which went wide. Helguson then burst clear following a pass from McBride but sliced his shot over the bar.

United forced their way back into the game with Ronaldo causing problems on the left flank and Louis Saha came close to a spectacular goal with a volley following Neville's lofted pass.

Some super play between Bridge and Malbranque ended with Bridge's centre being deflected for a corner, the flag kick finding Zat Knight at the edge of the box but his header was easily clasped by van der Sar.

The home side clearly had been rattled and Alex Ferguson made a double change after 68 minutes bringing on Rooney and Vidic in place of Neville and Park. Two minutes later Ronaldo now back on the right crossed for van Nistelrooy with the Dutchman's header clipping the top of the crossbar.

Collins John replaced Heidar Helguson in the 75th minute. whilst United made their final substitution with ten minutes remaining bringing on Bardsley for the injured Evra.

Despite Fulham's brave efforts to find an equaliser United scored a fourth in the 86th minute, when van Nistelrooy surged through but saw his shot saved by Niemi only for the ball to fall kindly for Ronaldo whose low shot hit the inside of a post before crossing the line. 

Match Information

Competition: Barclays Premier League

Date: Saturday 4 February 2006
Kick-off: 5:15pm

Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester
Attendance: 67,844

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Manchester United

Line-up: Van der Sar; Neville (Vidic 69'), Silvestre, Brown, Evra (Bardsley 81'); Ronaldo, Smith, Park Ji-Sung (Rooney 69'), Richardson; Van Nistelrooy, Saha

Unused substitutes: Steele, Fletcher


Line-up: Niemi; Rosenior, Knight, Bocanegra, Bridge; Malbranque, Brown (Radzinski 46'), Elliott, Boa Morte; McBride, Helguson (John 62')

Unused substitutes: Warner, Goma, Jensen

As It Stood Table

Pos Club Pl Pts
1 Chelsea 24 63
2 Manchester United 25 51
3 Liverpool 22 45
4 Tottenham Hotspur 24 41
5 Arsenal 24 40
6 Wigan Athletic 25 39
7 Bolton Wanderers 23 38
8 West Ham United 25 38
9 Blackburn Rovers 24 37
10 Manchester City 25 34
11 Everton 25 33
12 Aston Villa 25 30
13 Charlton Athletic 22 30
14 Fulham 25 29
15 Newcastle United 24 29
16 West Bromwich Albion 25 26
17 Middlesbrough 24 25
18 Birmingham City 24 20
19 Portsmouth 25 18
20 Sunderland 24 9
Manchester United (4-4-2)
  • 1Edwin Van der Sar
  • 2Gary Neville
  • 27Mikael Silvestre
  • 6Wes Brown
  • 3Patrice Evra
  • 7Cristiano Ronaldo
  • 14Alan Smith
  • 13Park Ji-Sung
  • 23Kieran Richardson
  • Ruud Van Nistelrooy
  • 9Louis Saha
  • 30Luke Steele
  • 15Nemanja Vidic
  • 26Phillip Bardsley
  • 24Darren Fletcher
  • 10Wayne Rooney
Fulham (4-4-2)
  • 29Antti Niemi
  • 17Liam Rosenior
  • 6Zat Knight
  • 3Carlos Bocanegra
  • 31Wayne Bridge
  • 4Steed Malbranque
  • 9Michael Brown
  • 27Simon Elliott
  • 11Luis Boa Morte
  • 20Brian McBride
  • 10Heidar Helguson
  • 12Tony Warner
  • 24Alain Goma
  • 33Niclas Jensen
  • 13Tomasz Radzinski
  • 15Collins John