Manchester United 1 v 0 Fulham
Old Trafford, Manchester
19th March 2005
Manchester United put in a typical 04/05 performance against Fulham yesterday: They got a goal, completely dominated the match, failed dismally to score any more (Even though there were easy chances), and ended up defending desperately for the last ten minutes. Meanwhile, Chelsea cruised to a 4-1 victory.
United are now 11 points behing chelsea, and, short of them losing two games as well as being docked 6 points for their illegal approach for Ashley Cole, then the title is already in the bag for them. But that doesn't mean that they are guaranteed the title - stranger things have happened in football!
United began the Fulham game with a purpose and a strategy, and appeared to want to finish them off as quickly and efficiently as they had done against Southampton last weekend. But it wasn't to be.
After 21 minutes, and after countless attacks and long shots had led to nothing, Ronaldo scored a sensational goal. He was a constant threat to Fulham, with his clever touches and neat flicks that mesmerised the defenders. For his goal, he beat two men to create a bit of space for himself, before turning towards goal 25 yards out. One swift crack of his right foot sent the ball right into the top corner of the goal, and well past the Fulham keeper.
Ronaldo was awarded the Man of the Match award for a superb performance - but he also saved himself from the wrath of Sir Alex, who chastised the rest of the team.
Scholes came close with a header, Van Nistelrooy could or should have scored (Or would have scored if he was at the top of his game), and Alan Smith nearly lobbed the keeper from near the halfway line (Van Der Sar only just managed to scramble back in time).
United controlled the game, but failed to take their chances. Fortunately, Tim Howard was on fine form, and Andy Cole had a bad day.
United now have two weeks off, as Internationals are being played. And Chelsea will be charged for the Ashley Cole affair (Though most people are not expecting them to have points deducted).
Man Utd: Howard, Brown, Ferdinand, Silvestre, Heinze, Ronaldo, Scholes (Phil Neville 90), Keane, Fortune, van Nistelrooy (Smith 77), Rooney (O'Shea 83).
Subs Not Used: Carroll, Gary Neville.
Goals: Ronaldo 21.
Fulham: Van der Sar, Rosenior, Knight, Goma, Bocanegra, Jensen (Radzinski 89), Malbranque, Clark, Diop (Legwinski 64), Boa Morte, Cole.
Subs Not Used: Volz, Crossley, John.
Ref: A D'Urso (Essex).