Manchester United 2 v 1 Norwich City
Old Trafford, Manchester
21st August 2004
United managed to get their first points on the board with a home-victory over newly-promoted Norwich City. Even playing without Rio, Ruud, Saha and Ronaldo, and with Keane and Scholes out of position the Reds had too much fire-power for the Canaries. The Irish captain has played most games this season in centre of defence, and is growing into the role despite his insistence that he wants to continue as a midfielder.
The game started with Manchester United possession, though like against Chelsea they failed to turn possession into clear-cut chances.
On the half-hour mark Bentley, on loan from Arsenal, struck the crossbar with a 30 yard shot which seemed to pump the United players up for the game again.
Just two minutes later Bellion was able to prod home from close-range after a giggs cross was flicked on towards the back post by new-boy Alan Smith.
United grabbed their second to give them their seemingly comforable win on 50 minutes. Giggs again crossed to Smith, who exquisitely took the ball down on his chest, turned and volleyed towards the back post, which it hit and rolled into the net. Surely an early contender for goal of the season.
Norwich rallied and managed to grab a goal, but United were rarely under pressure, and were able to see the game out.
Ronaldo cameo-ed on 85 minutes, with a few nice touches and some very difficult tricks performed to Olympian standards.
Overall an encouraging display by United.
Man Utd: Howard, Gary Neville (Phil Neville 73), Keane, Silvestre, O'Shea, Bellion (Richardson 74), Miller (Ronaldo 85), Djemba-Djemba, Giggs, Smith, Scholes.
Subs Not Used: Carroll, Eagles.
Goals: Bellion 32, Smith 50.
Norwich: Green, Helveg, Fleming, Charlton, Drury, Bentley (McKenzie 76), Francis, Holt, Jonson (McVeigh 45), Huckerby, Svensson (Doherty 69).
Subs Not Used: Edworthy, Ward.
Goals: McVeigh 75.
Ref: N Barry (N Lincolnshire).