United 2 - 0 Fulham

  • 4 December 2007

Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice to help Manchester United see off Fulham and move second, closing the gap on Premier League leaders Arsenal to three points.

Ferguson must be grateful that Ronaldo is in such sublime form - he has now notched 13 goals this season and scored in each of his last five games. But the rest of United's strikeforce, including the returning Wayne Rooney, were unable to capitalise on their side's bright start.

Despite the ease of United's victory, they were strangely out of sorts for long periods and their lack of cohesion in the final third will be a concern for boss Sir Alex Ferguson.

Such was the pressure on the visitors' defence a goal looked inevitable and it duly arrived in the 10th minute. Davis only succeeded in heading a Ryan Giggs corner back into the danger zone and Nemanja Vidic headed on for Ronaldo to find the top corner with a sublime volley.

Tevez was unlucky not to extend that lead when he met another Giggs cross but saw his shot hit Niemi, who knew little about it.

But from then on Ferguson's men seemed to lose their way, and they were almost punished. First Murphy forced a fine save from Edwin van der Sar after a neat build-up and then, from the resulting corner, the former Liverpool midfielder curled his shot inches wide.

It took Ronaldo's second goal to lift United out of their lethargy, and it was another clinical finish. Substitute John O'Shea curled in a cross from the left and Ronaldo leapt above Dejan Stefanovic to head home.

That was the cue for United to belatedly rediscover their free-flowing football from earlier in the game. But further goals failed to materialise, with Rooney screwing his shot wide after being fed by Giggs and Louis Saha being denied by another fine Niemi save.

Ronaldo was undoubtedly the star of the show but he was unable to finish the game with a flourish - his final act of note seeing him harshly booked after he raced on to a Giggs pass and fell as he tried to hurdle Niemi. Niemi immediately gestured that there had been no contact and referee Rob Styles showed Ronaldo a yellow card.

Man Utd: Van der Sar, Brown, Ferdinand (Carrick 75), Vidic, Evra (O'Shea 46), Ronaldo, Hargreaves, Anderson, Giggs, Tevez, Rooney (Saha 71).

Subs Not Used: Kuszczak, Fletcher.