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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
19:22 22nd February 2014


Just as in the previous encounter this season, a penalty from Robin van Persie and a Wayne Rooney strike saw Palace go down 2-0 to the reigning Premier League champions at Selhurst Park.

The game turned on the hour mark when Marouane Chamakh brought down Patrice Evra in the box and van Persie dispatched the spot-kick before Rooney celebrated his new United contract by sealing the victory for David Moyes' men.

The Eagles began the game brightly without challenging the United goal, and indeed it was the Red Devils who had the ball in the net on 17 minutes. Van Persie found Adnan Januzaj inside the area but the youngster used his arm to guide the ball around Joel Ward before firing past Julian Speroni and it was correctly ruled out.

Palace survived a couple of scares soon after when Rooney clipped a dangerous ball towards the back post which Damien Delaney had to head up and away from danger, but that gave Nemanja Vidic the chance to nod home the rebound however couldn't guide his header on target.

David de Gea had to be alert when he dived low to stop a Jonathan Parr header creeping in after a big deflection off Chris Smalling, and then a Tom Ince cross found Chamakh in space and he attempted a downward header to beat the Spanish shot-stopper but it lacked the necessary power.

The chance of the half fell a couple of minutes before the break when Marouane Fellaini ran towards goal and played in van Persie. The Dutchman then found Juan Mata who let the ball come back to Fellaini, but with the corner of the goal gaping he curled his effort around the wrong side of the post.

The Eagles began the second half brightly and after a succession of corners put the visitors under pressure, a knock-down by Glenn Murray fell nicely for Jason Puncheon but his grass-cutter was straight at de Gea, and soon after Murray hooked an ambitious volley towards goal but against failed to test the United keeper.

With the hosts looking threatening the game turned on the hour mark when the Red Devils received a penalty. A pass by Januzaj allowed Evra to gallop into the area but he was clumsily tripped by Chamakh, and just as he did at Old Trafford in September van Persie sent Speroni the wrong way to open the scoring.

Aiming to level things up, Tony Pulis threw on Cameron Jerome in place of the tiring Murray and moments later the substitute went close when he shot on the turn and brought another fine low save from de Gea who managed to tip the attempt away.

And that proved crucial as two minutes later United were celebrating their second goal. Mata and Evra linked up on the left and the full-back found Rooney lurking just on the edge of the area in too much space, and the striker celebrated his new contract by firing a half-volley into the top corner.

Moyes' side had seemed to move up a gear and minutes later van Persie rattled the crossbar when he burst forward and took on Delaney, but Palace continued to try and find a way back into the game and a Yannick Bolasie blast caused de Gea to make another stop but ultimately United's defence wasn't to be breached.

Palace: Speroni, Ward, Dann, Delaney, Parr, Puncheon, Jedinak, Ledley, Ince (Gayle 85), Chamakh (Bolasie 74), Murray (Jerome 66). Subs not used: Hennessey, Gabbidon, Dikgacoi, Bannan.

Manchester United: De Gea, Smalling, Vidic, Ferdinand, Evra, Fellaini (Fletcher 88), Carrick, Januzaj (Giggs 80), Mata, Rooney, van Persie (Valencia 80). Subs not used: Lindegaard, Kagawa, Young, Hernandez.