A frantic first half-hour gave away to a power outage, a boring second half, and one world class finish at Craven Cottage. Wayne Rooney rescued the world from a 45-minute or so spell of dour football, firing his team to a 1-0 victory with an excellent goal in the second half.
Both goalkeepers were called into action early on in the game. Mark Schwarzer had to make a save on a deflected corner in the 10th minute, and Patrice Evra hit the crossbar with his follow-up. In the 13th minute, David De Gea came up big with a save on a swerving shot by John Arne Riise. He had to make another stop three minutes later, when he tipped Bryan Ruiz's shot onto the post. Rooney had United's best chance of the first half, striking the post from 15 yards in the 33rd minute.
Just before halftime, the floodlights inexplicably shut off at Craven Cottage while the scoreboard and ad boards remained illuminated. After a stoppage of just over five minutes, the lights came back on and the players returned to the pitch to finish the second half.
Very little of note happened in the second half until Fulham sparked things to life on a corner, where Rafael was forced to clear a header by Ruiz off the line. Shortly afterwards, United struck back with a counter that resulted from what was more likely a clearance than a thoughtful long pass. It came from Evra, and eventually found Rooney after a dummy run backwards by Javier Hernandez fooled the Fulham defense. Rooney was allowed to run onto the ball uncontested and placed a great shot to the far post from just inside the penalty area to put his team ahead.
That sparked a frantic finish, though no more goals were produced. Robin van Persie squandered a golden chance on 84 minutes, when he was left unmarked in the box, but opted to try a dramatic scissor kick rather than controlling the ball. He hit his shot well over the bar. Fulham had another header off a corner cleared off the line in stoppage time, which was followed up by Schwarzer denying Hernandez on a one-on-one during the ensuing counter.
Fulham continued to assault the United goal until the final whistle, to no avail.