Manchester United vs. Crystal Palace: Final score 2-0, Palace doomed by red card

Michael Regan

It wasn't a vintage performance by Manchester United, but it was good enough. Scuffling in the league after being held scoreless by both Chelsea and Liverpool, Crystal Palace would have been seen as the ideal tonic for the defending champions. They proved to be a far harder nut to crack than David Moyes would have liked, but a penalty and a red card on the verge of halftime opened them up and eventually the hosts were able to secure a 2-0 victory.

The first half was tense and tight, and indeed could have seen the visitors go ahead after Dwight Gayle managed to lose Rio Ferdinand and beat David de Gea only to put his scooped finish just wide of the far post. Just prior to that attempt, Robin van Persie had rattled the crossbar after being picked out by Wayne Rooney's excellent cross-field ball -- United's best piece of open play in a disappointing half.

The tenor of the match changed in the 44th minute. Ashley Young seized on a defensive error and went charging into the box. The winger was barged off the ball by Kagisho Dikgacoi, leaving referee Jonathan Moss pointing to the spot. And he brandished a red card to boot. Van Persie sent Julian Speroni the wrong way, and the hosts were never going to look back after that.

After the break, things were fairly one-sided. Marouane Fellaini was introduced to the Old Trafford faithful to some fanfare, and the former Everton man nearly managed to open his account for the season with a vicious half-volley that Speroni was able to claw away. But it was a United stalwart who'd seal victory, with Rooney taking advantage of an Adnan Januzaj-won free kick to send a delightful strike curling inside the near post.

A deserved win for United then, but thanks to the circumstances, not a particularly impressive one.

Manchester United: De Gea, Evra, Ferdinand, Vidic, Fabio, Anderson (Fellaini, 62'), Carrick, Young (Januzaj, 67'), Rooney, Valencia, van Persie (Hernandez, 79')

Goals: Van Persie, 45' (pen); Rooney, 81'.

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Mariappa, Moxey, Delaney, Gabbidon, Campaña (Guedioura, 59'), Dikgacoi, Jedinak, Gayle (Jerome, 64'), Chamakh (Kebe, 75'), Puncheon

Follow @SBNationSoccer on TwitterLike SB Nation Soccer on Facebook

More in Soccer:

The real reason FIFA voted for Qatar 2022

Could Bale and Ronaldo be unstoppable at Real Madrid?

The legend: Dejan Stankovic

MLS targeting southeast expansion

Mexico hires Victor Manuel Vucetich

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.