MATCH ARTICLES

26/04/2014 19:16, Report by Tim Oscroft
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The Match: Off to a flyer

Read our detailed evaluation of United's 4-0 win over the Canaries...

The match

: United were positive from the outset, but didn't quite play with the cutting edge that the fans wanted. Norwich’s intentions were clear – frustrate, soak it up and try to nick something if the moment came. Goals change games, as they say, and the penalty for United just before the break and the quick follow-up strike from Wayne Rooney early in the second period ensured mostly one-way traffic for the rest of the match. Once the deadlock was broken, the Reds played with confidence, and only a couple of spurned chances plus fine work from the rightly highly-rated John Ruddy kept it down to only 4-0.

The goals: Rooney’s penalty was emphatic – firmly struck to Ruddy’s left, with the Norwich stopper diving the other way. For his follow-up, Rooney was given the freedom of the slick Old Trafford pitch, the Norwich defence allowing him to run across the face of the box before curling the ball in off the post. The furious reaction of the Canaries’ keeper spoke volumes of the way his back four gave Rooney the opportunity, but it was still a lovely finish. For the third, Phil Jones’ low cross cut through the porous Norwich defence and allowed Juan Mata, on the pitch for only three minutes, to stab the ball home from close range. The fourth saw Patrice Evra’s cross to the far post cut back by Antonio Valencia, allowing Mata to stoop the deflected effort home for a rare headed goal.

Star man: Shinji Kagawa built on a good few recent outings with another influential display, helping turn the screw either side of half-time just when it could have become a frustrating first afternoon in charge for Giggs. The reception the Japanese playmaker received when substituted showed that he is becoming a key figure.

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