REPORTS & PREVIEWS

29/03/2014 14:45, Report by Adam Marshall
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The Match: Villans punished

Following our match report, we take a closer look at the confidence-boosting Old Trafford victory over Aston Villa...

The match United looked up against it when Aston Villa scored with a set-piece, following their first real attack of any threat, but Wayne Rooney's brace and second-half strikes by Juan Mata and Javier Hernandez turned things around in style. The Reds were pretty ruthless in front of goal and played with more confidence than was displayed in the derby defeat to Manchester City to ensure spirit is high ahead of Tuesday's visit of European champions Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

The goals Rafael fouled Gabriel Agbonlahor after Ashley Young lost possession to allow Ashley Westwood to flight a free-kick past David De Gea, despite the Spaniard getting a hand to it. The Reds responded with a cushioned header by Rooney from a Shinji Kagawa centre which kissed the post on the way in. Rooney added a first-half stoppage time with an unerring penalty, awarded for Leandro Bacuna's clear trip on Juan Mata after he had been fed by Kagawa. Mata calmed any nerves by steering in his first goal for the club on 57 minutes when the ball broke for him in the box. Adnan Januzaj provided menace when coming off the bench and his left-wing cross allowed fellow substitute Javier Hernandez to round things off nicely in the closing stages.

Star man Rooney led the line superbly but was ably supported by Mata and Kagawa, who showed their footballing nous. With David Moyes giving Rooney and Kagawa a breather, the fans were able to show an appreciation for their efforts while Mata clearly enjoyed notching his first goal for the club. 

Sub-plot Many felt the Reds would have one eye on Tuesday's Champions League clash with Bayern Munich and the selection of Alex Büttner suggested the manager wanted to give the Dutchman another run-out with Patrice Evra suspended in

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