FA Premier League
Fratton Park, Saturday 11 February 2006
MANCHESTER UNITED 3
Van Nistelrooy (18), Ronaldo (38, 45)
Portsmouth: Kiely, Pamarot, O'Brien, Primus, Taylor; O'Neil, Davis, Mendes, D'Alessandro (Routledge 45); Benjani, LuaLua. Subs not used: Ashdown, Karadas, Griffin, Hughes.
United: Van der Sar (Howard 45); Brown, Ferdinand, Vidic, Silvestre; Ronaldo, Fletcher, Giggs (Smith 45), Park; Rooney (Saha 82), van Nistelrooy. Subs not used: Evra, Richardson.
After disappointing away defeats to Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers, United were seeking a return to winning ways on the road when the Reds travelled to Portsmouth in February 2006.
The hosts at Fratton Park were busy battling relegation - only Sunderland sat below them in the league table and they looked in grave danger of losing their Premier League status after just three seasons in the top flight.
Action: The Reds wasted little time in imposing themselves on struggling Pompey. Ryan Giggs rounded Dean Kiely, only to see his shot hit the bar and fall kindly to Ruud van Nistelrooy who supplied a poacher's finish to open the scoring. Cristiano Ronaldo doubled the lead with a superb 30-yard strike and then made the game safe in first-half stoppage time, firing home a Rooney pass via a deflection. Despite a decent spell of second-half pressure, the home side could only breach the Reds once with Matt Taylor's late header.
Reaction: United finished the season strongly with 11 wins in the last 14 games but Chelsea still retained the league title, wrapping it up with a win over the Reds in late April.