Barclays Premier League
18/02/2009, Old Trafford
MANCHESTER UNITED 3
(Scholes 12, Berbatov 30, Rooney 63)
United: Van der Sar, O'Shea (Evans, 62), Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Ronaldo, Carrick (Gibson, 69), Scholes, Park, Berbatov ( Rooney, 61), Tevez. Subs not used: Rafael, Fletcher, Kuszczak, Nani.
Fulham: Schwarzer, Paintsil (Dacourt, 67), Hangeland, Hughes, Kallio, Baird, Gera (Brown, 86), Murphy (Milsom, 80), Davies, Dempsey, Zamora. Subs not used: Zuberbuhler, Smalling, Gray, Nevland.
Goals from Dimitar Berbatov, Wayne Rooney and the inspirational Paul Scholes sealed a comfortable home win over Fulham three years ago.
The champions' superiority was rarely in doubt from the 12th minute when Scholes beat Mark Schwarzer with a trademark howitzer from Michael Carrick’s corner. The scorer was involved in United's second goal after half an hour, when his clever pass was knocked across goal by John O'Shea and Berbatov nipped between the indecisive duo of Schwarzer and Aaron Hughes to tap the ball over the line.
Berbatov made way for Rooney’s return on the hour mark and the substitute needed only two minutes – and just one touch - to make it 3-0 to United. Patrice Evra’s cross from the left landed perfectly for Ji-sung Park and although the Korean’s shot was going wide, Rooney ghosted in behind a defender to steer it home first-time.
This tenth straight victory in all competitions put United five points and nine goals clear of nearest challengers Liverpool, having played the same number of games in the race for the 2008/09 Barclays Premier League title.