Hull City 1-3 Man Utd

Wayne Rooney was involved in every goal as he atoned for an error to inspire Manchester United to a 3-1 victory over Hull City in the Premier League at the KC Stadium.

The England star scored his club's first before playing a disastrous back-pass in the build-up to Craig Fagan's penalty-spot equaliser, but he then assisted an Andy Dawson own goal and Dimitar Berbatov's tap-in as United returned to second in the table.

A drab first half had been marked by an overall wastefulness from both teams, however, Rooney punished Hull on the stroke of the interval as he converted a Darren Fletcher cross for his 13th league goal of the season.

But Phil Brown's Tigers drew level in the 60th minute as Craig Fagan slotted a penalty following Rafael da Silva's push on Jozy Altidore, which came as a result of a disastrously short back-pass from United's No.10.

Rooney was clearly motivated to make amends and his low cross forced Dawson to turn into his own net in the 73rd minute before Berbatov applied the finishing touch to a crafty 82nd minute pass to ensure Sir Alex Ferguson's side moved to within two points of Chelsea and back above Arsenal.

After last week's injury-influenced debacle at Fulham, United welcomed back a trio of defenders in Rafael, Wes Brown and Nemanja Vidic.

That gave United a much more familiar look as Darren Fletcher and Michael Carrick returned to midfield roles while Ryan Giggs and Berbatov also came back the champions.

United started patiently but burst into life after five minutes as Antonio Valencia charged down the right.

The Ecuador international picked out Giggs with a well-flighted cross but the Welshman's volley dipped just over Boaz Myhill's bar.

Giggs was then inches away from scoring from a 16th minute free-kick after Rooney went down under a Kamil Zayatte challenge.

Hull weathered that storm and appealed for a penalty after making a rare break but Brown's challenge as Richard Garcia raced onto a Fagan ball was deemed fair.

Seyi Olofinjana tried his luck from long range for Hull but Tomasz Kuszczak was not troubled.

Rooney went close again for United as Hull waited in vain for an offside flag, forcing Myhill to palm over with a stinging shot.

Hull were unlucky not to take the lead after piecing together a brilliant move in the 28th minute.

Garcia began the attack with a weaving run before finding Fagan out wide. Fagan's perfect cross was met on the volley by Olofinjana on the six-yard line but Kuszczak saved to his right.

Hull survived a real scare when Myhill sliced a clearance but Giggs and Rooney were unable to take advantage of an unexpected opening.

The Tigers spurned another good opportunity as Olofinjana found Stephen Hunt on the left but the Irishman shot tamely across goal.

Rafael then beat the offside trap at the end of an intricate move on the edge of the Hull box but Myhill saved brilliantly from the Brazilian.

Pressure finally paid off as Hull failed to clear a Fletcher cross and Rooney tapped in from close range during two minutes of stoppage time.

United were relieved but Rooney turned villain with a horrendous error just before the hour.

Rooney played Kuszczak into trouble with a weak back-pass and Fagan nipped in to win the ball.

Fagan's touch took it too wide to shoot but he turned and lofted in a cross for Altidore, who was bundled over by the backtracking Rafael.

Referee Alan Wiley, meeting with Ferguson for the first time since their infamous fall out, pointed to the spot and Fagan, taking over spot-kicking duties, stepped up to coolly slot an equaliser.

United almost reclaimed the lead moments later as Brown rose to meet a corner but Myhill clawed the ball away from under his bar as Rooney threatened.

Hull went close from their own corner as Garcia met a Hunt cross but his header flashed across goal.

Evra, booked in the first half, was fortunate to escape a second yellow card for holding back Fagan as Hull tried to launch another counter-attack.

Rooney then redeemed himself by forcing the own goal that put United back in front after 73 minutes.

Hull were caught as United broke from deep and Giggs put Rooney through. The angle was a tight one but Hull could not get back quickly enough and Rooney's cross was turned in by Dawson.

There was no way back for Hull and Berbatov finished the job eight minutes from time, although he owed much to Rooney.

The England man was allowed to stroll into the area from halfway as Hull reacted slowly to a long Vidic header and then picked out Berbatov at the far post with a measured ball. The Bulgarian had a simple task to slide home.

Hull showed spirit as Bernard Mendy and Fagan shot wide and their performance should offer encouragement for Tuesday's crunch clash at Bolton.

Source: Sky Sports
Date Published: 27 December 2009