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Old Trafford (ATT 75,399) 31st January 2009 - Kick off 17:30 Ref: M Halsey

Man Utd Manchester United vs Everton Everton

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Ronaldo on the spot in Utd win

Van der Sar sets a new record after 12th clean sheet in a row

Last Updated: 31/01/09 8:02pm

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Ronaldo: Celebrates penalty

Ronaldo: Celebrates penalty

Edwin van der Sar set a new Football League record as Cristiano Ronaldo's penalty earned Manchester United a 1-0 win over Everton.

Man of the match - Michael Carrick. He bossed the midfield, defending well and won the penalty. Moment of the match - Ronaldo's penalty. The winger blasted his penalty down the middle to open the scoring. Attempt of the match - Tevez's shot in the 71st minute. The striker's effort needed a good save from Howard in the Everton goal. Save of the match - Tim Howard in the eighth minute. Park Ji-sung's cross-cum-shot required a superb save from Howard as the ball seemed to be heading into the back of the net. Talking point - The penalty. Arteta missed his tackle on Carrick outside of the area, but then his trailing leg did seem to catch the United man on the heel inside the area.

Ronaldo's spot-kick late in the first half, after Michael Carrick had been felled, enabled United to open up a five-point gap at the top of the table.

And a further cause of cheer for the reigning champions was a 12th consecutive Premier League clean sheet for United keeper Van der Sar, which broke a record which had stood for 30 years.

Former United keeper Tim Howard showed smart reflexes after just 13 minutes as he stuck out a foot to turn Carlos Tevez's shot over the bar.

The post came to Everton's rescue on 26 minutes as Ronaldo's toe-poke came back off the upright and Tevez was offside as he tried to tuck home the rebound.

The breakthrough arrived a minute before half-time when a piece of skill from Carrick lulled Mikel Arteta into tripping the England midfielder just inside the box and Ronaldo stepped up to stroke home the penalty.

Carrick had a claim for another penalty early in the second half turned down by referee Mark Halsey after a challenge by Joleon Lescott, while the Everton defender pleaded for a late spot-kick after tussling with Rio Ferdinand.

The pattern of play was established as early as the fourth minute when Marouane Fellaini's foul on Carrick gave Ronaldo a chance to go for goal from 30 yards but he drilled his effort straight into the wall.

Pressure increases

Everton's Belgian midfielder committed his second foul at the other end when he pushed over Nemanja Vidic in trying to reach Leighton Baines' cross into the six-yard area.

In the seventh minute, Howard had to get down quickly to his right to tip the ball wide of the goal after Park Ji-Sung's low inswinging cross was left by the Everton defence.

Howard then denied his former club a certain goal when he somehow diverted Tevez's close-range shot over the crossbar as United increased the pressure.

When Everton did get a chance to threaten, from Leon Osman's 17th-minute right-wing corner, Van der Sar claimed easily.

Tim Cahill, usually so good in the air, was winning little of the ball against Rio Ferdinand despite Everton's attempts to reach him at every opportunity.

United, however, were having no problems creating chances and almost scored in the 25th minute when Ronaldo's toe-poke from just outside the area rebounded back off a post but as Tevez tried to convert the rebound he was flagged for offside.

The Portugal winger came close again two minutes later when Howard tipped over a long-range shot.

Carrick was next to try his luck but his volley from the left of the penalty area was just wide of the target.

But United finally made the breakthrough in the 44th minute. Carrick had gone past Arteta but the Spaniard hung out a trailing leg behind him and it caught the midfielder, who fell in the area.

After a moment's hesitation referee Halsey pointed to the spot and Ronaldo despatched his shot straight down the middle.

Just after the interval Steven Pienaar won a free-kick off Vidic but Arteta sliced the 35-yard effort horribly wide.

Moments later Carrick could have been awarded another penalty when he nicked John O'Shea's incisive through-ball past Lescott but despite the defender catching him Halsey waved away United's justifiable claims.

Tevez then blazed well wide from Park's right-wing cross as United looked to turn their dominance into a second goal.

Wary

The Argentina striker tried his luck with a low curling shot from the edge of the area but Howard saved comfortably.

United still had to be wary of Everton's set-piece prowess but Van der Sar was more than up to the challenge of dealing with Arteta's low 35-yard free-kick.

The visitors' problem was that they had not really tested the United goalkeeper and Everton manager David Moyes, who is currently without three strikers, had very little available on the bench to change that.

The 68th-minute introduction of Victor Anichebe for Fellaini was at least an attempt to freshen things up as Cahill dropped into an attacking midfield role to allow the youngster a run as centre-forward.

And Tevez's deflected free-kick almost put paid to those plans with Howard having to tip over the looping shot from under his own crossbar.

But there was still the odd scare for the hosts and Everton were screaming for a penalty when Lescott went down in a wrestling match with Ferdinand but Halsey was not convinced.

With those claims went the Toffees' hopes of snatching a draw - however undeserved - from the match.

Manchester UnitedTeam StatisticsEverton
1Goals0
11st Half Goals0
8Shots on Target3
6Shots off Target4
6Blocked Shots1
6Corners2
15Fouls17
3Offsides6
0Yellow Cards0
0Red Cards0
83.7Passing Success77.2
17Tackles16
70.6Tackles Success81.2
55.9Possession44.1
58Territorial Advantage42

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Matches

Table

Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Arsenal 0 0
2 Aston Villa 0 0
3 Burnley 0 0
4 Chelsea 0 0
5 Crystal Palace 0 0
6 Everton 0 0
7 Hull City 0 0
8 Leicester City 0 0
9 Liverpool 0 0
10 Manchester City 0 0
11 Manchester United 0 0
12 Newcastle United 0 0
13 Queens Park Rangers 0 0
14 Southampton 0 0
15 Stoke City 0 0
16 Sunderland 0 0
17 Swansea City 0 0
18 Tottenham Hotspur 0 0
19 West Bromwich Albion 0 0
20 West Ham United 0 0

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