Sun, Sep 16, 2007 - Page 24 News List

Vidic nets late winner for United

INJURY WOE: The first half ended on a worrying note for Manchester United as defender Mikael Silvestre was taken off with possible knee ligament damage

AFP , LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND

Everton's Joseph Yobo, center, and Phil Neville, right, win the ball from Manchester United's Carlos Tevez during their English Premier League match at Goodison Park in Liverpool, England, yesterday.

PHOTO: AP

Nemanja Vidic netted a late winner for Manchester United as Sir Alex Ferguson's champions continued their return to form with a 1-0 win over Everton yesterday.

United were heading for a frustrating goalless draw at Goodison Park when Vidic rose high above the home defense to power Nani's header into the back of the net with seven minutes remaining.

But United's victory came at a cost as Mikael Silvestre was stretchered off with suspected knee ligament damage which is expected to rule him out for a lengthy spell.

In addition Cristiano Ronaldo was booked for diving in the Everton penalty area on his return from a three-match ban.

In a game of few clear-cut chances, Vidic wasted a great chance for United before the break and Everton striker Andy Johnson had a header cleared off the line.

But just as Everton looked to have earned a creditable draw, Serbian defender Vidic made up for his earlier glaring miss with a typically powerful finish.

Ferguson opted against risking England striker Wayne Rooney, who is itching to return to action after recovering from the broken metatarsal he suffered on the opening day of the season.

It proved a wise choice after a bruising contest which saw Silvestre stretchered off in agony towards the end of the first half.

Everton were without first-choice keeper Tim Howard after the former United man failed to recover from a serious finger injury he sustained while playing for the US.

That paved the way for Stefan Wessels to make his first start yet the 28-year-old German did not have a serious save to make before the interval.

The hosts had their moments but lacked a killer touch in front of goal.

Nigerian striker Ayegbeni Yakubu, making his home debut following an ?11.25 million (US$22.5 million) move from Middlesbrough, proved a handful and went close to making a third minute breakthrough when he cleverly turned Rio Ferdinand on the edge of the United box before firing narrowly wide.

The half ended on a worrying note for United as Silvestre was taken off after he tried to cut out a pass by Mikel Arteta on the edge of his own penalty area.

In a dramatic end to the half, United were fortunate not to have midfielder Paul Scholes dismissed.

Moments after the former England international had been booked for dissent, he hauled down Arteta with a clumsy challenge, yet referee Alan Wiley chose to give Scholes a lecture rather than show him the red card.

Although there was no Rooney, United did have Ronaldo back and the Portuguese winger found himself back in hot water when he dived after Leon Osman's 71st minute challenge in an attempt to win a penalty.

It earned him a yellow card from Wiley but Ronaldo had the last laugh as Vidic gave United all three points with a well placed header after Scholes had volleyed a great chance over the bar.

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