Belfast Telegraph

Rooney double secures United win

Wayne Rooney gave himself an early 27th birthday present as his double in Manchester United's 4-2 win against Stoke took him to 200 club goals.

It was a strange day for Rooney though, who also became the first United player to score at both ends in a league game since David Beckham in 2001.

In fact, it was an odd afternoon all told given the own goal meant United once again had to come from behind, recovering courtesy of Rooney, Robin van Persie and Danny Welbeck, only to require Rooney's second to ease nerves created by a Michael Kightly goal for the visitors.

The thrills will only partially divert attention away from Rio Ferdinand's decision to snub Sir Alex Ferguson by refusing to wear the Kick It Out anti-racism T-shirts worn by all his outfield team-mates in the pre-match warm-up.

Ferguson's mood would have darkened further when Stoke went ahead as Rooney nudged Charlie Adam's free-kick into his own net.

Welbeck, twice, and Patrice Evra wasted glorious opportunities to equalise before Van Persie and Rooney linked up to drag the hosts level, the latter converting the Dutchman's centre.

Van Persie then made it 2-1 by slotting in Antonio Valencia's cross. A minute after the break, Rooney was the provider with a cross that invited Welbeck's flying header.

Jonny Evans was denied a fourth by Asmir Begovic's magnificent save and Welbeck was inches away from turning home Rafael's cross as he slid in at the far post.

But Stoke then hit back with Kightly finishing calmly after the ball ricocheted into his path off Ferdinand.

Rooney was destined to end a hero, though, and made sure of the points by tucking in Van Persie's low cross.


From Belfast Telegraph