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United off to winning start


Dimitar Berbatov

Dimitar Berbatov

Dimitar Berbatov

Dimitar Berbatov repaid the faith of Sir Alex Ferguson by sending Manchester United on their way to a comfortable season-opening 3-0 Premier League win over Newcastle.

Berbatov was handed a starting berth alongside Wayne Rooney and responded by drilling home an excellent 33rd-minute effort at Old Trafford.

The Bulgarian should have had another goal after half-time but, after Darren Fletcher had doubled the Red Devils' advantage, it was evergreen substitute Ryan Giggs who extended his record of scoring in every Premier League season when he latched on to Paul Scholes' pass and sent a first-time volley past Steve Harper.

It was part of another masterclass from man-of-the-match Scholes, who with every game must make Fabio Capello cringe at his failure to lure the 35-year-old out of international retirement for World Cup duty in the summer.

Andy Carroll was one of the major factors in Newcastle's promotion.

But after getting away from Nemanja Vidic with a superb run across the United box, he should have buried Joey Barton's corner instead of nodding a golden chance to put Newcastle ahead tamely wide.

United bagged the opener as Antonio Valencia showed admirable determination in getting back to win possession for his team which John O'Shea quickly moved forward to Scholes.

The old master wasted no time in pushing the ball towards Berbatov, who was marginally onside and steadied himself before drilling a shot from an acute angle into the far left corner.

Rooney then failed to control Patrice Evra's low cross and succeeded only in prodding the ball towards Fletcher, whose smart turn and finish brought an admiring nod of approval from the unselfish England man.

And it was the tracer-bullet accuracy of Giggs that proved to be the difference late on after he had been picked out by his old friend Scholes.