EPL: Manchester United beat Chelsea 3-0

Man Utd exploited Chelsea defending on Sunday and went on to a 3-0 Premier League win with goals from Nemanja Vidic, Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov.

updated: January 12, 2009 07:50 IST
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Manchester, England:

Manchester United exploited some slack Chelsea defending on Sunday and went on to a 3-0 Premier League win with goals from Nemanja Vidic, Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov.

The win put United within a point of second-place Chelsea with two games in hand, and winning both of those home matches would allow the defending champions to overtake league leader Liverpool, which was held to a 0-0 draw at Stoke on Saturday.

Chelsea's first away loss of the season _ with Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho watching his former team for the first team since leaving in September 2007 _ will compound the pressure on current manager Luiz Felipe Scolari.

Liverpool leads the league with 46 points, four ahead of Chelsea, which barely troubled United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar at Old Trafford.

Vidic scored the opening goal in first-half injury time only moments after Cristiano Ronaldo had what appeared to be a legitimate goal disallowed because the referee hadn't given permission for United's previous corner to be taken. Vidic's downward header beat Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech at the far post after Berbatov had flicked on a corner from Ryan Giggs.

Ronaldo's header, which would have been his first Premier League goal since November, came after Rooney had nonchalantly rolled the ball into the corner and then pulled it out himself, appearing to leave the ball for Giggs to take. But Giggs instead collected the ball and ran in toward the center, then floated a cross into the penalty area for Ronaldo.

The linesman saw every touch of the training-ground move, but the goal was still ruled out, prompting Rooney and Giggs to argue furiously.

Although United did score from the retaken corner, it was a goal that the struggling Ronaldo could have used. Last season, he scored 42 goals in all competitions, and that should be enough to earn him the FIFA player of the award when the winner is announced on Monday in Zurich.

Chelsea fans taunted the Portugal winger with chants of "You should have gone in the summer." Since failing to join Real Madrid, Ronaldo has scored just 10 goals, half the tally at this stage last year.

Rooney, though, scored his ninth goal of the season in the 63rd minute to make it more comfortable for United. Ronaldo backheeled to Patrice Evra on the left flank and Rooney volleyed the France defender's cross through the legs of Ashley Cole beyond Cech.

Berbatov added the final goal in the 87th after he ran past Chelsea defender Franco di Santo to turn Ronaldo's free kick home.

United center back Rio Ferdinand's back spasms didn't clear up before kickoff, enabling Jonny Evans to continue partnering Vidic as they repelled the rare Chelsea threat.

Scolari deployed Didier Drogba on his own up front in the first half, but not even the introduction of Nicolas Anelka for the ineffective Deco at the break made a difference.