Manchester United FC struggled to convert their domination into goals as they defeated Middlesbrough FC 1-0 at Old Trafford tonight courtesy of a Ruud van Nistelrooij penalty.
It was United's second win from four FA Premiership games and avenged two defeats by Middlesbrough last season, including a 1-0 loss at Old Trafford. The result lifted them into fourth place in the English top flight, two points behind early season leaders Tottenham Hotspur FC.
United, missing injured captain Roy Keane, went in front in the 27th minute when Van Nistelrooij, the leading scorer in the UEFA Champions League last season, went down as he tussled with visiting defender Ugo Ehiogu. Referee Mike Riley had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and the Dutchman, making his 50th appearance for United, drilled the spot-kick into the roof of the net.
Grew in confidence
United grew in confidence as the first half progressed and Ryan Giggs almost made it 2-0 when his low drive whistled past an upright. The second period began quietly with United content just to pass the ball around without ever threatening the Middlesbrough goal.
Middlesbrough had two good chances midway through the second period but Massimo Maccarone sliced his shot wide and George Boateng had his long-range effort pushed around the post by United goalkeeper Fabien Barthez.
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