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England round-up: Unbeaten United climb to fourth

Published: Tuesday 3 September 2002, 22.08CET
Ruud van Nistelrooij was the hero for Manchester United FC against Middlesbrough FC.

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Published: Tuesday 3 September 2002, 22.08CET

England round-up: Unbeaten United climb to fourth

Ruud van Nistelrooij was the hero for Manchester United FC against Middlesbrough FC.

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.

Defeats avenged
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.

Keane missing
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.

Good chances
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.

Beckham injury
The only blip for United, however, was the news that England captain David Beckham has been forced to withdraw from Sven-Göran Eriksson's squad to face Portugal on Saturday because of a calf injury. "He has had a calf injury all week and he has done well to play," said manager Sir Alex Ferguson. "But we have had to withdraw him from the international team."
Last updated: 04/09/02 13.36CET

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