EPL 2012: Manchester United beat Fulham 3-2
Manchester: New signing Robin van Persie helped Manchester United overcome a slow start at Old Trafford to beat Fulham 3-2 in the Premier League on Saturday.
Van Persie, who joined United from Arsenal earlier this month, scored his first goal for his new club in the 10th minute to equalize after the visitors opened the scoring through Damien Duff in the 3rd.
Midfielder Shinji Kagawa, another United summer signing, gave the home side the lead in the 35th and Rafael Da Silva added a third in the 41st.
Fulham clawed one back in the second half through Nemanja Vidic`s own goal in the 64th, but despite several shaky moments from goalkeeper David De Gea, United held on for its first victory of the campaign.
United started with Wayne Rooney on the bench after the England striker struggled for form in the team`s league opener against Everton, a 1-0 defeat on Monday.
Rooney came on as a substitute in the 68th minute for Kagawa but his appearance was cut short when he was forced off in stoppage time after he suffered a deep cut on the right leg in a clash with Hugo Rodallego. United manager Alex Ferguson said after the game that the striker will be out for four weeks.
But since the arrival of van Persie and Kagawa, Rooney`s absence is unlikely to be as keenly felt by United as it would have been last season.
Both new arrivals stood out in a frenetic first half in which it was the visitors who struck first. Bryan Ruiz rolled a free-kick into Duff`s path that the Irishman slotted into the net before Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt, a United guest of honor, had even taken his seat.
With the defeat at Everton still fresh in its mind, the home team wobbled but did not fold.
Van Persie leveled with the clinical efficiency typical of last season`s top Premier League goalscorer. Meeting Patrice Evra`s left-wing cross perfectly, the Dutchman flashed a shot wide of Mark Schwarzer before turning to receive the acclaim of his teammates.
Kagawa then started pulling the strings in midfield for Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia, who both went close.
But when Van Persie`s corner was half-cleared to Tom Cleverley, Schwarzer could only turn the midfielder`s shot into the path of Kagawa, who - profiting from Sascha Riether`s failure to get out of the six-yard box quickly - swept home from close range.
Restored to the starting lineup following his Olympic campaign with Brazil, Rafael provided additional security at the back.
He also had a goal correctly ruled out for offside before nodding home Young`s chip to the far post just before the break.
Yet, for all United`s attacking endeavors, the side remains vulnerable at the back, where injuries have taken their toll.
Once again pressed into service as an emergency center half, Michael Carrick came close to turning the ball into his own net.
And when United did concede a second, it proved a comedy of errors as de Gea came to punch Matthew Briggs` cross, got nowhere near it and the ball eventually bounced off Vidic and rolled in.
De Gea redeemed himself with two brilliant saves to deny Mousa Dembele and, in Fulham`s last attack, Ruiz, who had been set up by Dembele.