Van Persie heroics marred by Rooney injury
LONDON, Aug 25, 2012 (AFP) - Robin van Persie marked his first start for Manchester United with a sublime goal, but his side's 3-2 victory over Fulham was marred by a nasty injury to Wayne Rooney on Saturday.
Van Persie had little chance to contribute during a brief substitute appearance in United's lacklustre defeat at Everton on Monday, but the striker took just 10 minutes to make his mark at Old Trafford with a brilliant volley to cancel out Damien Duff's opener.
Inspired by the £24 million Dutch forward, United went on to secure their first win of the season, but the result was overshadowed by Rooney's injury late in the second half which left the England striker, who was stretchered off, with blood streaming from a deep gash in his thigh after he was caught by Hugo Rodallega.
Fulham had stunned United when Irish winger Duff, who retired from international this week, fired home from just inside the penalty area in the third minute.
But that brought a scintilating response from van Persie, who levelled with a blistering volley from Patrice Evra's cross.
Like van Persie, former Borussia Dortmund star Shinji Kagawa was making his first appearance at Old Trafford and he marked the occasion with his maiden United goal, tapping in when Mark Schwarzer parried Tom Cleverley's pass into his path.
United defender Rafael da Silva added a third goal four minutes before half-time with a header from Ashley Young's cross.
Nemanja Vidic's 64th minute own goal gave Fulham a glimmer of hope, but it was Rooney's injury that proved the last noteworthy action.
Everton, often hampered by slow starts to the season, maintained their 100 percent record with a 3-1 win over 10-man Aston Villa.
South Africa midfielder Steven Pienaar gave David Moyes' side the perfect start as he struck from 25 minutes in the third minute at Villa Park.
Marouane Fellaini, the goal-scoring hero of Everton's surprise victory over Manchester United, increased the lead with a 31st minute header that eluded Villa goalkeeper Shay Given too easily.
Any thoughts of Villa avoiding their second successive defeat under new boss Paul Lambert were ended just before the break when Croatia striker Nikica Jelavic swept home a Leighton Baines cross.
To add insult to injury for Villa, defender Ciaran Clark earned a straight red card for a professional foul on Jelavic in the second half.
Karim El Ahmadi's first goal for Villa in the 74th minute was little consolation for the hosts.
Andre Villas-Boas was denied a first win as Tottenham manager as James Morrison's late goal clinched a 1-1 draw for West Bromwich Albion at White Hart Lane.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto struck for Tottenham in the 74th minute with a deflected shot, but Steve Clarke's side levelled through Morrison in stoppage-time.
Norwich and QPR, both thrashed 5-0 last weekend, shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw at Carrow Road.
Chris Hughton's side took the lead when Simeon Jackson headed home Anthony Pilkington's cross in the 11th minute.
But QPR were level within nine minutes. Djibril Cisse won a penalty when he was fouled by Sebastien Bassong and, although John Ruddy made a fine save to keep out the French striker's spot-kick, Bobby Zamora was on hand to turn in the rebound.
Wigan showed there is life after Victor Moses as the Latics won 2-0 at Southampton.
With Nigeria striker Moses joining Chelsea on Friday, Wigan boss Roberto Martinez needed his other forwards to step up and Franco Di Santo rose to the challenge as the Argentine hammered a powerful shot into the roof of the net in the 51st minute.
Arouna Kone completed Wigan's victory with a fine solo effort in the 89th minute.
Sunderland's match against Reading was postponed less than 90 minutes before kick-off due to a waterlogged pitch at the Stadium of Light.
Later on Saturday, Chelsea host Newcastle, while on Sunday Arsenal travel to Stoke and champions Manchester City take on Liverpool at Anfield.