Premier League

February 26, 2005

Full-time

Manchester United

2 - 1

Portsmouth

Premier League

17:15 +00:00, February 26, 2005

Old Trafford, England

Referee: M Halsey

  • 91'

    FULL TIME: Rooney's goal ten minutes from time ended half-an-hour of frustration for United. Chelsea's lead is cut to six points at the top of the Premiership.

  • 90'

    Giggs almost gets on the end of a Smith knock-down, but De Zeeuw clears.

  • 89'

    Lua Lua takes control of a short free-kick and lashes a shot high over the bar from 30 yards out.

  • 87'

    Giggs latches on to a Smith lay-off and crashes a volley so very high over the bar. He looks ashamed of himself, and rightly so.

  • 86'

    Kamara breaks in to the box but can't find a Portsmouth man with his low cross. Mezague then thumps a shot against his own man; it looked to be flying in to the top corner.

  • 85'

    67,989 fans have watched the game inside Old Trafford this evening - a record attendance for a Premiership match.

  • 83'

    SUB: Van Nistelrooy off, Fortune on. A move to close out the match from Ferguson.

  • 82'

    Kamara comes on for Portsmouth as they bid to try and snatch another equaliser. It looks unlikely, but you never know.

  • 81'

    A great deal of relief around Old Trafford at the moment. To be fair, United thoroughly deserve all the points; they have dominated the possession all game.

  • 80'

    GOAL! Van Nistelrooy finds Rooney on the edge of the box, and the England man drifts past Stefanovic before staying calm and picking his spot with a side-foot finish past Chalkias.

  • 79'

    The visitors are using all the tactics they can think of to waste a bit of time and snatch the draw.

  • 78'

    Neville was angered by a two-footed challenge from Taylor, but replays showed that the Portsmouth man got the ball.

  • 77'

    Neville and Taylor shove each other after a strong challenge from the Portsmouth man. Both are yellow carded.

  • 76'

    A Rooney volley from the edge of the box is blocked by De Zeeuw; a very important effort from the Portsnmouth captain.

  • 75'

    Yakubu and Heinze exchange words after the striker fouled the left-back, but play goes on. United are looking increasingly frantic.

  • 74'

    It takes a great last-ditch tackle from Griffin to stop Rooney in full flight, before Van Nistelrooy's first effort of the game - a looping header - is easily saved by Chalkias.

  • 73'

    Yakubu takes the ball in to the corner, and make-shift left-back Van Nistelrooy clatters in to him to give away a free-kick.

  • 72'

    More sharp passing on the edge of the box from United but they still can't fashion a chance.

  • 71'

    It's a bit of a seige at the moment. Giggs sprints down the left, his cross is put out for a corner by De Zeeuw.

  • 69'

    Mezague almost puts Taylor in trouble with a sloppy pass, but the left-back sweeps up well. Portsmouth still need to be careful.

  • 68'

    Rooney teams up with Ronaldo to work some space before crashing a low shot just wide. Rooney is looking like the man most likely to provide the spark for the home side.

  • 67'

    Portsmouth win a corner from a swift counter-attack. Stone flights the ball in, but United head clear.

  • 66'

    United are currently playing 4-4-2, with Smith and O'Shea as the central midfielders. Not an orthodox line-up for the home side.

  • 65'

    A foul 25 yards out gives Giggs the chance to stamp his mark on the game early, but he whips his free kick well wide.

  • 64'

    SUB: Scholes off, Giggs on. It's a surprise to see Scholes going off; he's been good this evening.

  • 63'

    Will Ferguson be left to regret leaving out Keane, Ferdinand and Giggs?

  • 62'

    Ryan Giggs is seen stripping off on the United bench. A United corner finds its way to O'Shea on the edge of the box, but his shot is high and wide.

  • 60'

    Rooney is surrounded by three Portsmouth defenders as he moved down the left. Stefanovic eventually takes the ball off him, and the England striker gives away a free-kick in frustration.

  • 58'

    Van Nistelrooy does well to bring the ball down on the edge of the area, but he can't quite find Scholes with a reverse through-ball.

  • 58'

    Ronaldo wins a free kick with a piece of trickery on the left wing. He stands over the ball, but his low cross is cleared easily.

  • 57'

    Ronaldo fires in a low cross from the left, but Portsmouth have plenty players back and clear their lines. They are defending very deeply, however, inviting the pressure.

  • 56'

    The goal has also given Portsmouth a lot more belief, with Lua Lua now permanently up front alongside Yakubu.

  • 55'

    There is a definite frustration about United; they will be desperate to claim all the points this evening.

  • 54'

    Taylor breaks on to a loose ball, cuts inside and shoots - but his right-foot effort bobbles harmlessly in to the arms of Howard.

  • 53'

    SUB: Mezague on for the injured Richard Hughes. Mezague is on loan at Portsmouth from Marseille and is a strong, holding midfielder.

  • 50'

    There is a lot more urgency from both sides at the start of the second period; Portsmouth now sense they can hold on for a superb point, United know they need a goal.

  • 49'

    Portsmouth have really shocked United here; they looked so comfortable in the first half, but now need to step up a gear if they want to keep the pressure on Chelsea.

  • 48'

    Portsmouth fail to clear the corner properly, and Rooney crashes a volley just wide from a tight angle.

  • 47'

    Rooney lofts a beautiful ball towards Neville, but Taylor just manages to get his head on the pass to put the ball out for a corner.

  • 46'

    GOAL! O'Neil gets on the end of a blocked clearance by Brown to volley from Howard from 20 yards. United look stunned.

  • 46'

    Phil Neville has gone to right-back, with Smith moving in to midfield.

  • 45'

    Portsmouth kick off. United have made a change; Alan Smith on in place of Gary Neville, injured at the end of the first half.

  • 45'

    HALF TIME: Rooney's eighth Premiership goal of the season sends United in 1-0 to the good at half-time. But for all their possession, the game is still in the balance.

  • 45'

    Lua Lua finds some space on the left, but shanks his cross well out of play. Terrible play from the Pompey man.

  • 44'

    A strong challenge from Taylor leaves Neville on the deck. He receives some treatment on his ankle, but is back on his feet again - if a little gingerly.

  • 43'

    From Lua Lua's corner, De Zeeuw heads goalwards but Hughes can't react quick enough to turn in the equaliser.

  • 43'

    Another good cross from the right has United under pressure, but Brown puts the ball out for a corner.

  • 42'

    Griffin finds some space down the right and lofts in a decent ball. Yakubu wins the header but can't direct it on target.

  • 41'

    Ronaldo fires in a long-range shot which De Zeeuw blocks.

  • 39'

    Ronaldo and Neville combine to free O'Shea down the right, but his cross is scrambled clear. For all their possession, United haven't really created many chances.

  • 38'

    Rooney breaks in to the box down the left and chips over a lovely cross. Neville cuts the ball back to Ronaldo, but the youngster's shot from six yards is well over the bar.

  • 35'

    Another good cross from Neville; this time Scholes almost gets on the end of the ball before Chalkias.

  • 34'

    Skopelitis is found on the edge of the box by Yakubu, but his low shot is blocked by Silvestre in the area.

  • 33'

    Heinze's free-kick clatters in to the Portsmouth wall. A bit of a waste.

  • 32'

    Ronaldo is fouled on the edge of the box, but United are furious that Referee Halsey didn't allow the advantage, with Scholes closing in on goal.

  • 31'

    Portsmouth finally break with a little conviction, but Lua Lua is loose with his pass and United stream forward.

  • 29'

    Neville swings over another good ball, but Van Nistelrooy seems surprsied to find it reaching him. The referee spots a handball in his control.

  • 28'

    Rooney clips a delicate ball in to the box, narrowly missing the leaping Van Nistelrooy. Scholes almost gets on the loose ball, but Portsmouth clear.

  • 27'

    Yakubu pounces on a mistake from Hezine and moves towards goal, but Scholes tracks back to tackle well and stop the danger.

  • 26'

    Rooney, from a long way out, fires a shot well wide of Chalkias' right-hand post.

  • 25'

    The crowd, too, have gone a little quiet. They must have expected a rout after that explosive start from the home side.

  • 24'

    Taylor fires over a dangerous cross but Pompey only have one man in the box, and he was deeper than Taylor expected. Porstmouth are realing finding it tough.

  • 23'

    Rooney is roaming free of his position on the left of United's attack; he pops up at right back in search of the ball, looking to dictate the play.

  • 21'

    Ronaldo teases Taylor on the United right; a couple of step-overs later and he clips a cross in to the box. It's well collected by Chalkias, though.

  • 20'

    The game has gone a little quiet since the goal, but United still look in absolute control; they appear as though they could turn on the style at any moment.

  • 19'

    This is the first time in Rooney's career that he has scored in three consecutive Premiership games. It was his 14th goal of the season.

  • 18'

    Hezine sportingly puts the ball out of play after Yakubu is caught in a challenge by Brown.

  • 17'

    Pompey win a corner. It's taken short and whipped in by Lua Lua, but his cross evades everyone. United break with pace through Rooney.

  • 16'

    Great work from O'Neil takes him past Heinze but his cross is blocked by Brown.

  • 15'

    Scholes brilliantly breaks in to the box and tries to find Van Nistelrooy with a low cross. It's well defended, but breaks to Rooney. An off-side flag ends a scramble for the loose ball.

  • 14'

    United look so comfortable; playing the ball about at the back before picking a pass to one of their midfielders in space.

  • 13'

    Another promising run from Van Nistelrooy ends under a Taylor tackle. He is feeling his way back, but certainly looks to have lost nothing through the injury.

  • 11'

    Another deep cross from Neville is well taken by the Porstmouth goalkeeper. His opposite number, Howard, has barely touched the ball as yet.

  • 10'

    This could be a great Saturday for United, with their rivals Arsenal only managing a draw at Southampton earlier in the day. They look in great touch.

  • 9'

    Ronaldo is felled on the right wing by Lua Lua, giving United the chnace to swing over a cross. Scholes puts the ball in, but Portsmouth clear.

  • 8'

    GOAL! Rooney brilliantly anticipates Neville's left-foot cross and half-volleys past Chalkias. Great finish from around seven yards out.

  • 7'

    Van Nistelrooy finds a little space on the edge of the box, but Taylor takes the ball from his foot as he looked to pull the trigger.

  • 6'

    Van Nistelrooy is starting his first game for United since his Achilles Tendon injury. He looks quite sharp, and is moving well. He leads a three-man attack with Rooney and Ronaldo.

  • 5'

    Scholes is penalised for a foul in the centre circle, and Pompey break well. The south coast side are not in the best of form at the moment; they'll be delighted with a draw.

  • 4'

    Of course, if United win todad they will cut Chelsea's lead at the top of the Premiership to just six points. Yakubu drags a left-foot shot well wide.

  • 3'

    Van Nistelrooy breaks down the right but his cross is blocked, with Rooney waiting eagerly. A good start from United.

  • 2'

    Portsmouth are lining up with just Yakubu up front on his own. They've packed the midfield with five hard-working men, hoping to stifle the Reds.

  • 1'

    United kick off and win a corner within 18 seconds with a swift and precise attack. Scholes whips the ball in, Ronaldo heads but Chalkias takes comfortably.

  •  

    Neither Patrik Berger nor Jamie Ashdown were deemed fit enough to start for the visitors, who were the last team to beat United in the Premiership back in October but who have not registered an Old Trafford win since 1957.

  •  

    Ferguson did include Ruud van Nistelrooy though, the prolific Dutchman back in league action for the first time in three months following his 30-minute outing against Milan.

  •  

    Roy Carroll has paid the price for his howler against AC Milan midweek as he is replaced in the United goal by Tim Howard.