Full-time - 90'
1 - 2
15:00 +00:00, August 14, 2011
The Hawthorns, England
Referee: Michael Jones
FULL TIME Well, after the opening half an hour it wasn't pretty from United but they have managed to eek out a win and save the blushes of their new keeper - again. Ashley Young gets the credit and United do what Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea couldn't - win on the opening day.
He nearly got his head on it too but De Gea claims the looping ball and chooses not to exploit an empty net with a quick ball into the deep.
West Brom win a free kick and Foster is going up!
Simon Cox is carded for a dive as Phil Jones came out to contest a 50/50.
Now Morrison neglects to shoot when he had space to fire on goal.
Tamas blazes a 30-yarder into the stands as the fourth official informs us there are four minutes added time to be played....
Brunt does manage to get a shot away and De Gea catches his low effort comfortably enough.
There seems a real reluctance on the part of the strikers on show today to shoot when an opportunity presents intself. Tchyoi tries to turn inside and out and back again when he should have had a pop first time, especially with De Gea's confidence brittle.
Long jogs off to warm applause and Simon Cox is on.
A challenge matched by Scharner who is carded for a clip on Rooney.
A meaty chalenge from Long on Cleverley.
Reid off, Gonazalo Jara on.
Nice turn and volley from Tchyoi but his effort flies over the bar.
To be fair to Young, he has looked the most likely to make something happen in this second half.
That is very harsh on West Brom. United have created very little in this half and now they've taken the lead via a double deflection.
A spell of United possession on the edge of the box ends when Young charges into the box, his ball across takes a double deflection and finds its way into the bottom corner.
GOAL Young squeezes one in!
De Gea gets a bump and concedes a corner before the referee finally takes pity on him and awards United a free kick.
Long is down again, after a bump from Cleverley, but the striker was on his way down before contact was even made.
Rio limps off, just like Vidic did before him, and Phil Jones comes on in his place. Added to the fact Rafael is out for 10 weeks, this is turning into a defensive crisis for Fergie.
Ferdinand looks like he has done a hamstring. Injury woes continue for United.
Unlucky for Tchyoi as he runs down the line to meet Shorey's ball but inadvertebntly back-heels the ball out of play.
Languid and lazy from Berbatov as he wastes possession.
Nani rises for a free header in the area but can't direct it on target.
West Brom's fans are increasing turning their ire on the referee. Long and Evans go shoulder-to-shoulder but United get the free kick.
Young tries another curler towards the top corner and though Foster dived, it was never threatening his net.
Long's run catches a static United defence out but the striker can't control the ball on the first bounce and he is crowded out by Ferdinand on the second. He wants a corner, the linesman says goal kick.
Manchester United's goalkeeper David De Gea is beaten by Shane Long's shot.
Welbeck trots off after an ineffectual game and Berbatov is on.
Nani's dink misses everyone as Reid manages to nudge Smalling out of the way.
Young outwits Brunt, who brings the winger down a foot outside the penalty area. Free kick, out to the right.
Tchyoi's underlines my point by booting a ball straight out of play from the touchline.
A fallow period of the game. It has gone a touch bland.
Inconsistent refereeing from Michael Jones as Morrison clips Cleverley and he fails to produce a booking. Fergie's chuckles ironically on the bench.
West Brom seem to be coping far better this half. They don't look anywhere near as vulnerable.
A very soft booking for Young as he was late on Long. Not malicious at all.
More slick passing between Young and Anderson finds Fabio near the byline and he wins a corner from Reid.
Young whips in a free kick and Rooney flicks on but Foster watches the ball sail two yards wide.
Evans heads on for Vidic, who is struggling with something. Looks like a knee perhaps.
A sloppy ball from Anderson offers West Brom a chance to break but though Mulumbu found Long his touch was far from confident and Fabio cleaned up.
De Gea is getting the full treatment from Baggies' fans whenever he touches the ball now. Naturally.
Looks like Evans is coming on for United....
Welbeck hasn't contributed all that much so far. I wonder how long it will be before we see Berbatov.
Fergie sent his troops out early for the second half and they have started well, Young winning a corner.
We start again...
Chelsea started their season with a 0-0 draw at Stoke but the game was not without controversy. Have a read about it here.
West Brom's Shane Long celebrates with team mate Nicky Shorey after scoring the equaliser.
HALF TIME A confident half from United ... for 37 minutes. Crisp, bright passing up front and chances galore, but De Gea dives over an innocuous Long shot and the champions find themselves level.
A scramble on the edge of the area as the half draws to a close. Morrison inadvertently handled the ball after falling over, then Welbeck finds Anderson who feeds Young but his curler is a long way wide.
More indecision from De Gea as he claws Tchyoi's cross into harm's way and Long fires a shot across the face from the resulting loose ball.
Now we see how a dodgy goalkeeper infects the rest of the defence. A harmelss ball is nodded up in the air but the keeper stands still on his line, and as it drops, Reid volleys over the bar.
The equaliser came just at the end of a spell of near total dominance from United. Fergie will be horrified to go in level.
Rio Ferdinand's reaction said it all, hands on bonce, head shaking in disbelief.
Young's delivery is good again but Foster manages to get this one out of the danger zone. Up the other end De Gea is wishing the ground would swallow him up.
Reid is yellowed for a horrible lunge on Young. Awful challenge.
Oh dear De Gea. From hero to villain. Long's shot is speculative at best, from an angle, and De Gea gets his feet wrong and dives over it. A howler.
GOAL Shane Long equalises!
From the corner United break and Cleverley nearly applies the finish to Rooney's threaded cross.
Great chance for West Brom and an excellent save from De Gea. A lovely lay-off from Long sends Scharner through and his powerful shot is parried behind by the Spaniard.
United have enjoyed 90% possession in the last five minutes.
A good few minutes for Cleverley, who jinks in and out and spins in a ball to the back post where Young was lumbering somewhat.
Nani finds Young, who seems to be the go-to man. His ball this time is poor.
Shane Long has had little service and not much purchase when the ball had landed at his feet.
A more settled pattern in the game now as United dominate possession and the Baggies feed off scraps.
It's Foster's turn to flap at a corner and as it drops Nani slices his volley over the bar from eight yards.
Another burst down the left from Fabio and United win another corner.
Shane Long has a go at goal from 25 yards out but pulls his shot harmlessly wide.
Given that United have looked vulnerable to balls in the box, West Brom's recent delivery has been very poor.
Balls into the box are causing United problems, as Reid fires a loose ball towards goal where Fabio makes the block. Corner.
It should be 2-0. Slick passing from United before Rooney fails to weight the right pass for Welbeck, but he keeps it alive with a return ball, Rooney moves it left to Nani who fires over from 16 yards out. Good chance.
More neat work from Young down the left but his final ball is a little lacking. There were numbers in the box too.
Stat attack: With his goal at West Brom, Rooney has now scored 11 goals in 2011, only Robin Van Persie has more (18).
Vidic wanders off the field for some treatment but is back on now. News emerging that Rafael is going to be out for 10 weeks after dislocating his shoulder in training.
Morrison finds a pocket of space and fires a shot wide. Disappointing by his standards.
Fergie's lot do look very sharp. Looks like their pre-season was well contrived.
Funny opening to the match, all United for five minutes, then all West Brom for the next five, then Rooney scores.
Rooney tries to make it two in two minutes with an angled drive from the edge of the box but this one arcs well wide.
A very simple one as Young feeds him on the edge of the box and Rooney fires low into the bottom corner with his left foot.
GOAL Rooney scores!
West Brom have turned it around here and now they are on top. Tchyoi wins another corner.
Another less than convincing flap from De Gea at a corner, Tchyoi tries to cut in and shoot but Young blocks.
John Brewin reminds me that not only did De Gea concede the most from long range in last season's La Liga, he also saved the most too. Make of that what you will.
Looks like West Brom have been told to shoot on sight, given De Gea's poor long-shot record in Spain, Scharner tries one here that dips and swerves wide.
De Gea fails his first test, flapping at the ball in, but Ferdinand is behind him to nod clear.
The Baggies are off and running as Tchyoi bullies Anderson into conceding a free kick on the edge of the box, near to the goalline.
Finally a pass from a West Brom player that finds another blue and white shirt.
Young's drilled ball gets a flick off Olsson and United have another corner.
Young wins a free kick from Reid as United continue their onslaught.
Total domination so far for United, and nearly a goal for Rooney as Young and Fabio combine neatly down the left.
We're all set....
Manchester United's average age today is 24 - the youngest in the top flight. The next generation?
West Brom's line up includes new signing Shane Long, who will play up front with Tchyoi. The other new face is Ben Foster, but apart from that it is a familiar Baggies line up.
As for the team news, both Tom Cleverley and Danny Welbeck start for Fergie's men. Smalling starts and Ashley Young gets a Premier League debut. Berbatov is benched.
And so it is the turn of the champions to begin their 2011/12 season, with a trip to West Brom. Having seen Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea drop points, a win would be the perfect start to their title defence.
David De Gea
West Bromwich Albion