Manchester United 2 (Di Maria 27, Falcao 62) Everton 1 (Naismith 55)
Radamel Falcao scored as Manchester United climbed into the top four with a thrilling 2-1 victory over Everton in the Premier League.
Angel Di Maria rifled the hosts ahead in a one-sided opening period, although Everton spurned a superb chance to equalise when Leighton Baines’ stoppage time penalty was expertly saved by David de Gea.
But the visitors, who were chasing a third successive victory over United for the first time since 1921, drew level when Steven Naismith finished a clever free-kick routine.
United restored their advantage when Di Maria’s wayward effort was poked home by Falcao before weathering a late storm which saw De Gea make two outstanding one-handed stop from substitute Leon Osman.
Maximum points ensured back-to-back wins for the first time in the Louis van Gaal era and carried United into fourth ahead of Sunday’s later kick-offs.
4’ – CHANCE! Luke Shaw whips in a delivery from the left, which Falcao meets with his head… Tim Howard saves down to his left.
7’ – CHANCE! Robin van Persie runs across John Stones and diverts Angel di Maria’s cross just over the woodwork.
27’ – GOAL! United 1-0 Everton. Rafael’s tempting delivery is cleared by Jagielka in unorthodox fashion. It falls to Mata, the Spaniard feeds Di Maria and the record signing rifles into the corner. United lead!
30’ – GREAT EFFORT! Di Maria lines up the free-kick. Surely not? The Argentine catches it sweetly, it flicks off Steven Naismith’s head and Howard scrambles across to save.
39’ – CHANCE! Lukaku bursts in behind McNair and unleashes a fierce shot with his left. Just over. Let off for the youngster.
45+3’ – PENALTY DRAMA! Hibbert gets in front of Shaw inside the penalty area and is scythed down by the United defender. Baines steps up from 12 yards, but De Gea leaps to his right and claws the ball to safety. Crucial save!
55’ – GOAL! United 1-1 Everton. The visitors work a clever free-kick rotuine as Baines plays a one-two with a team-mate before swinging the ball into the mixer. Naismith flies through the air at the back-post… And headed in! We’re all square!
62’ – GOAL! United 2-1 Everton. Di Maria mis-hits his shot, but Falcao is aware. He pops up in between the visiting centre-backs and pokes his side ahead! It’s first goal for United!
87’ – CHANCE! Osman swivels to hit a half-volley with his left peg. De Gea gets down low and holds in. Good save.
90+2’ – WHAT A SAVE! Osman’s in the clear… A chance to snatch a point… He shoots… Somehow, De Gea leaps across to his right and fists the ball clear.
90+4’ – AN EVEN BETTER SAVE! De Gea shows sensational reflexes to turn an Oviedo drive over the bar. How did he get to that? Blackett with a superb block from Barry in the build-up.
Today’s win means that Louis van Gaal has earned just one more point form his first seven Premier League matches as Man Utd’s coach than David Moyes managed last season (10)
Everton suffered their 300th defeat in the Premier League
Man Utd ended a run of eight consecutive matches without a win against North West opposition
Are United better without Wayne Rooney? Unlike their nervy win over West Ham, United maintained their buzz and refused to invite Everton onto them. While Juan Mata didn’t set the world alight in the hole, it did suggest that United may be better off without their less-than-influential skipper.
MAN OF THE MATCH
David de Gea (Manchester United): Plaudits will rightly go to Di Maria after another effective performance, but it was De Gea’s sublime goalkeeping that ensured maximum points.
Manchester United: De Gea 9, Rafael 7, McNair 6, Rojo 6, Shaw 5, Blind 7, Valencia 6, Di Maria 8, Mata 6, Falcao 7, Van Persie 6… Subs: Blackett 6, Wilson 6, Fellaini 6.
Everton: Howard 6, Hibbert 6, Jagielka 6, Stones 6, Baines 6, Barry 6, Besic 5, Pienaar 5, McGeady 5, Naismith 7, Lukaku 5… Subs: Oviedo 6, Osman 6, Browning 6.