Goals in each half from Robin van Persie and Ashley Young handed Manchester United a 2-0 win over Cardiff City in an English Premier League match at Old Trafford on Tuesday night.
Juan Mata was making his first start for United after signing from Chelsea at the beginning of the week. He was joined in the starting line-up by striker Robin Van Persie who had been absent from the team for roughly a month due to injury.
It was welcome return for both players who combined to score the game’s opening goal in the six minute.
Mata set United on the attack with a superb long diagonal ball which saw Ashley Young attacking down the flank and crossing for Antonio Valencia, but his header came off the crossbar. Van Persie, however, was quickest to react, pouncing on the rebound to give his side the lead from close range, 1-0.
Still, despite the early set-back Cardiff were not going to go down without a fight and were unlucky not to draw level in the 24th minute when Mark Hudson saw a header from a corner-kick cleared off the line.
Ten minutes later and United were on the attack after a reverse pass from Patrice Evra found Van Persie in space inside the box, but his shot from an acute angle skimmed the wrong side of the post.
The rest of the half saw Cardiff controlling the flow of play, but they could not create any clear cut openings in front of goal.
The second half started a little slowly as both teams struggled to hold onto the ball due to some sloppy passing.
United, though, did create the first chance of the half as Van Persie headed a Ryan Giggs cross over the crossbar in the 53rd minute.
Six minutes later and United doubled their lead thanks to a superb individual goal from Young. The winger drove down the left flank before cutting inside and firing the ball into the top corner, 2-0.
In the 74th minute Valencia was unlucky not to find his side’s third goal as the goalkeeper tipped his shot from just inside the box onto the post and out for a corner-kick.
United took their foot off the pedal after that and held on for a comfortable 2-0 win.