Cristiano Ronaldo News

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Report: Bolton 0 United 4

28/10/2006 16:01, Report by Steve Bartram

A hat-trick from Wayne Rooney and a Cristiano Ronaldo strike gave United an impressive victory at high-flying Bolton Wanderers and sent Sir Alex Ferguson's side back to the top of the Premiership.

Champions Chelsea had topped the table after their earlier win over Sheffield United, but the Reds leapfrogged Jose Mourinho's side by virtue of their superior goal difference.

Rooney struck his first Premiership treble to end a run of 10 games without a goal and Ronaldo tapped in from Louis Saha's pull-back as United romped to victory at the Reebok Stadium.

Predictably, a completely different XI started at the Reebok to that which struggled to a Carling Cup victory over Crewe on Wednesday night. With the big guns back in place, Cristiano Ronaldo's inclusion at the expense of Darren Fletcher was the only change from the side which brushed aside Liverpool last weekend.

And United carried on where they left off against their local rivals, absolutely flying out of the traps against Sam Allardyce's side. Bolton were taken aback by a performance which immediately bristled with intent. Both Ryan Giggs and Rooney were within inches of converting Ronaldo's cross before Patrice Evra saw his shot well saved by Jussi Jaaskelainen.

Rooney and Giggs both threatened again, then Louis Saha saw his impudent chip headed off the line by Abdoulaye Meite as United continued to dominate. A deserved breakthrough came after 10 minutes after a superb, incisive link-up between Rooney and Michael Carrick.
The £14million summer signing curled an exceptional pass over the top of the Bolton defence, and Rooney lashed a left footed effort inside the near post without taking a touch. Eight United games after his last strikes, an opening-day double against Fulham, Rooney had banished all the hype around his goalscoring drought.

With the pressure off, he doubled his tally five minutes later. Gary Neville's right-wing run ended with the ball ricocheting off Tal Ben Haim towards Rooney and the England striker took a touch before passing a beautiful, curling effort past Jaaskelainen from 20 yards.

It was no more than United had deserved for their dominance, and indeed it took 22 minutes for the hosts to register their first attempt on goal.

That effort was a whisker wide as Gary Speed lashed a free-kick just past Edwin van der Sar's left-hand post. It served as a timely reminder of the hosts' capabilities, and also underlined how well United had played to be two goals clear of the Trotters.

Louis Saha then scraped a post with a deflected 25-yard drive and Ryan Giggs had a right-footed shot well parried by Jaaskelainen before the hosts began to impact on the game just before half-time.

Their use of set-pieces and long throw-ins came to the fore in the final three minutes of the half, but United weathered the storm and went in comfortably ahead at the interval.

That comfort zone was well and truly exited after the break, however, as Bolton predictably pushed for a way back into the game and harried the Reds in possession.

United defended superbly, with Nemanja Vidic particularly outstanding at the back, and Bolton's only real opening came as van der Sar saved Campo's close-range effort with his legs.

As the hosts pressed and probed, more and more gaps were subsequently appearing across the pitch. Saha fired straight at Jaaskelainen when he could have wrapped the game up on 73 minutes, but atoned soon afterwards.

The French striker took Carrick's through ball in his stride and drew Jaaskelainen before unselfishly laying the ball across to Ronaldo for a simple tap-in 10 minutes from time.

With the game buried, Rooney added the fairytale finish to a superb United performance by notching his treble in the final minute. Latching on to substitute Fletcher's pass, he clinically lashed the ball past Jaaskelainen to cap an emphatic scoreline.

Before the game, third-placed Bolton hadn't conceded a goal at the Reebok Stadium all season, let alone lost. United's demolition job serves notice of their ambitions and abilities this term.

Bolton Wanderers: Jaaskelainen, Hunt (Pedersen, 85), Faye, Meite, Ben Haim, Campo, Speed, Giannokopolous (Tal, 86), Davies (Smith, 84), Anelka, Diouf.
Subs not used: Walker, Vaz Te.

United: Van der Sar, Neville, Evra (Heinze, 60), Ferdinand, Vidic, Carrick, Scholes, Giggs (Fletcher, 83), Ronaldo, Rooney, Saha (O'Shea, 83).
Subs not used: Kuszczak, Solskjaer.

Goalscorers: Rooney (9, 14 & 90), Ronaldo (81)



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