Rooney ends United’s goal drought to seal 1-0 win vs CSKA
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Wayne Rooney ended Manchester United’s 404-minute goal drought on Tuesday, clinching a 1-0 victory over CSKA Moscow and sending the team top of its Champions League group.
Since scoring in the Russian capital in last month’s 1-1 draw, United had gone through three domestic games without hitting the net — with Rooney particularly wasteful.
The United captain squandered a golden chance in front of goal at Old Trafford before meeting Jesse Lingard’s cross with a header in the 79th minute.
“We had to just keep grinding at them, keep digging away and thankfully the chance came at the end and we got the goal,” Rooney said.
“A lot of teams we play against now defend deep with all their players. It’s tough to break that down. We tried to get the early goal and when that doesn’t happen it becomes more difficult.”
Rooney is now level with United’s second highest scorer Denis Law on 237 goals as he chases Bobby Charlton’s record of 249.
“Denis Law is a legend at this club,” the 30-year-old Rooney said.
United has a one-point lead at the top of Group B over PSV Eindhoven, which beat Wolfsburg 2-0.
“It is unbelievable because we have created at least 12 chances and we have to wait a long time,” United manager Louis van Gaal said. “Before that they could have scored ... and then it’s a different match. I am very happy because we played very well.”
Even though Rooney silenced those jeers with a goal, Van Gaal still has a long way to go to prove his doubters wrong and show he can pair good results with enterprising, attacking football.
Before kickoff, fans yelled “attack, attack, attack” as the players came out and the hosts obliged initially.
United threw everything at CSKA. Anthony Martial, playing up front, squared to Rooney, who dragged a volley narrowly wide.
United continued to waste chances in the second half.
CSKA threw on striker Seydou Doumbia, who would have scored had goalkeeper David de Gea not collected Ahmed Musa’s cross just before the Ivorian could nod in.
Then in the 66th minute, there were protests from the United fans when Van Gaal replaced Martial with Marouane Fellaini.
Boos rang out when the board showing Martial’s number was raised by the fourth official. After the Frenchman had left the field, United supporters sang his name before yelling “We’re Man. United, we want to attack.”
United continued to flounder in front of goal. Rooney could not get the ball out from underneath his feet with the goal gaping.
But then finally the breakthrough came. Michael Carrick floated a pass over the back four, Lingard squared first time and Rooney headed in before embarking upon a wild celebration in front of the Stretford End.