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Manchester United 3, Fulham 2

August 19, 2001

Manchester United opened defense of its Premier League title by rallying twice to beat promoted Fulham 3-2 Sunday as Ruud van Nistelrooy scored two goals in as many minutes.

Chelsea and Newcastle tied 1-1 in Sunday’s other game.

Starting his 16th and final season as Manchester United’s coach, Alex Ferguson saw his team fall behind after four minutes.

Fulham’s Luis Saha controlled a pass from Sean Davis and lobbed the ball over goalie Fabien Barthez, who helped France win the 1998 World Cup.

After David Beckham tied the game with a 25-yard free kick, Saha’s second goal put Fulham up 2-1 early in the second half.

Van Nistelrooy, acquired this summer from Dutch club PSV Eindhoven, won the game with goals in the 52nd and 54th minutes.

United has won seven of the last nine championships, while Fulham is in the top division for the first time since 1968.

On Saturday, Arsenal beat Middlesbrough 4-0, and Michael Owen scored twice to lead Liverpool past West Ham 2-1.

Dennis Bergkamp scored twice, and Thierry Henry and Robert Pires had a goal apiece for Arsenal, which has finished in second place for three straight seasons.

Owen scored in the 18th and 77th minutes for Liverpool, while Paolo Di Canio had West Ham’s goal.

In other action Saturday, Bolton beat Leicester 5-0, Everton edged Charlton 2-1, Derby beat Blackburn 2-1, Leeds topped Southampton 2-0, Sunderland beat Ipswich 1-0, and Aston Villa tied Tottenham 0-0.

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