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Man United scrape past gritty Fulham

LONDON, August 25, 2012, Reuters: 22:26 IST

Football EPL: Van Persie nets his first goal for Red Devils; Tottenham held

The shade of the shirt may have changed but Robin van Persie remains a red-hot Dutch master after marking his first Manchester United start with a goal in a 3-2 Premier League win over Fulham on Saturday.

Having swapped the crimson of Arsenal for the red checks of United’s new home jersey, the 24 million pound ($38 million) man dug United out of an early hole by firing in a trademark volley on 10 minutes to cancel out Damien Duff’s well-worked opener.
Japan’s Shinji Kagawa also scored on his home debut, the former Borussia Dortmund midfielder tapping in after Mark Schwarzer had spilled Tom Cleverley’s shot.

Right back Rafael soon had the ball in the net again but was foiled by the offside flag only to head in the third with a rare goal on 41 minutes, the home side’s rapid comeback witnessed by speed king and big United fan Usain Bolt.

Fulham pulled one back in the second half through a bizarre Nemanja Vidic own goal to prompt a very nervy finish for cavalier United, who had Wayne Rooney carried off on a stretcher with a nasty wound.

Van Persie was a substitute for United’s opening 1-0 loss at Everton last Monday but this time it was the turn of expected strike partner Rooney to surprisingly start on the bench just two games into the season.

Everton built on Monday’s win with a 3-1 romp at Aston Villa and another headed goal from Marouane Fellaini.

South Africa’s Steven Pienaar had given the flying Liverpool side an early lead with a rocket from distance and Nikica Jelavic added to Fellaini's second. Rampant Swansea City also made it two wins out of two to lead the fledgling table after promoted West Ham gifted them two goals in a 3-0 victory to follow up their 5-0 opener against Queens Park Rangers.

Michael Laudrup’s side went ahead on 20 minutes when Angel Rangel’s cross deflected in off the body of new West Ham goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen and it was 2-0 soon after when Michu slotted in after an awful James Collins back pass. Forward Danny Graham knocked in the third after the break while West Ham debutant Matt Jarvis.

QPR recovered slightly from Swansea’s mauling to draw 1-1 at Norwich, also thumped 5-0 by Fulham first up, while Sunderland’s game with promoted Reading was postponed before kickoff because of a waterlogged pitch. Tottenham Hotspur, beaten at Newcastle United in coach Andre Villas-Boas’ debut last week, were held 1-1 by a West Bromwich Albion side that fought hard following an opening win over Liverpool and scored a late leveller through James Morrison.

Promoted Southampton lost again after a 2-0 home defeat by Wigan Athletic as the visitors showed they could do without winger Victor Moses, who signed for Chelsea on Friday.

Title holders Manchester City travel to Liverpool on Sunday after Arsenal play at bogey side Stoke City.

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