Everton shocks Man Utd in league opener

Everton shocks Man Utd in league opener

LIVERPOOL - The Associated Press
Everton shocks Man Utd in league opener

Everton’s Belgian midfielder Marouane Fellaini (L) heads to score the only goal in his team’s surprising victory over Manchester United in a Premier League game.

Manchester United made a losing start to the Premier League season on Aug. 20, crashing to a 1-0 defeat at Everton as Robin van Persie endured a dismal debut.

Belgian midfielder Marouane Fellaini capped an impressive performance by heading in a corner from former United midfielder Darron Gibson in the 57th minute.

“I don’t think anybody tonight was considering Everton at all,” Everton manager David Moyes told Sky Sports television. “A lot of people forgot Everton aren’t a bad team, and Goodison is a difficult place to come and win.”

Tom Cleverley came closest to leveling for last season’s runners up, but his shot was cleared off the line by Everton defender Phil Jagielka.

Signing Van Persie from Arsenal last week was meant to provide the additional firepower the 19-time champion needed to regain the league title from rival Manchester City. But the Dutch striker, who cost a reported 24 million pounds, failed to even hit the target after coming off the bench in the 68th.

It was the first time United has lost a league opener since 2004.

Injuries, though, meant there were just two recognized defenders in United’s back four, with winger Antonio Valencia deployed at right back, and midfielder Michael Carrick alongside Serbian player Nemanja Vidic in the center.

And a string of fine saves by United’s Spanish goalkeeper David de Gea prevented Everton from being in front by half time.

Fellaini, playing just behind striker Nikica Jelavic, was the dominant force in United’s penalty area.
After the break, Fellaini’s header across goal was smashed against the crossbar by Leon Osman but his contribution was rewarded with a goal in the 57th.

“Fortunately, the big man (Fellaini) put his head where it hurts and we had something to hang on to,” defender Phil Jagielka said.