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Manchester United made to work for winning start, Rio ruled out for six weeks

A goalkeeping howler from David De Gea failed to derail Manchester United from starting their new season with a 2-1 win over West Brom.

Long's shot squirms past De Gea.
Long's shot squirms past De Gea.
Image: Nick Potts/PA Wire/Press Association Images

MANCHESTER UNITED MADE a winning start to the defence of their Premier League crown on Sunday, beating West Brom 2-1 on Sunday at the Hawthorns.

The match was anything but a stroll for Alex Ferguson’s team.

Wayne Rooney put the visitors into an early lead but a howler from new goalkeeper David De Gea almost meant points dropped by the champions.

However, an own goal by Steven Reid ten minutes from time saved United’s blushes and they travelled home with all three points.

The opener came on 13 minutes and was the result of excellent inter-play between Rooney and Ashley Young. Rooney’s exquisite backheel found his England colleague, who returned the ball to the striker and the former Everton man made no mistake in shooting past Ben Foster.

However, United’s lead evaporated before the half-time whistled when De Gea allowed a tame shot by Shane Long to squirm past him and into the Baggies’ net.

Worse was to follow for United in the second half when both Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand had to go off injured, but salvation came late in the game when a shot by Young took a cruel deflection off Reid and Foster was beaten for a second time by his former team-mates.

After the match, journalist Oliver Holt tweeted that he had spoken to Ferguson and Ferdinand will be out for around six weeks. Defender Rafael da Silva is facing a longer spell out.

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