Premier League: Man Utd 2-1 West Ham
Manchester United 2-1 West Ham: Hosts hang on despite Rooney red
Manchester United got back on track in the Premier League but made hard work of beating West Ham 2-1, with captain Wayne Rooney sent off in the second half.
The England skipper opened the scoring within the first five minutes as he met Rafael's cross with a convincing first-time finish before Robin van Persie made it two, slotting home precisely after a good combination with Radamel Falcao.
A mix-up from David de Gea allowed Diafra Sakho to head home on the rebound after a defensive scramble just before the break, undermining the Red Devils' good start.
Then Rooney prompted plenty of nerves around Old Trafford when he senselessly hacked at Stewart Downing, the winger leaving him behind on a counterattack, but United hung on despite his straight red card - though they had to survive a close call for offside when Kevin Nolan put the ball into the net in the late stages.
With injuries ravaging his squad, Louis van Gaal was forced into two changes in defence, with 19-year-olds Paddy McNair and Luke Shaw coming in for their debuts in place of the injured Jonny Evans and suspended Tyler Blackett.
West Ham also made two alterations from their 3-1 win over Liverpool, as Morgan Amalfitano and Diego Poyet were handed their first starts, but the visitors were not given time to settle and Rooney opened the scoring after five minutes.
Rafael was allowed to race clear on the right and, with no defender closing him down, the full-back perfectly found Rooney, who applied a first-time finish to beat Adrian from 12 yards. It took him to third in the Premier League's list of highest goalscorers, 176 placing him ahead of Thierry Henry.
Midway through the half, after Enner Valencia and James Tomkins had wasted good chances for an equaliser, the visitors found themselves two goals behind. When Alex Song was caught in possession inside his own half, the loose ball dropped to Radamel Falcao. He found Van Persie and the Dutchman rifled the ball into the bottom corner.
However, despite their two-goal cushion, the hosts came under pressure late in the half and West Ham were rewarded with Sakho's third Premier League goal of the season in the 37th minute. De Gea, making his 100th league appearance for United, failed to claim a right-wing corner and although Valencia's header hit the crossbar, Sakho was on hand to head home the rebound.
Sakho had a chance to double his tally nine minutes after the break as a deep cross from the left found him at the back post but his volley was pushed away by De Gea.
As the hour approached, the game was turned on its head as Rooney allowed his frustration to get the better of him.
Downing looked to mount a counter-attack from a poor Manchester United free kick but the midfielder was stopped when Rooney lashed, an act that resulted in referee Lee Mason issuing a straight red card.
Wave after wave of West Ham attacks followed, and the visitors thought they had rescued a point when substitute Nolan met Carl Jenkinson's cross to convert from close range with two minutes remaining, but they were denied by the assistant referee's flag.
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