Football: Wayne Rooney scored his fifth goal in his last five league games against Fulham as Manchester United continued to set the pace at the top of the table.
Fulham, who have been thrashed twice at Old Trafford this season, made light of the absence of their top scorer and former United striker Dimitar Berbatov in a pulsating end-to-end encounter.
It was only when the lights literally went out that there was a lull in this encounter. Three minutes from the end of the first half, the floodlights went off at Craven Cottage and play was paused for around 10 minutes. The players were probably thankful for the breather.
United came out of the blocks full of verve and must have been wondering how they did not score when, in one attack, Robin van Persie had a shot saved, Patrice Evra hit the bar and Rooney’s follow-up shot was cleared off the line by the excellent Sascha Riether.
Rooney would also hit the post, but Fulham were giving as good as they got with Bryan Ruiz also striking the woodwork with a long shot.
After Fulham survived the early storm, the game was even until Rooney pounced on the solitary mistake Philippe Senderos made in the game. When the big defender failed to clear, the England striker carried the ball into the box before finding the bottom corner.
Jol was proud of his charges. “The result hurt,” he said. “I thought we could have scored that vital goal and they are always good enough to score a goal. I thought this was one of the better performances this year. Today we were well organised and I had feeling they had their best team out and we had a lot of players played a lot of games, but we looked fresh.”
But in the end on Groundhog Day in the United States, Jol must have felt like Bill Murray’s weather man protagonist.
No matter how hard he tries, he always seems to be bettered by Alex Ferguson. Jol, in his time at Tottenham and Fulham, has yet to beat United in eight attempts.