New recruit Juan Mata made his debut as Manchester United beat Cardiff City 2-0 at Old Trafford to ease the pressure on boss David Moyes.
A long pass from the £37.1 million signing to Patrice Evra in the sixth minute lead to an Ashley Young cross that was headed against the bar by Antonio Valencia, then against Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall by Robin van Persie, and then finally into the goal at the Dutch striker’s second attempt.
The rest of the half dragged slowly to a conclusion as United had just one more good chance, Van Persie shooting wide from a tight angle, and Cardiff went close when Jamie Noone could not turn a knock-down towards goal.
In the second half Cardiff went close when Declan John’s pull-back was just inches from Kim Bo-Kyung’s run. Moments later, Young blasted a brilliant shot into the bottom right corner of the net from outside the box after cutting in from the left.
The game was settled at that point, but Valencia brought a great save from Marshall, seeing his shot palmed onto the post.
With minutes remaining, Mata left to a standing ovation from the home crowd as he was replaced by Adnan Januzaj, the United fans clearly impressed by what they had seen.
Reuters, January 29, 2014