Juan Mata subbed on and scored a deflected left-footed shot that lifted Manchester United to a comfortable 1-0 win over Crystal Palace.
It was clear from the opening kick that United came to attack, with Angel Di Maria flashing a kick over the crossbar from 20 yards within the game’s first moments.
But the Red Devils couldn’t find a way through despite 73 percent possession in the first half and an 8-1 edge in shots.
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The 57th minute saw Marouane Fellaini power a header towards the corner off a set piece, only to have the ball cleared off the line.
Then Mata and Di Maria were given time to decide who would shoot from about 21-22 yards away, with the Spaniard taking a left-footed shot that deflected past Speroni. The home team was up 1-0 in the 67th minute.
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United out shot Palace 23-6 for the game, 5-1 on target.
LineupsManchester United: De Gea, Valencia, McNair (Fletcher – 91′) , Blind, Shaw, Fellaini, Carrick, Januzaj (Mata, 63′), Rooney, Di Maria (Wilson, 71′), van Persie
Goal: Mata (67′)
Crystal Palace: Speroni, Mariappa, Delaney, Dann, Ward, Puncheon, Ledley, McArthur, Bolasie (Gayle, 81′), Chamakh (Bannan, 81′), Campbell