Manchester United 2 Sheffield United 0

Last updated : 17 April 2007 By Footymad Previewer
Ryan Giggs celebrated his 500th League appearance for Manchester United with a virtuoso performance as the Red Devils beat Sheffield United 2-0 at Old Trafford.

At the age of 33, Giggs still packs a nifty turn of pace, but the Wales international has now added experience to it to become the complete player.

If Giggs had scored, it would have been his 100th League goal for Sir Alex Ferguson's side - and he did come close on more than one occasion.

In the end, he had to be content with the majestic pass which set up Wayne Rooney for United's second goal.

Despite the distance between the sides in the Premiership table and the gulf in class, this was never going to be an easy game for the Manchester men.

With a makeshift defence often looking like strangers in the night, United could easily have been punished.

United began as if they would demolish the Blades in the same way as they thrashed AS Roma a week ago.

United were ahead after four minutes with another superbly worked goal.

Paul Scholes found Alan Smith on the right and he laid the ball inside to Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese winger threaded a clever pass through to Michael Carrick in the Sheffield box and he almost casually lifted the ball over oncoming goalkeeper Paddy Kenny and into the net from 12 yards.

United should have increased their lead two minutes later when Carrick set up Rooney, who cut into the Blades box from the right before side-stepping Rob Kozluk, only to see his point-blank shot brilliantly saved by Kenny.

United left-back Patrice Evra was forced off in the 21st minute after being scythed down by Colin Kazim-Richards - the Sheffield player surprisingly escaping a caution from referee Rob Styles.

Sheffield's main threat came from the blistering pace of striker Luton Shelton and he went close with one effort which rippled the side-netting.

United made it 2-0 five minutes after the break when Giggs picked out the unmarked Rooney on the right side of the Blades box with an exquisite 30-yard pass.

Rooney controlled the ball at the first attempt before driving his fierce right-foot shot into the far corner of the net from 12 yards.

United piled on the pressure, but found Kenny in excellent form.

He produced excellent saves to deny Giggs, Ronaldo and Smith, but at the other end Sheffield were unlucky not to force themselves back into the game.

Shelton missed a golden opportunity when his sheer speed bamboozled the Manchester United defenders but, after doing the hard work, he shot tamely over the bar from ten yards.

The visitors should have had a penalty in the 68th minute. Shelton's direct run at Wes Brown left the England defender well beaten and the Sheffield striker was brought down by emergency centre-back Gabriel Heinze in the United box.

But Neil Warnock and his players looked on in amazement as Mr Styles waved play on.

Two minutes from time, former Manchester United player Michael Tonge produced a clever shot from 25 yards which hit the bar with goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak beaten.

But the result was more important than the performance as Manchester United moved six points clear of second-placed Chelsea who play West Ham United at Upton Park on Wednesday night.