Manchester United 3 – Wolves 0 (Premier League, December 15, 2009) (Longer highlights here.) Mick McCarthy, seeing Wolves’ trip to Old Trafford as a match that the Midlanders are suppose to lose, made a staggering 10 changes to his team that won at Spurs on Saturday, and it was no surprise to see the sole survivor Marcus Hahnemann forced to save from Wayne Rooney after just three minutes. Wolves’ reserves held strong for 30 minutes, but then a stupid handball from Ronald Zubar gifted Wayne Rooney a penalty which he duly gobbled up. Three minutes from the break United’s dominance paid off again as Nemanja Vidic thudded home a header from a Gibson corner that Hahnemann couldn’t stop trickling over the line. (First half highlights here.) United wrapped up the points with a sweeping attack after the hour with Scholes and Berbatov involved before Antonio Valencia drop-kicked in number three.
Sunderland 0 – Aston Villa 2 (Premier League, December 15, 2009) (Longer highlights here.) Villa made the perfect start at Sunderland to their win at Manchester United last time out as Petrov combined with Milner before Emile Heskey fired home his third goal in six games from 10 yards. Just after the hour Villa took a decisive 2-goal lead, James Milner continuing his superb form by rifling a wonderful 25-yard rocket into the top corner.
Bolton 3 – West Ham 1 (Premier League, December 15, 2009) (Longer highlights here.) The game exploded inside the last half hour, starting when Bolton’s Klasnic split the West Ham defence perfectly with a through-ball that left an easy finish for Chung-Yong Lee. The lead lasted just five minutes as Franco found Collison in the Bolton box, who teed up Alessandro Diamanti to lash the ball past Jaaskelainen. The came the moment of the match as Hammer’s keeper Rob Green inexplicably fumbled a harmless Cahill shot and Ivan Klasnic to restore Bolton’s lead. Gary Cahill’s late header sowed up the three points, leaving the Hammers second bottom.
Birmingham 2 – Blackburn 1 (Premier League, December 15, 2009) Cameron Jerome took advantage of sleepy defending from Rovers on 12 minutes as McLeish’ No.10 knocked past Robinson from close range after collecting the ball from a ricocheted Larsson cross. Stephen Carr delivered Jerome’s second goal on a plate as he crossed for his team-mate to apply a simple finish three minutes after halftime. Blackburn set up a nervy finish in England’s Second City when Ryan Nelsen tapped in from close range after Pascal Chimbonda had turned a Morten Gamst Pedersen free-kick across the face of goal in the 69th minute, but it was not enough.
Leeds 2 – Accrington 0 (Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, December 15, 2009) Hogan Ephraim, on loan from QPR, fired Leeds ahead in the ninth minute with a 20-yard shot that took a deflection en route to goal, and Ephraim teed up Neil Kilkenny to head home Leeds’ second after the break.
Dundee United 0 – Rangers 3 (SPL, December 15, 2009) Rangers lifted themselves one point clear of title rivals Celtic with a confident 3-0 victory over Dundee United. A double from Kenny Miller and a superb strike from DaMarcus Beasley earned the Glasgow club all three points in their rearranged encounter.
Valenciennes 0 – Auxerre 0 (Ligue 1, December 15, 2009) European hopefuls Valenciennes and Auxerre played out a goalless stalemate, although the hosts had the better of the chances on a freezing night in France.
Pohang Steelers 1 – Estudiantes 2 (FIFA Club World Cup semi-final, December 15, 2009) Estudiantes midfielder Leandro Benitez fired the South Americans into a lead a minute before the break when his 35-yard free-kick missed everyone before curling into the far corner of the net. Leandro Benitez netted his second of the game seven minutes later before Pohang were reduced to 10-men as Hwang Jae-Won picked up a second yellow. Denilson managed to pull the South Koreans back in the game with 20 minutes to go, but further red cards to Kim Jae-Sung and Shin Hwa Yong left Pohang unable to find an equaliser.