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Manchester United, Chelsea win at Premier League
Updated: 2005-12-27 09:25

MANCHESTER, England (AFP) - Manchester United, with first-half goals from the revitalized Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand, maintained their challenge to Premiership leaders Chelsea with a comfortable 3-0 victory over West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford.

But former United favourite Bryan Robson, the Albion manager, could count himself unfortunate that a sickening head injury to defender Paul Robinson just after the half-hour mark unsettled his team which, until that point, had managed to keep the home team at bay.

Robinson had performed an heroic man-marking job on England international Wayne Rooney for the opening 34 minutes of the contest, but within a minute of his departure United were in front as Scholes, goalless until the start of this month, hit his third of the season.

Deep into first half injury-time, Ferdinand, who scored his first United goal in the recent league victory over Wigan, headed his second goal in three games and the contest was effectively over.

With the second-half a steady procession towards the Albion goal, the only issue surrounded how many more the home side would score with the answer, perhaps surprisingly, being one.

Ruud van Nistelrooy completed a routine afternoon at the office for his side when he headed in his 16th goal of the season just after the hour.

Thankfully, Robinson had suffered nothing worse than a bad concussion in a collision with team mate Thomas Gaardsoe but his injury led to an anxious five minute delay in which he lay motionless in his team's penalty area before eventually being stretchered off the field.

His absence clearly unsettled the visitors who had coped well with everything United had thrown at them up until that point.

After four minutes, Scholes had headed Gary Neville's cross over the bar from six yards and, later, Ji-sung Park's low shot flew a foot wide of the right-hand post without the Reds really threatening keeper Tomasz Kuszczak.
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