Wayne Rooney charts up way for a post Ronaldo era at United

Wayne Rooney fired defending champion Manchester United to a 1-0 victory over promoted Birmingham in its opening Premier League game yesterday.

Wayne Rooney fired defending champion Manchester United to a 1-0 victory over promoted Birmingham in its opening Premier League game yesterday.

The England striker headed a cross from Nani against the post then tapped the rebound into the net in the 34th minute at Old Trafford.

Michael Owen should have marked his first Premier League appearance for United with a goal in injury time when he broke clear of the Birmingham defence from Rooney's flick-on but his shot was deflected wide by Birmingham goalkeeper Joe Hart.

United goalkeeper Ben Foster made a top quality one-handed save to keep out Christian Benitez's shot in the 78th minute, Alex Ferguson's team should have won by a wider margin.

Darren Fletcher missed the target from close just before halftime, Hart saved from Rooney and Lee Carsley cleared off the line from Dimitar Berbatov.

Minutes earlier Berbatov, had appeared to be tripped inside the area. - Sapa-AP

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