Date: 4th December 2005 at 4:48pm
Written by:

Man Utd Van der Sar, Brown, Ferdinand, Silvestre, O’Shea (Richardson 45), Park (Saha 79), Smith, Scholes, Giggs (Ronaldo 65), Rooney, van Nistelrooy.

Subs Not Used: Howard, Fletcher.



Portsmouth Ashdown, Priske, O’Brien, Stefanovic, Griffin, O’Neil, Diao, Viafara, Taylor (Robert 72), Silva (Todorov 59), LuaLua.

Subs Not Used: Westerveld, Primus, Vukic.



Att: 67,684




Ruud van Nistelrooy admitted the spirit of George Best lingered around Old Trafford as Manchester United recorded their biggest Premiership win of the season.

On the day tens of thousands lined the streets of rain-lashed Belfast to bid farewell to the man many believe to be the greatest player the British Isles has ever produced, the Theatre of Dreams rose as one to offer a rousing minute’s applause in the legendary winger’s honour.

Fittingly, Wayne Rooney, possibly the finest young talent to emerge since Best, was on the scoresheet in a 3-0 win over managerless Portsmouth.

Rooney’s clinical effort was sandwiched between Paul Scholes’ opener and a late Van Nistelrooy finish which took the Dutchman’s seasonal tally to 13.

The win consolidated United in second spot in the Barclays Premiership and left them in confident mood ahead of Wednesday’s make-or-break Champions League trip to Benfica.

But the result was almost a side issue at the end of a traumatic and emotional week for the Old Trafford outfit, which rammed home to Van Nistelrooy just how much affection is reserved for Best.

‘You can feel his spirit in the stadium,’ he said.

‘We have all been watching his goals and dribbles on TV and I could not keep my eyes off the funeral.

‘It was amazing listening to the minute’s applause this evening. It made it such a great occasion.’