Falcao on target as United go fourth

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Radamel Falcao's first goal for Manchester United secured a 2-1 victory over Everton in the Premier League at Old Trafford on Sunday.

But the final result also owed much to several fine saves by United goalkeeper David de Gea.

With the match all square at 1-1, Colombian striker Falcao – signed on loan for a reported 10 million euros (£7.8 million, $13.1 million) on transfer deadline day – marked his fourth United appearance by scoring from six yards out after getting on the end of Angel di Maria's long-range shot in the 62nd minute.

Argentina midfielder di Maria had given Louis van Gaal's side a 27th-minute lead when he curled in a shot from just inside the penalty area after an excellent pass from Juan Mata.

Everton could have equalised on the stroke of halftime after they were awarded a penalty when Luke Shaw brought down Tony Hibbert.

But Leighton Baines's spot-kick was too close to de Gea, who dived to his right to make a fine one-handed save.

It was the first time England full-back Baines had failed to score with any of his 15 Premier League penalties.

However, Baines recovered his composure to whip in a superb cross from which Gary Naismith headed Everton level 10 minutes after the break.

Stoppage-time saw de Gea preserve United's lead with two impressive saves to deny Everton substitutes Leon Osman and Bryan Oviedo.

The result meant United had won for just the third time in seven Premier League matches this season and represented their first back-to-back successes under Dutch manager van Gaal following last week's 2-1 victory at home to West Ham.

"Again we were waiting for the signal of the referee to end the game. Everton got chances outside the box and they had good shots, but David de Gea was fantastic," van Gaal told the BBC.

"It was not easy for him because he had a lot of players in front of his view. Despite that he stopped good and speedy shots. I was very pleased with his performance."

Turning tos his new goalscorer, the manager said: "Falcao was forcing himself last week against West Ham. I told him to be satisfied about his performances and that the goals are coming. The goals are coming!"

Everton, who were held to a 1-1 draw away to Russian side Krasnodar in the Europa League in midweek, have now won just once in the Premier League so far this term.

"The margins are very small," said Everton manager Roberto Martinez.

"We are not hiding from the fact that we should have more points – we've dropped too many.

"We've played four of the top six this season but we're getting sharper and stronger," the Spaniard added.

His side's defeat was compounded by John Stones being carried off on a stretcher late on – a worrying sight too for England manager Roy Hodgson, who selected the Everton defender in his squad for the upcoming Euro 2016 qualifiers with San Marino and Estonia.

"John Stones has an ankle ligament problem. It's too early to know the extent of it but it must be something serious for him to come off," said Martinez.

Sunday's other Premier League matches see Cesc Fabregas up against his old side when leaders Chelsea face London rivals Arsenal.

Kick-off at Stamford Bridge was delayed by 15 minutes as officials slowed the entry of Arsenal fans into the away end after a flare was set off.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino will also face his former club, when second-placed Southampton come to White Hart Lane, while QPR goalkeeper Rob Green returns to West Ham in an all-London clash.


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