Manchester, April 5: Ander Herrera and Wayne Rooney scored as Manchester United beat Aston Villa 3-1 at Old Trafford on Saturday to leapfrog Manchester City into third place in the Premier League.
Christian Benteke's 80th-minute goal for Villa, a weak shot that crept beneath David de Gea, set up an uncomfortable finale for United, but Herrera completed his brace in added time to seal a fifth straight win.
The result lifted United above City, who visit Crystal Palace on Monday, and with Rooney netting in memorable fashion, Louis van Gaal's side seem increasingly likely to claim a place in next season's Champions League.
United felt they should have been handed an early opportunity to take control of the contest when they had a strong penalty appeal waved away after only four minutes.
As Rooney looked to latch onto Marouane Fellaini's flick, he appeared to be held back by Ciaran Clark, but referee Roger East waved play on.
It was a decision that infuriated the England captain and his mood almost darkened a minute later when De Gea failed to deal with Benteke's header and Gabriel Agbonlahor saw a goal-bound follow-up blocked.
It was the start of an entertaining game, as Juan Mata saw a shot blocked by Matt Lowton after an exciting run from ex-Villa winger Ashley Young, who was the target of constant abuse from his former supporters.
Villa remained a counter-attacking threat, via the pace of front pair Benteke and Agbonlahor, but such was United's dominance in terms of possession that even defender Marcos Rojo threatened.
Twenty-three minutes in, the Argentina defender unleashed a fearsome 30-yard shot that Brad Guzan tipped acrobatically over his crossbar.
Michael Carrick -- fresh from rave reviews following England's 1-1 draw against Italy in mid-week -- started a move that culminated in Antonio Valencia crossing for Rooney to lash a spectacular overhead kick just wide. AFP