Rooney double as Manchester United restore five-point lead

Wayne Rooney celebrates his opening goal from the penalty spot at Old Trafford.

Story highlights

  • Manchester United beat Aston Villa 4-0 in English Premier League
  • Wayne Rooney scores twice in comfortable win at Old Trafford
  • Victory takes them five points clear of Manchester City in EPL
  • Borussia Moenchengladbach beat Cologne 3-0 in Bundesliga

Manchester United restored their five-point advantage in the English Premier League with a 4-0 win over Aston Villla at Old Trafford Sunday.

United's arch-rivals Manchester City had cut the gap to just two points with a 6-1 rout of Norwich 24 hours earlier, but the defending EPL champions made no mistake against struggling Villa.

They were helped by a disputed penalty won by Ashley Young in the opening minutes after the slightest of contact by Ciaran Clark.

Rooney scored from the resulting spot kick to set the stage for an easy afternoon for the hosts.

It was the second match in a row that Young has won a penalty in such a fashion and manager Alex Ferguson was forced to defend the England international after the match.

Ferguson: EPL title race not over
Ferguson: EPL title race not over

    JUST WATCHED

    Ferguson: EPL title race not over

MUST WATCH

Ferguson: EPL title race not over 01:53
PLAY VIDEO

"I have never seen that in him. It is not an habitual thing with him," he told the club's official television channel.

"He was brought down. He just made the most of it.

"But he was definitely brought him down. There was contact. He has bought the fact that Ashley jinked inside him.

"He has gone down quite easily but it was a penalty. He was definitely brought down."

The lead was extended just before halftime as Danny Welbeck took advantage of defensive uncertainty after a Patrice Evra cross to beat goalkeeper Shay Given.

Villa, hovering about the relegation battle, offered little after the break and Rooney grabbed his second in the 73rd minute after linking up with Antonio Valencia.

Nani scored his first goal in 13 games after a fine pass from Jonny Evans to round off the scoring just before the end.

In the German Bundesliga, Borussia Monchengladbach took a step closer to the Champions League with Sunday's 3-0 home win over 16th-placed Cologne.

Monchengladbach have dropped out of the title race in recent weeks, but goals by Venezuela striker Juan Arango, Marco Reus and Tony Jantschke earned the team's first league win in six games.

It left the home side in fourth, just a point behind Schalke in the battle for the final automatic Champions League berth.

In Spain's La Liga, third-placed Valencia were thrashed 4-0 at Espanyol, who are battling for a Europa League place.

Espanyol took the lead through Cristian Gomez with Joan Verdu adding a second within four minutes of the first half.

Substitute Alvaro Vazquez added Espanyol 's third, with Kalu Uche rounding off the scoring.

      Football Focus

    • French football great bids adieu

      After 20 years, more than 300 goals and a host of major honors, Thierry Henry has called time on his glittering football career.
    • Mario's 'Queen' tweet tops 2014 list

      He might be struggling to score goals for Liverpool, but Mario Balotelli's cheeky tweet about the British monarch hit the spot during the World Cup.
    • bpr south african soccor senzo meyiwa death _00000402.jpg

      Loss of a South African 'icon'

      Football world mourns South African captain Senzo Meyiwa who was shot and killed during a botched robbery in a township near Johannesburg.
    • German alleged jihadist Kreshnik B (R) listens to his lawyer Mutlu Guenal (L) as he arrives at the higher regional court in Frankfurt. His face is pixelated for legal reasons.

      From Jewish football to ISIS suspect

      Once part of Germany's largest Jewish sports club, now he's the first ISIS suspect to stand trial in a country left shocked by his alleged radicalization.
    • Where has 'Super' Mario gone?

      One goal in eight matches for new club Liverpool, and dumped by the Italian national team -- Mario Balotelli has yet to shine on his English return.
    • Ched Evans smiles during the Wales training session ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against England on March 25, 2011 in Cardiff, Wales.

      Should rapist return to work?

      Should a convicted rapist, who has served their time in prison, be allowed to resume their old job? What if that job was as a high-profile football player?
    • Teen, 15, makes Euro history

      Norwegian 15-year-old Martin Odegaard is the youngest player ever to feature in a European Championships qualifying match.