Rooney double as Manchester United restore five-point lead
April 15, 2012 -- Updated 2033 GMT (0433 HKT)
Wayne Rooney celebrates his opening goal from the penalty spot at Old Trafford.
- 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
(CNN) -- 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.
Ferguson: EPL title race not over
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.
"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.
He was brought down. He just made the most of it but he definitely brought him down
Alex Ferguson on Ashley Young
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.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1348 GMT (2148 HKT)
From the ancient ruins of Rome, a new empire rises. But the eyes of the city's newest gladiator light up at thoughts of the Colosseum.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1622 GMT (0022 HKT)
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.
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 1411 GMT (2211 HKT)
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.
October 18, 2014 -- Updated 1819 GMT (0219 HKT)
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?
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1247 GMT (2047 HKT)
After 10 years of golden glory, it's easy to see how Lionel Messi has taken his place among the football gods.
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1034 GMT (1834 HKT)
When will the tears stop? A leading Italian football club is pursuing a new direction -- under the guidance of its new Indonesian owner.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 2241 GMT (0641 HKT)
Norwegian 15-year-old Martin Odegaard is the youngest player ever to feature in a European Championships qualifying match.
October 10, 2014 -- Updated 1310 GMT (2110 HKT)
After revolutionizing cricket with its glitzy Twenty20 league, India has now thrown large sums of money at a new football venture.
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 1453 GMT (2253 HKT)
Get ruthless. That is Rio Ferdinand's message to soccer's authorities in the fight to tackle the scourge of racism.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 1328 GMT (2128 HKT)
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is being sought by Europe's top clubs.