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


    Ferguson: EPL title race not over


Ferguson: EPL title race not over 01:53

"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.