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Manchester United beats Wolves 5-0 in Prem League
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WOLVERHAMPTON, England (AP) Javier Hernandez scored twice as Manchester United thrashed 10-man Wolverhampton Wanderers 5-0 on Sunday, with the Premier League leaders reasserting their domestic strength after their European exit.
The Mexico striker's second-half double rounded off a fifth straight league win for the champions that was started by Jonny Evans netting his first United goal in the 21st minute.
After Wolves defender Ronald Zubar was dismissed in the 40th minute for a second yellow card, Antonio Valencia and Danny Welbeck extended United's lead before the break.
United is four points clear of Manchester City, which has a game in hand. The Manchester rivals were both knocked out of the Europa League on Thursday.
"It was a great result for us, Thursday (against Athletic Bilbao) was a disappointing night for us all," United striker Wayne Rooney said. "We knew it was important we bounced back and bounced back well. Over the last few years coming here has been a difficult game, so to come away with three points so convincingly is a great day for us.
"The most important goal away from home is the first one to quiet the home fans down and then they had a man sent off and we took advantage of that, got a goal quickly after that and from there the game was dead really."
United could even afford the luxury of a rare blank day in front of goal for Rooney, who was a constant threat.
In contrast, Wolves have now leaked 19 goals in their last five games - 14 in four under caretaker manager Terry Connor - and dropped to the bottom of the standings on Sunday.
Wolves, without a win at home since early December, began promisingly.
Zubar showed his defensive prowess with a superb tackle to halt the run of Hernandez on the edge of the Wolves area. Kevin Doyle had Wolves' first attempt on goal but David De Gea dealt with his shot on the turn and the hosts had a penalty appeal turned down after Rafael Da Silva tangled with Matt Jarvis inside the box.
The England winger then delivered a teasing cross and leading scorer Steven Fletcher glanced his header just wide.
But United gradually assumed control and went ahead through Evans' first ever goal for the club.
A deep corner from Rooney picked out the unmarked Michael Carrick who had time to turn the ball back across goal to Evans, who made no mistake from close range.
Zubar became the first player to be booked after 27 minutes for a late challenge on Rooney. Then he was sent off for a second bookable offense when he clattered into Welbeck close to the touchline.
Welbeck could have made it 2-0 after being played in by Rooney but he lost his balance and fell over.
But Valencia did find the target in the 43rd minute. The winger was allowed a free run into the Wolves box after racing on to Rooney's pass and he drilled his shot past goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey into the far corner of the net.
On the stroke of half time Welbeck made it 3-0 with a simple finish after Evans and Valencia had combined.
United were soon back on the offensive after the interval and Hennessey turned Rooney's dipping effort around the post.
Hernandez made it 4-0 in the 56th with a free header from Da Silva's chip into the box and netted again five minutes later after Valencia and Welbeck had combined.
Updated March 18, 2012