Latics started off really well and Antonio Valencia wasted a golden opportunity to give Latics a shock lead within two minutes of kick-off. Mario Melchiot’s long-throw was headed on by Rodallega, Valencia taking advantage of a slip by Jonny Evans to race clear.
The Ecuador winger, reportedly a summer target of United’s, was left with just Edwin van der Sar to beat but chipped a shot wide from inside the box. Michael Brown then saw a shot blocked by a United boot as Latics made a confident and bright opening.
At the other end, Wayne Rooney had as good a chance as Valencia had done to put United in front in the 10th minute. Dimitar Berbatov picked him out with a pinpoint cross from the right-wing, the unmarked Rooney steering a header wide from just six yards.
Then moments later, a neat United move around the edge of the box saw Cristiano Ronaldo drill a low cross into the middle, Michael Carrick getting on the end of it but scooping his shot over the bar.
An inswinging free-kick from Charles N’Zogbia was then punched over the bar at full stretch by Van der Sar, the resulting corner coming to nothing.
Rodallega tested the United keeper in the 17th minute, the striker latching on to a long ball forward from Valencia which was misjudged by Evans. He fired in a left-foot shot from just outside the box which thumped straight into Van der Sar’s chest.
Maynor Figueroa drove a first-time shot just over the bar after N’Zogbia had worked his way across the edge of the box and rolled a pass into the left-back’s path. Latics stunned United with their 28th minute opener, Rodallega netting for the second game running.
Lee Cattermole pumped a long ball from the half-way line into the box, Rodallega and Nemanja Vidic challenging for it. Both seemed to lose the path of the ball in the air, but the Colombian recovered his composure first to drill a low shot between Van der Sar and the far post.
Rooney had a great chance to level in the 44th minute but hammered a shot high over the bar from close range after Ronaldo had teed him up. Then in first-half stoppage time, Rodallega could have added a second but shot wide after finding space in the box.
After the break, Figueroa hit a rising shot over the bar as Latics looked to increase their advantage. But United levelled in the 62nd minute thanks to a touch of class from substitute Carlos Tevez who’d been on the pitch only three minutes. Carrick drilled in a low shot from 20 yards which Tevez intercepted 10 yards out and cheekily back-heeled past Richard Kingson.
It was the visitors’ first shot on target, a statistic showing how they’d struggled to break down a solid Latics back line. Latics responded with Titus Bramble heading wide at the far post after being picked out by N’Zogbia’s corner.
Ronaldo had a shout for a penalty turned down when he tumbled to the turf under pressure from Figueroa, but replays showed referee Rob Styles was correct to wave play on.
Then a Ronaldo shot from 20 yards deflected off Mario Melchiot and safely into the arms of Kingson. Rooney then tried his luck with a low curling shot after cutting into the box from the left, again the effort travelling straight into Kingson’s gloves.
United hit their winner in the 86th minute as Ronaldo slipping a pass to John O’Shea on the right-wing, his low cross found Carrick who fired home from 18 yards.
Report by Dave Seddon www.wigantoday.net