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By Fitzgerald Cecilio
Midfielder Marouane Fellaini scored on a strong header in the 57th minute to help Everton spoil Robin van Persie's much-awaited Premier League debut with a 1-0 victory over Manchester United, 1-0, Monday at Goodison Park.
The Belgian international outjumped Michael Carrick and thundered a header past David De Gea to give Everton its first opening-day win in five years while handing Manchester and manager Sir Alex Ferguson their first opening-day loss in eight years.
"Manchester United is a great club, everybody was motivated," Fellaini said. "I tried to score and I think it's good for me."
"We scored a great goal and that gave us something to hang on to. It's fantastic to start a season with a win rather than the doom and gloom we usually start with," Everton defender Phil Jagielka said.
Fellaini was aggressive throughout the match, almost scoring a goal in the ten-minute mark but his kick was deflected by De Gea. Everton also forced DeGea into a succession of saves in the first half by Nikica Jelavic and Steven Pienaar.
Everton turned up the heat in the dying minutes of the first half with Leon Osman leading the charge but De Gea had another superb kick. Leighton Baines also had a free kick but it was turned away by the goalkeeper.
With Wayne Rooney leading the way, United had its chances to score in the first half but thwarted by goalkeeper Tim Howard.
Rooney fired a low kick that beat Everton's defensive wall and was heading for the bottom corner before Howard tipped it away. Rooney had another shot from a good cross from Patrick Evra but Howard was there to block it.
Van Persie entered the game in the 67th minute and set up fellow debutant Shinji Kagawa with 10 minutes left in the game for a goalscoring chance but was denied by Howard to help Everton survive the late rally.
Everton Spoils Van Persie Manchester United Debut