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Chelsea holds Man United 0-0 at Old Trafford

MANCHESTER, England (AP) - Wayne Rooney's headline-grabbing presence couldn't inspire Manchester United to victory in David Moyes' first home game in charge as Chelsea ground out a 0-0 draw Monday in the Premier League's first marquee matchup of the season.

Rooney, the subject of two bids from Chelsea over the summer, played the full 90 minutes in his first start of this season and was one of the few standout performers in a disappointing match at Old Trafford that failed to live up to its billing.

Chelsea played with no recognized striker for 60 minutes and barely threatened, although a draw keeps the team unbeaten after three matches in Jose Mourinho's second spell and top of the early standings on seven points.

United had the better of a hard-fought, error-strewn game, with Danny Welbeck wasting its best chance in the second half, but the attacking spark that lifted them to a season-opening 4-1 win at Swansea last weekend was missing.

Rooney's name on the United team sheet added extra spice to a match between two perennial title contenders that is always eagerly anticipated. Just as eye-catching, though, was Mourinho's surprise lineup that included six midfielders and no pure center forward.

What was essentially a 4-6-0 formation by the visitors ensured a congested midfield and few clear-cut chances at either end. A game watched around the world was something of a let-down.

Rooney, who was given a warm ovation by United fans and serenaded with chants of ``We'll see you next week'' and ``Sign him up'' by the travelling Chelsea support, was neat and tidy throughout in his role behind Robin van Persie, linking up play well and showing good fitness levels.

He had started on the bench at Swansea, coming on for the final 28 minutes and also looking sharp, and Moyes certainly made a statement by selecting him here in what was arguably the biggest match so far in the Scot's coaching career.

Van Persie has replaced Rooney as the leading striker at United but he couldn't break down Chelsea's sturdy center-back partnership of John Terry and Gary Cahill, with a 23rd-minute shot into the side-netting the Dutchman's only real chance.

At the other end, Oscar had two low efforts easily saved by United goalkeeper David de Gea in the first half but Chelsea's counter-attacks were sporadic and ineffective.

In one of the many subplots surrounding the game, John Terry and Rio Ferdinand played against each other for the first time since Terry allegedly racially abused Ferdinand's brother, Anton, in a league match in October 2011. The pair shook hands before kickoff.


GRANADA, Spain (AP) - Karim Benzema scored to give Real Madrid a 1-0 win at Granada in the Spanish league Monday amid growing speculation the club is close to a blockbuster deal to sign Wales winger Gareth Bale.

Madrid started brightly thanks to the playmaking of Angel Di Maria which led to Benzema's goal in the 10th minute, but left Granada with the chance to salvage a draw late.

Madrid joined defending champion Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Athletic Bilbao and Villarreal as the only teams to win the first two rounds of the season.

Madrid's offer to English club Tottenham for Bale is reportedly similar to the then $131 million it paid for Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009.

And while it appeared the transfer was close to being done over the weekend, Bale remained a Tottenham player and is expected back with his team after a two-day break to rest a hurt foot he used to visit the southern Spanish resort town of Marbella.

If Bale's possible arrival wasn't enough to distract from the action on the pitch at Los Carmenes Stadium, there was also the sight of Spain and Madrid captain Iker Casillas sitting on the bench for a second consecutive match under coach Carlo Ancelotti.

Despite a week of pressure by Spanish media to see the goalkeeper returned to Madrid's starting lineup, Ancelotti stuck with Diego Lopez in goal and maintained former coach Jose Mourinho's decision from last season to reduce Casillas to the role of backup.

Ancelotti said his decision was because ``Diego's playing well right now. There's nothing else to say.''

Madrid defender Alvaro Arbeloa called on Madrid's fans to unite behind the team and let rest the debate over the goalkeeper.

``I support them both, Lopez and Iker, just like my teammates do, and I think it would be interesting if the public did the same,'' he said.


FLORENCE, Italy (AP) - Fiorentina opened its Serie A season in style, beating Catania 2-1 Monday with goals from Giuseppe Rossi and David Pizarro.

U.S.-born forward Rossi put the Tuscan squad ahead in the 14th minute with his first goal after two years of injuries, slotting in a shot from the center of the area following a cross from Juan Cuadrado.

Pablo Barrientos equalized in the 22nd after taking advantage of a defensive error by Pizarro, who then made up for the mistake by putting Fiorentina back ahead in the 28th, dribbling by a defender before launching in a shot from the edge of the area.

Fiorentina finished fourth last season, narrowly missing out on qualifying for the Champions League, and the Viola are aiming to enter the top competition this time around.

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