MANCHESTER, England — Manchester United drew level with Premier League leader Chelsea by beating nine-man Wigan 2-0 on Saturday and got a further boost from Wayne Rooney making his first appearance in five weeks.
Patrice Evra gave United the lead in the 45th minute and Wigan's chances of a comeback collapsed when Antolin Alcaraz and Hugo Rodallega were sent off within four minutes of each other.
Javier Hernandez secured the win in the 77th, and United are now level with Chelsea on 28 points but trails on goal difference.
Rooney came off the bench in the 57th minute for his first appearance since Oct. 16, having recovered from an ankle injury. He was met with cheers from most of the United supporters, but were booed by some after threatening to leave the club before signing a new contract.
United started disappointingly, and it was Wigan that looked more likely to score early as Charles N'Zogbia and Jordi Gomez came close to a breakthrough.
But Evra broke the deadlock on the stroke of half time, as he headed home unmarked at the back post following Ji-Sung Park's cross.
It seemed to settle the home side down but they were given a helping hand shortly after Rooney came on. Alcaraz was first shown a second yellow in the 59th minute for tripping Darren Fletcher and Hugo Rodallega was sent off minutes later for an ugly lunge on Rafael.
The visitors tried to limit the damage after that, but Hernandez doubled the lead with a header to secure the win.