(CNN) -- Wayne Rooney's first-minute tap-in proved enough to give Manchester United a 1-0 home victory over Wigan, a result that sees the defending champions move to within two points of Premier League leaders Liverpool, with a game in hand.
Wayne Rooney wheeels away in delight after scoring the only goal against Wigan on Wednesday.
A ninth successive Premier League clean sheet allowed United to move above Chelsea into second place in the table, although the win came at a cost as Rooney is now facing a spell on the sidelines with a hamstring injury that forced him off not long after his ninth goal of the season.
United will now go top of the table if they win at Bolton on Saturday, prior to Liverpool facing Everton in the Merseyside derby on Monday.
The only goal came with the clock still to reach 60 seconds. World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo crossed for Michael Carrick, who nudged the ball on for Rooney to net from just three yards.
Unfortunately for Rooney, not long afterwards he limped to the sidelines gingerly nursing a hamstring injury that triggered his immediate departure and Carlos Tevez's introduction.
Both sides had further half-chances in a tight match. Maynor Figueroa and Antonio Valencia threatened the home goal, while United could have had a spot-kick when Lee Cattermole appeared to handle in the penalty area.
Ronaldo and Dimitar Berbatov both fired just wide for United but, in truth, their solid defense -- expertly marshalled by Nemanja Vidic -- never looked likely to concede.