30 September 2009

Giggs celebrates 150th time for United against Wolfesburg + Match Review

The Knight of Manchester United

United 2-1 Wolfesburg

Ryan Giggs scored his 150th Manchester United goal and set up Michael Carrick's winner as the English champions beat Wolfsburg 2-1 on Wednesday to go top of Champions League Group B.

Edin Dzeko headed the German champions in front in the 56th minute, but the 35-year-old Giggs hit back inside three minutes with a free kick that took a huge deflection.

Giggs, who made his United debut in 1991, teed up Carrick's strike in the 78th on a rain-soaked night at Old Trafford.

Having won their opening two matches, the Red Devils enjoy a three-point lead over Wolfsburg and CSKA Moscow, which beat Besiktas 2-1 in Wednesday's other group match.

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson had sprung a couple of surprises by opting for Tomasz Kuszczak in goal over Ben Foster and starting striker Michael Owen instead of Dimitar Berbatov.

So, while visiting England coach Fabio Capello was denied a chance to check on the progress of the error-prone Foster, this was Owen's opportunity to argue his case for a return from international exile. However, the 29-year-old Owen lasted just 20 minutes before a lingering groin strain flared up again, and Berbatov was restored to his usual place alongside Wayne Rooney.

Berbatov's arrival was immediately telling, injecting flair after what had been a tepid start by the three-time European champions, who are chasing a third successive final. The Bulgaria forward had only been on the pitch five minutes when he sent a neat backheeled flick through to Antonio Valencia. The Ecuador winger, who has not scored since joining United in the offseason, struck wide when he had only goalkeeper Diego Benaglio to beat.

Berbatov turned provider again, squeezing the ball through a crowded defense to Carrick, but Benaglio came off his line to close down the England midfielder and block the shot with his right leg.

Unlike the rain, the initial threat from the Germans had subsided, and at halftime Ferguson appealed for "a bit of patience in the final third." Ten minutes into the second period, Anderson was released clear on goal but was denied by Benaglio's quick reaction save. And within a minute, the Germans took the lead despite having provided little threat since their early probing.

Makoto Hasebe beat United center back Rio Ferdinand to whip in a cross to the far post, where Edin Dzeko rose above Patrice Evra to nod into the net off the inside of the post. Facing a first European loss at Old Trafford since February 2008, the Red Devils were behind for less than four minutes -- thanks to a lucky deflection.

After Wolfsburg captain Josue conceded a free kick by fouling Anderson, Giggs' strike was diverted by Christian Gentner in the opposite direction to score.

Giggs found the net again in the 69th only to be adjudged offside, but Carrick put United in front in the 78th. Rooney, who had a quiet game five years and a day after his United debut, played the ball back to Giggs, who slipped it for Carrick to curl into the net.

Carrick stole the win from Wolfesburg with an incredible finish!

Player Ratings

1) Ryan Giggs - 9 - Aced the game entirely

2) Evra- 8

3) Vidic- 7

4) Ferdinand -6

5) Kuzsack - 6

6) O' Shea - 6

7) Carrick- 8

8) Fletcher (in)-7

9) Valencia (out)- 6

10) Rooney- 7

11) Anderson -6

12) Owen (OUT) -5 - Hard to judge him in 20 minutes, missed a header from Giggs completely!

13) Berbatov (IN)- 7 - looked very impressive with the elegant passes and flicks and his pass to giggs turned out to be the most crucial moment of the game!

Catch us again for the weekend's game against Sunderland at home. KO at 17.30 BST Take care!

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