04 November 2009

United 3-3 CSKA! What a game! Valencia's 2nd Champions league goal against CSKA Moscow ensured that United are through to the Knockout stage!

Valencia in action


Who scored for UNITED?
29' - Michael Owen
84'- Paul Scholes
92- Antonio Valenica!

Antonio Valencia's deflected extra-time goal made sure that Manchester United qualify for the last 16 and maintain their unbeaten performance at home.

Trailing 2-1 to a spirited CSKA Moscow at half time, it didnt take much time for the visitors to make it 3-1 into the second half. Sir Alex Ferguson's side delved into their box of tricks, pulling a goal back through Paul Scholes before Valencia's 25-yard effort flew in off Georgi Schennikov.

The perfect ending was denied when the new BIG DADDY! Wayne Rooney curled what would have been the winner way over the bar. That was a horrid miss. But thank to God, he resisted the temptation of shooting and passed to Valencia who scored rather luckily ;)

Ferguson can now use the remaining two matches to utilise his squad strength and, maybe, offer a comeback to Owen Hargreaves.

The more immediate task though is to prepare for Sunday's Barclays Premier League showdown with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. And in that regard, Ferguson might be more than a touch worried because the visitors' three goals all came with ridiculous ease. Thanks to some slacky defending.

Ferguson had only just declared his faith in central defensive pairing Jonny Evans and Wes Brown to keep Chelsea out on Sunday should the respective calf injuries of Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand keep them out, it was not an ideal start.

For a while it did not seem as though the frailty would matter.

Valencia justified his manager's declaration that his form has improved markedly over the past few weeks and although neither Michael Owen nor strike partner Federico Macheda - who was making his Champions League debut - could profit from the Ecuador star's incisiveness, it seemed only a matter of time before the hosts scored.

There was a sense of bewilderment therefore when the opening goal ended up in the home net.

The young Northern Ireland star appeared to have done the right thing in shadowing Dzagoev down the channel. The Russian though had a pretty startling response, lashing a shot into the far corner from an acute angle which Van der Sar barely reacted to as it whizzed past.

Owen drilled home a typical poacher's effort in response but parity lasted one minute as Milos Krasic galloped into the box unchallenged, collected Necid's pass, skipped past Van der Sar and, after a neat pivot, tapped into an empty net.

If Ferguson had called for more solidity at half-time, the words fell on deaf ears as within two minutes of the restart, Dzagoev had floated a free-kick to the far post where Vasili Berezutski nodded home.

The home cause was not helped when Darren Fletcher was denied a certain penalty when he was chopped down by Berezutski, the irritation only compounded when the Scot was booked for diving.

Rooney's introduction just before the hour mark offered England's most deadly striker the chance to provide baby Kai Rooney with the most appropriate arrival present as well as offering United a solution to their predicament.

He nearly managed it too, only to be denied twice by Igor Akinfeev who made excellent follow-up saves after initially repelling Owen and Macheda's header had struck a post.

This was the first time Owen spent the whole 90 minutes as a Red Devil and seeks the opportunities given at Champions League as a great way of making it to the England squad for the 2010 World Cup at South Africa!

Summarising the game in a few words......

I must say, United were all over CSKA in the last 15 minutes! They definitely deserved to score a couple more goals. The Fletcher yellow card was totally absurd! Where the hell did the Portugese Ref. get that from? It was a clear-cut penalty and the commentators agreed too! Igor Akinfeev was awesome today! Saved around 10 brilliant scoring chances compared to 1 from Van Der Saar so you can tell which goal keeper was more busy trying to save his team's reputation! The Macheda miss was really unlucky, the ball came from the inside of the post! I wish Rooney had scored but he was not patient enough I feel. He had a couple of opportunities, but you really gotta be more accurate in order to trick the Russian keeper (who is the #1 in my opinion). And finally, my last conclusion is about Dimitar Berbatov. When he doesn't start for United, United either draws or loses. This happened against Burnley and Sunderland!

So for that reason, Berbatov should be in the squad eventhough he gives a rather lazy performance each time!

Player Ranking

1) Van Der Saar - 6 - really should have captured the 2nd goal and not stood like a mummy in the 1st goal that United conceded.

2) Fabio - 5 - was right to be substituted, his defending was rather poor yesterday. (Evra - 6 - was energetic and brought some attack from the left, he did what he does best!!)

3) Wes Brown - 7- did good defending

4) Johny Evans - 7 - Made crucial tackles and stopped Krasic and many others to enter the vulnerbale area.

5) Gary Neville - 7 - another decent performance, was effective on the right in 2nd half and took on the role of Valencia.

6) Valencia - 7.5 - Creator of the 1st goal, did excellent mid-fielding and scored a rather lucky goal in the 92nd minute.

7) Scholes - 7.5 - Did okay in the 1st half but his 2nd half performance was STUNNING! scored an excellent header which Igor could have never thought of saving in his lifetime.

8) Fletcher - 6.5 - didnt deserve a Yellow card at all! But good tackling and decent mid-field performance.

9) Nani - 5.5- was SHIT! throughout the game and miles apart from Valencia, he is certainly not in form and a cause of worry for Sir alex. (Rooney sub at 58' - 7 - He looked LETHAL! CSKA must be feeling lucky to have drawn)

10) Michael Owen- 7- Another average performance, missed a few chances in the 1st 20 minutes of the game but came back strongly and equalised from his favourite position! THIS was the first time he spent the whole 90 minutes on the pitch as a Red Devil!

11) Macheda - 7 - A great performance today, deserved to score from an excellent header which re-bounded from the inside of the post! was nice with skills and nearly scored like the famous Aston Villa goal but was denied by a SUPERB Igor! (Substitute- Gabriel Obertan - 6.5- Did easy things perfectly and got involved in a red card offence by a CSKA player, he looks like another precious under-nourished gem of Fergie!)
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