Thursday, April 10, 2008

Barcelona - Manchester United Classic awaits us in Semifinals

Manchester United went into the second leg match against Roma with the Sunday's match against Arsenal on the back of their mind so Ronaldo, Rooney and Scholes were kept on the bench. Park, Tevez and Hargreaves took their places. United knew Roma had to do something to go through and the Italians were playing three upfront which opened up space in the wings for the Reds to go forward. Ferdinand started at CB with Pique partnering him. Silvestre was making his first appearance since injuring his ankle in the match against Everton earlier in the season.

Roma tried to get off the blocks as soon as possible and they had the first shot and after few minutes United were all over Roma, Hargreaves was simply uncatchable. He made all sorts of runs and none of the Rome defenders were able to pick him and he had two clear shots on goal, Doni had to be there to keep his team in the tie and Brown had a header going just above. So United had three genuine chances in the first 18minutes. Hargreaves was simply in sublime form after being given the license to go forward his crosses from the right were Pin perfect but what lacked was the finishing touch on it. Park, Tevez and Hargreaves were working really well with Carrick operating as holding player and Anderson in front of him. And just when one thought United would control the game, Brown gave away a penalty. Mancini was brought down inside the box, the replays showed the ball had been won clearly but Mancini's delayed dive earned him the spot kick. De Rossi stepped in and blasted it over, much to the relief of OT. Justice had been done as it was never a penalty. Roma started to dominate after that till the end of first half. United had a scare as Ferdinand was struggling with injury.

In the second half Rio started the match, much to the relief of Manutd fans. He needed three stitches to get him going and he never showed any sign of discomfort in the second half. Roma hit the field up and running in the second half and had some good chances. Juan had a header saved by Van Der Sar and Sliverstre came in blocked a shot by Taddei. United were threatening with Hargreaves again but the goal that could seal the tie never came. Cassetti was injured and had to be substituted with Tonetto. And just when all thought it could be one of those days for United were the ball just wouldn't go in, Hargreaves once again drove forward and crossed a ball that asked to be headed in. Tevez did just that bending low to head it across Doni to seal a place in Semifinals for the Reds.

And with 15minutes left to play O'shea and Rooney came on for Carrick and Giggs. And a thunderous reception awaited the club captain Gary Neville who was making his 99th appearance in Champions League. He had missed 63 Manutd matches in the 13 months he was injured. Every touch of his was cheered by the crowd, who clearly have missed him. United won 1-0 set up a dream clash with Barcelona, who beat Schalke 2-0 on aggregate. Neville and Scholes are set to make their 100th Champions League game at the Nou Camp. Its fitting for Scholes that he would be making his century at the very place he had missed the final 9 years ago due to suspension. A classic awaits us in the semifinals.

Click here for goals

1-0 - Tevez

Missed Penalty - De Rossi


First Half

Second Half

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