Mission Germany – Accomplished




Premier League

Premier League

It turned out to be a mismatch of sorts as three champions Manchester United trampled this season’s surprise package Schalke 04 by two goals in the first leg of the semifinal held at Gelsenkirchen. The Red Devils had 10 shots on target and 65% of the possession which clearly shows the class between the two clubs. The home side survived up until 67 minutes but two quick goals from Giggs and Rooney were enough to move the English club closer to their third final in four years.

Ferguson opted for a 4-4-2 formation with Hernandez and Rooney up front while Valencia, Giggs, Carrick and Park forming the midfield. Fabio got a nod ahead of O’Shea to start at right back while Vidic returned to the lineup after being rested for Saturday’s game against Everton. It took only three minutes for the game to burst into life as Rooney curled in a shot from the edge of the box. Manuel Neuer, who may be a part of the Red Devils next season, pulled off a fantastic save to prevent United to get of to a quick start. That was the first of his many saves as United continued to attack. Hernandez found himself in a one-on-one position in the 14th minute but the Mexican couldn’t get past the German international.

Hernandez once again was in the limelight as he found the side netting in the 26th minute. United were dictating terms by now and Giggs came close to breaking the deadlock as his header was scooped away by Neuer. Neuer continued frustrating the three time champions as he did well to keep out a Hernandez’ snap shot and the ball rebounded to Park whose shot was kept out by Atsuto Uchida. But his best save came towards the end of the half as Giggs found space and ran through the Schalke defence to come one on one with Neuer. But the German stood tall and ensured that both the teams went into the break goalless.

Neuer was called into action barely a minute into the second half as Carrick headed a Giggs freekick goalwards. Neuer was finally beaten on 51 minutes but Hernandez was marginally offside. Schalke survived! It looked like Neuer’s night to be!

The deadlock was finally broken in the 67th minute as Rooney’s well disguised pass found Giggs who slotted past Neuer to give United the lead. United looked to finish off things and it took only a couple of minutes more for them to double the lead. Hernandez fed Rooney with a clever pass, who slotted home a cool finish to give United a 2-0 lead. Ferguson replaced Rooney and Park towards the end with Scholes and Anderson as Schalke tried hard to reduce the deficit. It wasn’t meant to be which meant that United will carry a two goal advantage to Old Trafford as they look to book their slots for the final to be played at the Wembley on 28th May.

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Monish Menon

Author:

Hi, I am Monish Menon from Hyderabad and currently working at Franklin Templeton Investments as a Compliance Business Analyst. Sport has always been my passion since I was a kid and I invest all my non-existent free time by watching, playing, writing and analyzing various sporting events across the world. Apart from being a diehard Manchester United fan and a Ferrari supporter, I believe that Roger Federer is still the best tennis player and Sachin Tendulkar is God. I play club cricket and I also am a part of my organization’s cricket and football squad. Being such a sports fanatic, writing about it is something that came naturally to me and I am glad that I got an opportunity through thesportsmirror.com to share my thoughts with the rest of the world. For other articles written by me, you can visit my blog at www.monishmenon.wordpress.com

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