The Manchester Juggernaut Rolls On To Wembley With A 4-1 Victory Over Schalke FC




Champions League

Champions League

It was a night on which Jurado scored a scorcher as Schalke left Old Trafford with a consolation goal and a performance which could only have been better than the one they put up at Gelsenkirchen a week ago. That did not stop the Red Devils from notching up an impressive 4-1 scoreline against Schalke with Valencia, Gibson and Anderson getting on the score sheet for the Reds.

It was a pretty quiet first half which was brought to life every now and then with a fe jinking runs from Nani and Valencia, combined with some juicy through balls from midfield which accompanied the well timed runs of Berbatov. And in the 26th minute, it was an error from Schalke defender Uchida which led to United’s first goal. Nani collected the stray ball from Uchida and passed it to Gibson who fed one of the most sumptuous through balls ever for Valencia to run onto and score beyond the onrushing Neuer. Gibson followed up with a volley from the edge of the box a couple of minutes later, which bounced off Neuer into the net. United’s defensive inexperience was exposed as poor man marking led to Jurado finding himself at the end of a botched clearance and he duly buried it into Van Der Sar’s goal. Neuer did his reputation some good by delaying Valencia in a 1v1 situation long enough for his defender to get back and clear the eventual shot off the line.

At the beginning of the second half, Rangnick brought on Edu as Schalke made a last ditch attempt to bounce back from the dead just as Bayern Munich had done last year. This plan backfired when Neuer found he had too little protection. Anderson took full advantage of this situation, scoring twice – First after a brilliant run by Nani and the second after Berbatov had done well to put a ball across the box to his feet for a relatively simple tap in. Van der Sar made his first real save of the night, only to see Huntelaar tuck it into the back of the net, albeit from an offside position. Earlier, Smalling thought he had scored a simple tap in, but, was deemed offside as well. The sides seemed content to cancel each other out and it was Raul, the veteran, who seemed to be all over the pitch, trying to up the ante for his team. It was always going to be an uphill task for Schalke though, and the match ended at 4-1.

It was a game which Pep Guardiola flew down from Barcelona to watch. At the end of the match though, he probably left feeling he had learnt lesser than whatever he had wished to learn as Sir Alex Ferguson put out a team which is not very likely to resemble the team that will play FC Barcelona on the 28th of May. Either way, United fans will be looking to avenge their defeat at the hands of Barcelona in the finals of ’09, while Barcelona will want to silence their new-born critics once and for. This match, being billed as The Best Team in the World vs The Best Manager in the World certainly seems one to relish!

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