United Set Up A Date With Barca




Champions League

Champions League

Manchester United had conceded only three goals going into the second leg semifinal in this season’s competition and Schalke had to put three past their defence if they were to pull off an upset victory over Ferguson’s side. Ferguson had revealed he would make wholesale changes to the side from the first leg but even United’s second string squad proved to be too strong for the German side as they beat them 4-1 on the night and 6-1 on aggregate to set up a date with Barcelona at the Wembley Stadium.

Ferguson only retained Van der Sar, Valencia and Anderson from the squad that lost to Arsenal at the Emirates over the weekend and the latter two were the architects of the sublime victory at Old Trafford. The first quarter of the game passed by quickly with no real chances for either squad with only Farfan shooting wide for the visitors while Berbatov and Nani threatening to wreck havoc only for Neuer, the hero of the first half in the leg, to stand in their way. There was no such heroics this time though as Gibson sent a defence splitting pass in the 26th minute to release Valencia who comfortably beat Neuer to stretch United’s advantage to three goals. It got worse for Schalke 5 minutes later as Gibson unleashed a powerful 15 metre shot only for it to go through Neuer’s leg and off the post into the back of the net.

It seemed to be raining goals at Old Trafford as Jose Manuel Jurado took advantage of some uncertain defending to pull a goal back for the visitors to make the aggregate 4-1. Valencia almost gave United the four goal advantage right away as United broke on the counterattack only for his shot to be cleared off the line by Benedikt Howedes as the Red Devils went into the break with the scoreline reading 2-1.

Schalke, desperate for more goals replaced midfielder Baumjohann with the attacking Edu but it was United who continued to dictate terms. Berbatov set up Anderson who let go a curling left footer only for Neuer to make an outstanding save. Ferguson made a few changes bringing on Evra and Fletcher for Rafael and Scholes as United looked to score a few more. It wouldn’t take much long as a wonderful run from Nani broke through the Schalke defence and cut back for Anderson who gleefully put it past Neuer for their third goal of the night. Anderson was celebrating again a few minutes later as Valencia fed Berbatov and the Bulgarian slid the ball to the far post where Anderson put in a first time finish. 4-1 and it was game over for Schalke! Neuer did well to deny Owen a goal and his opposite counterpart Van der Sar denied Edu as the crowd began singing of Wembley.

The formalities were completed when the whistle finally blew on 90 minutes and confirmed United’s presence at the Wembley on May 28th, the venue where they held aloft their first European title in 1968 as they meet Barcelona in a rematch of the 2009 final. Barcelona – You’re next!

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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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