[HIGHLIGHTS] European Final Beckons For United
Manchester United showed class, composure, and complete domination in their Champions League semi-final first leg win over Schalke on Tuesday night. A two goal win really does not represent the extent of United’s controlling command over the German side, who put in an uninspiring, unadventurous and pretty poor performance in a game which the underdogs were supposed to shine.
The second leg will decipher whether Inter Milan were terribly poor in their heavy defeat to Schalke in the quarter’s or United just played outstandingly well on Tuesday, but either way, United take a huge advantage into the second leg. They look the huge favourites now to face a massive test in the final where they may either face Real Madrid or Barcelona.
The first half left United fans frustrated at the lack of goals despite a barrage of chances thrust at the German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer who was outstanding all night. Chances came and went for United players all over the field – from Giggs to Fabio and from Rooney to Chicharito – the opportunities bounced about like ping pong balls. Despite the clear authority United possessed, you always have to be careful away from home with the opposing crowds ready to get at you whenever possible.
Giggs put a stop to those worries in the second half however, becoming the oldest player to score in the Champions League’s history. A precious away goal which really was a joy to behold. It wasn’t just that United had deservedly beaten this seemingly unbeatable goalkeeper with a cute little tap in through his legs, but it was the pass that created it. A pass crafted by a man who just seems to get better and better as the season draws to a close. A shimmy to the right and a shot faked by Wayne Rooney then led to a beautifully precise and perfectly weighted ball inside the defence into the path of Giggs to slot home.
The second was poor defending on Schalke’s part, who allowed Chicharito time and space to feed in Rooney who was gifted a great chance which he duly obliged to convert past a now helpless Neuer whose outstanding performance was destroyed by his poor side. It is no wonder why he is looking to move on.
The goals had been achieved, and now Sir Alex was keen to look forward to the week end. Arsenal will have watched this fantastic attacking display, and be very wary of it. Rooney, Chicharito and Park were taken off early in preparation for the Arsenal game, a great bonus in an impressive day of Champions League football.
Bar a catastrophic meltdown which is extremely uncharacteristic of Manchester United, Sir Alex will guide United to their fifth European Cup final. That Rooney said after the game that he was slightly disappointed with a 0 – 2 away win really sums up the hunger, desire and expectation to win. He, along with every other United player – all of whom played fantastically – will be looking to finish the job in the second leg, and if they don’t, they will have only themselves to blame.
Watch highlights from Schalke 0-2 Man Utd
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