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Manchester United beat Otelul Galati 2-0 thanks to Antonio Valencia and Wayne Rooney…

Match Report – Manchester United 2-0 FC Otelul Galati

Competition: Champions League
Kick-Off & Date: 7:45pm, Wednesday, 2nd October 2011
Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester (Home)
Attendance: 74,847

Manchester United went joint top of UEFA Champions League Group C, after beating Otelul Galati at Old Trafford. The fixture was tougher than expected, but an early goal from Antonio Valencia and a forced own-goal by Wayne Rooney resulted in a 2-0 victory. The Red Devils were cheered on by almost 75,000 supporters in a packed game at The Theatre Of Dreams, and despite an under-par performance, two goals were enough for the win…

In goal was David De Gea, starting behind Phil Jones, Rio Ferdinand, Jonny Evans and Fabio Da Silva. In midfield were Wayne Rooney – unusually – and Oliveira Anderson, with Antonio Valencia and Luis Nani on the wings. Up-front was last season’s top goalscorer Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen. It was a strong line-up from Sir Alex Ferguson, who is celebrating his 25th year in charge of Manchester United this weekend. 

With Rooney doing a Paul Scholes like job in midfield, United were cruising within minutes. Wazza had picked out a number of passes and crosses, and worked hard in his defensive play as well. And it was the no.10 who spotted Berbatov with a long-range ball, playing Jones down the right wing, and although Owen miscued his effort from Jones’ cross, Valencia was on hand to tap the ball past goalkeeper Branko Grahovac on 8 minutes. 
Antonio Valencia gets Manchester United off the mark against Otelul Galati in under 10 minutes of play

The Red Devils were off and running, and it was a notion among the Old Trafford spectators and hundreds of millions of more via TV that the floodgates would open against Otelul Galati, billed by the media as ‘the Romanian minnows’. But much to everyone’s surprise, the Eastern European club kept a tight ship in defence after their early dent. Otelul were momentarily helped when Owen limped off injured, only for Chicharito Hernandez to enter in his place. 

United remained dominant, with Da Silva unlucky not to have created a goalscoring opportunity with his mercurial run down the left, while Jones almost found the net for what would have been his first senior club goal. But although The Devils had all the ball, Galati held together at the back and stopped the home side going further ahead. Just before the interval, De Gea made a stunning save to deny Ionut Neagu after Anderson’s loose pass.

Otelul Galati nearly got back into the game at the beginning of the second half, after United had plenty of chances for themselves. Liviu Antal and Serg Costin tested De Gea, but he dealt comfortably with any threat posed by the away side. Berbatov’s weak execution of a presentable opportunity was punished, as his shot was cleared off the line, while Anderson misplaced a number of passes mid-way through the second period. Underestimation ? 
Wayne Rooney’s goal-bound strike is deflected into the back of the net by Cristian Sarghi

United were being put under small pressure by Otelul coming into the latter stages of the match, and their small section of fans were making too much noise !… Operation Termination: Rooney’s low drive on 87 minutes was harshly deflected past the keeper by Cristian Sarghi to put an end to the danger posed by United’s European opposition. It wasn’t the sexiest of goals, but a goal nonetheless, one that UEFA chalked down as an own-goal. 

Sir Alex won’t have been overwhelmed by his side’s performance, which was understated for a game of such importance in Manchester, but a professional display in light of the scoreline. United are now 1st in Group C, joint top (ahead on goal difference of) SL Benfica, thanks to FC Basel holding the Portuguese to a 1-1 draw. The Reds are still in the hunt to reach the knock-out stages as top dog, and go on to lift our 4th European Cup.

Bring it on !…

United Team: David De Gea, Rio Ferdinand, Fabio Da Silva, Jonny Evans (Ezekiel Fryers ’89), Phil Jones, Luis Nani, Oliveira Anderson (Park Ji-Sung ’80), Antonio Valencia, Michael Owen (Javier Hernandez ’11), Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov.

Goals: Valencia ‘8, Cristian Sarghi (Own-Goal) ’87
Bookings: Evans ’36

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