Match review: United finish top but only just
By Andrew Cuff
Thursday 11 Dec 2008 11:48:00
Browse all Match Previews and Reviews articles
Aalborg’s trip to Old Trafford will most certainly be a memorable one for the Denmark supporters. United missing both Ronaldo and Carrick injured, Ronaldo with a hip injury from Saturday’s match against Sunderland it seems has been rested for the weekend match against Spurs and Carrick with a thigh injury also seems set for recovery against his former club this weekend.
Ferguson went out to win the match against Aalborg, to ensure top place in the group is vital for United as we have seen in previous years. Second place gets a home match first and then the away and when United have finished second they have at times found themselves at a disadvantage already going into the away match especially with the current away goals rule. Neville got a start in his usual right back position, Rafael who has shown his talent seems keen to muscle Neville out of his position, though Ferguson knows how to handle the youngsters as he went though the same with Neville as a youngster. Kuszczak got a start in favour of Foster after a disappointingly letting in goals in his last 2 games.
United lined up with Kuszczak in goal, Neville, Evans, Ferdinand and O’Shea in the defensive line-up. The midfield comprised of Nani on the right wing, Anderson, Gibson and Giggs supporting Rooney and Tevez.
Tevez hoping again to make a dramatic impact on Ferguson managed to score in the third minute of the game. Giggs who managed to slip a pass through to a badly marked Tevez and he easily slotted it away to score the quickest Champions League goal this season. Aalborg though did not roll over and let United walk all over them as they pounced back in the 31st minute to equaliser through the head of Jakobsen. The dismay did not stop there as Curth headed Aalborg ahead on the stroke of half time leaving United reeling at 2 -1 at the interval.
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The second half greeted Park and Schloes replacing Gibson and Giggs, though it was Anderson who saw Rooney in space and threaded a magnificent pass through to Rooney in the 52nd minute for him to smash home the equaliser. The match saw United miss a number of great chances, with Tevez missing an open goal a number of times and heading it past the post.
The draw sees United top the table only thanks to Celtic who beat Villarreal in the other group game giving United a single point lead over the Spanish giants and the all important second leg at home in the final 16.
Rooney has since sparked controversy after the Danish keeper has accused him playing dirty. The keeper has stated that Rooney stood on his chest and that only because it was at Old Trafford did he avoid the red card. UEFA though have received no formal complaint from the club but intend to investigate the claims and may take action if the claims are found to be valid.
United however qualified top of the group and we now await the draw to see which of the runners up United will take on.
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