Posts Tagged ‘Semi Final’

Manchester United vs Schalke ’04 match report

In Sport on May 5, 2011 at 8:33 AM

Manchester United returned home to Old Trafford for the second leg of the semi-final with a justified sense of hope, even inevitability, in the air after their performance in the Veltins-Arena against Schalke ’04. Indeed, such was the quiet confidence, that Old Trafford was a little subdued by its own cacophonous standards. In the first leg, United won 2-0, but it could have been a lot more had it not been for the heroics between the sticks of rising star Manuel Neuer (indeed a performance which caught the eye of his many pursuers).

Surely with half an eye on United’s potentially title-deciding clash with Chelsea on Sunday, Ferguson made eight changes from the team that lost 1-0 at the Emirates on Sunday. They set out in a 4-5-1 with Anderson, Gibson and Scholes in the middle, Nani and Valencia as attacking wingers and Berbatov the lone frontman in place of the rested Rooney.

There were few big chances for either team in the first half of the first half as it seemed both teams were feeling each other out. The first goal came after 25 minutes when a misplaced pass gifted the ball to Nani who squared the ball to Gibson, who played an exquisite through ball to Valencia for him to coolly slide the ball between Neuer’s legs.

From here, United really started to assert their dominance, particularly in midfield with Gibson having a performance that should silence some of his cybernetic detractors (he recently deleted his Twitter account because of the abuse received from ‘fans’). Just five minutes later, United were on the scoresheet again. A typically wonderful Scholes cross-field past led to a throw in, from which Anderson laid off to the run of Valencia. Whether intended to or not, his touch found Gibson who shot from the edge of the box. It was hit with considerable venom but a keeper of Neuer’s standard will be disappointed he let it slip when it was straight at him.

Jurado got one back for Schalke five minutes later with a thumping finish from the edge of the box, but it only ever felt like a consolation for Schalke who were just going through the motions. United continued their stroll in their park in the second half with stand-out performer Anderson doubling his total of United goals by applying the finishing touches to two flowing passing moves late in the game.

Joel Durston