Date:Tuesday September 23 2008
A fine 3-1 win over Middlesbrough in the Carling Cup is overshadowed by what could be a serious injury to Rodrigo Possebon.
Fergie sent out a very competent team but there was no place in the squad for Hargreaves, Scholes, Ferdinand, Evra, Gary Neville, Rooney and Berbatov. Still, we seized the initiative at once, with Anderson and Possebon dominating the midfield and Welbeck looking to do plenty of damage.
Our passing was crisp and precise and though we missed the early chances you could sense a goal was coming. It came too from a most predictable source: Cristiano Ronaldo, making his first start of the season, headed home Ryan Giggs' corner.
United pulled back a little after the goal, allowing Boro to spend some time in our half but there was precious little danger in the opposition's attacks. Indeed, it was United's counterattacks which looked threatening as Anderson, Nani, Giggs and Welbeck were all lively - though it was the relatively quiet Ronaldo who came closest to adding another goal.
But Boro reached the break on level terms and they dominated the closing minutes though doing very little with the ball.
Secind half started in similar vein: Boro tried to press while United were swift on the counter. Welbeck missed a great chance to increase our lead but fired straigth at Jones who had a great game.
Not long before the hour mark, Boro unexpectedly levelled the game. A poor cross was headed out by Vidic but right to Adam Johnson who rifled it in from 20 yards: the ball got a deflection off Wes Brown, totally deceiving Amos who had no chance to keep it out.
It was unexpected and the youngsters struggled to really come to terms with the blow. On 60 minutes Fergie brought off the tiring Ronaldo and brought on Tevez but before the Argentinian could have made any serious impact came the defining moment of the game.
Possebon, quietly excellent up to that point, went for a 50-50 ball with Pogatetz and was cruelly hacked down by the Austrian who quite rightly got a straight red card. Why were they complaining, only Boro players can tell us.
Possebon was in shock, it took as many as 8 minutes to get him on a stretcher and take him off. Darron Gibson replaced him and immediately he had two shots, both going wide but they were at least efforts nonetheless.
Unsurprisingly, United's superiority became absolute, Boro were hardly let out of their own half but we were profligate again and only a big mistake from Riggott helped us breaking the deadlock: the defender slipped while trying to control Gibson's long ball and thus allowed Giggs to break clear and calmly slot the ball past Jones with ten minutes to go.
It was game over really and United started to run riot. Fergie brought on Manucho - it was a debut for the Angolan forward and a minute later he had a great chance after Anderson put him through but he fired wide - as well and we really should have added more goals but Welbeck, Nani, Giggs and Tevez all missed good chances. Then Boro totally imploded and this time they contributed to their own downfall by a poor backpass that Nani latched onto, he rounded the keeper and scored.
All in all, a highly satisfying evening against one of our bogey teams. The youngsters all excelled, especially Danny Welbeck who has only one lesson to learn: when in front of the goal, shoot, do not wait for an even better opportunity. The only negative is Rodrigo Possebon's injury: hopefully he'll not be out for long as he's clearly a great talent. All the best for him!
Date:Tuesday September 23 2008
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