Writer: Red Boy
Date:Thursday November 25 2010
United reach the knockout stages with a win at Ibrox.
Sir Alex Ferguson, knowing a point would ensure qualification for the knockout stages, went for a strong attacking unit with Rooney making his first start since making the wrong sort of headlines and Berbatov being recalled after missing the last couple of games. In midfield Scholes and Giggs were to start although the defence looked a bit makeshift with both the recognised normal starting pair of Vidic and Ferdinand missing from the eighteen nominated for the fixture. At centre back the places went to Smalling and Evans.
United - Van der Sar, O`Shea, Evans, Smalling, Fabio, Nani, Carrick, Scholes, Giggs, Berbatov, Rooney
Subs - Amos, Evra, Brown, Anderson, Hernandez, Obertan, Macheda
United secured their place in the last sixteen of the Champions League courtesy of a late, late penalty from Wayne Rooney.
With United only needing a point but Rangers needing three to stand a chance of progressing to the knockout stages it has to be said that it was a pretty toothless attacking display by Rangers despite the backing of a partisan home crowd.
In fact whilst we`re telling a few home truths we should also point out that United were far from at their best even though they extended their unbeaten run to twenty-eight games.
Rangers were suffering from numerous and were forced to shuffle their back four which meant that the influential midfielder, Davis, was forced to play as a full back.
Davis, still getting acclimatised to his new position, was fortunate not to concede a penalty early on when he clattered Berbatov, perhaps the referee was giving him a chance or two to become familiar with the role.
Berbatov could have opened the scoring soon after but his header was straight at McGregor in the home goal. Rangers engineered a rare chance when a Davis free kick was headed on by Weir for Miller to head wide.
Nani started to come to the fore with a shot that wasn`t quite hit properly and another shot that flew over the bar after exchanging passes with Carrick. Rooney, subjected to the expected abuse from the home crowd, then crashed a header against the bar as half time approached.
Although there was a chance for Rangers to snatch a lead before the break when Miller got in behind the defence, racing on to a Naismith pass, only for his shot to hit Van der Sar.
Half Time - Rangers 0 United 0
United continued to look the more likely to score after half time, Rooney saw a long range shot go narrowly wide. Berbatov then fluffed a volley from twelve yards out and McGregor did well to thwart Carrick with a low save.
Van der Sar had to thwart Naismith whilst McGregor did well to collect a dangerous looking low Nani cross. With the game looking as if it was going to end in a 0-0 draw, United won a penalty courtesy of a crude, high challenge by Naismith.
Rooney stepped up and sent McGregor the wrong way from the spot to put United into the last sixteen. As for Rangers, it`s the Europa League!
Date:Thursday November 25 2010
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