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United 2 Benfica 2

Qualification for the knockout stages was the prime agenda item tonight but it didn`t turn out that way as the honours were shared in a four goal thriller.

Team News - As is the norm for Champions League nights, Sir Alex Ferguson shuffled his pack. In came Berbatov for a rare start with Rooney being rested having collected a couple of minor knocks.

In defence it was a similar story with Vidic missing out and Jones partnering Ferdinand with Fabio coming in at right back. Valencia was also given a start and Young returned from an injury lay-off.

On the bench were two others coming back from injury in the shape of Rafael and Smalling.

Talking about Rooney`s absence before kick-off Sir Alex Ferguson had this to say,

'Wayne Rooney got a knock on his hip on Saturday, it was quite painful and he didn't have enough time to recover."

United - De Gea, Fabio, Jones, Ferdinand, Evra, Valencia, Carrick, Fletcher, Nani, Young, Berbatov

Subs - Lindegaard, Giggs, Smalling, Park, Hernandez, Rafael, Gibson

First Half - United got the action underway but things didn`t go according to plan with Benfica taking an early lead Guitan slipped his marker and his ball into the box was turned into his own net by Phil Jones.

United 0 Benfica 1 (Jones og - 03 minutes)

The goal should have sparked United into life but Benfica were doing a good job of frustrating the home side. United sprung to life courtesy of Nani who beat three defenders before being fouled only to hit the resulting free kick straight at the Benfica keeper.

United continued to try and get back into the game and a ball from Evra found Young but his shot was well saved by the Benfica keeper, Artur. Thankfully, United`s pressure paid off on the half hour mark when Berbatov jumped to head home a cross from Nani.

United 1 Benfica 1 (Berbatov - 30 minutes)

The equaliser seemed to kick start the game. United could have taken the lead but Young, when one-on-one with the keeper, saw Artur save and down at the other end De Gea had to be alert to save from Pablo Aimar.

Berbatov almost snatched a second but saw his shot blocked by Garay but it was all-square at half time.

Half Time - United 1 Benfica 1

Second Half - Benfica got the action started but it was United that carved out the first half chance. Nani, from near the corner flag, supplied a ball in for Young but his shot was wayward and well wide.

United continued to apply the pressure and Young, from a Nani cutback, saw his shot blocked with, moments later, Artur denying Fabio who burst through and tried to chip the keeper.

The pressure paid off when United took the lead for the first time on the night. Fletcher was the scorer, netting at the second time of asking after Evra had provided the perfect ball into the box.

United 2 Benfica 1 (Fletcher - 59 minutes)

But the lead was short lived with Benfica getting back onto level terms almost instantly through Pablo Aimar. The goal was a poor one to concede with Jones playing the ball back to De Gea. The Spaniards clearance wasn`t good and when the ball fell to Bruno Cesar his cross, despite valiant attempts from Ferdinand, Aimar scored from close range.

United 2 Benfica 2 (Aimar - 60 minutes)

Following the equaliser, United looked to be losing their way but, strangely, Benfica didn`t look capable of capitalizing on it.

Berbatov, presented with a great chance from a Fabio cross, blazed over from ten yards out. Carrick picked up a yellow card that subsequently ruled him out of the clash with FC Basel.

Javier Hernandez came on to try and force that winner but that honour almost fell to Rodrigo who went on a lung-busting run only to hit the side-netting with his shot.

Three minutes of stoppage time were announced but it wasn`t to be and the honours were shared.

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The Journalist

Writer: Red Boy Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday November 22 2011

Time: 9:35PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
We didnt look good in the first half, passing was poor and we didnt manage to create anything. In second half we played som very good attacking football, and should have won the game.. Nani was excellent, and Berba - well I am a fan, and he was brilliant, we should use him more often. The defense didnt look that strong, I dont think Rio can boss it around one his own like Vidic can. Not a good result, we will qualify as second.. Cant help but notice that we havent heard from the mercenary camp, I think it might have something to do with them being outplayed in Italy..
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23/11/2011 07:19:00

I think that was one of the most frustrating gams to watch. The offside trap is frustrating to play against anyway but it's even more frustrating to see your players constantly fooling for it. You'd think that after the first 1000 times of being caught offside you would've twigged on to it but nope! To increase the frustration when we did beat the offside trap, which began to happen with ease, we couldn't put the poxy ball in the back of the net. When we finally do put the ball in the back of the net the defence were insistent on hitting the self-destruct button. In the blink of an eye they were just all over the place leading to us conceding cheap goals. Benfica played some nice football but feck me we practically handed them the result. Then you've got the Benfica players performing some sort of somersault whilst clutching their face everytime they were touched. The ref was blowing his whistle at every little thing, in fairness, the Benfica players were constantly conning him and feigning horrific injuries just to jump up and casually stroll off when the whistle was blown. This would've been a game Hernandez would've relished, he would've been caught offside a few times which would only be expected because of the way he plays but, the offside trap and plethora of chances handed to him I reckon he would've loved. Carrick I thought we were going to have another donkey performance from but in fairness to him he was our best player on the pitch, more of the same please Carrick. Ferdinand, like nordkap has already said, for all his age and experience can't command a solid, disciplined back line. Evra put in a good shift and his ball in the box truly was perfection. Fabio and Valencia could never really get going. Nani was the liveliest of the night and a constant threat, typical performance from him then. De Gea's distribution was surprisingly poor tonight, we gave away possession cheaply on a number of occassions because his distribution let him down. Young was lively and energetic but for the life of him couldn't play the final ball or find the net and was guilty of repeatedly falling for the offside trap. Berbatov put in a good performance but I was gutted when he blazed an opportunity over they bar which was perfectly set-up for him, by that I mean making the most difficult goals look easy. Jones inexperience shone through tonight, he will learn though whilst Fletcher was decent all night a great run from him to get the goal. MOTM had to be Carrick.
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23/11/2011 08:57:00

Do you miss us Nerdy? You obviously didn't watch the City game if you believe we were outplayed. City had 70% of the possession but got caught out on the counter, hardly outplayed. It doesn't surprise me coming from you though because you seem to have no real understanding of the game.
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23/11/2011 10:59:00

Of course he doesn't understand the game BD - he thinks "Offside" Berbatov was excellent! PMSL.
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23/11/2011 11:18:00

Thats right Bluedub I forgot that you are observations are always correct, im curious though, what is your view on posting a 200 m£ loss last fiscal year and not being able to qualify for knockout stages? - return on investment?
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23/11/2011 14:41:00

The group has yet to finish Nerdy, we can still qualify. Have you read the financial report Nerdy? Do you realise why it was so high this year? Do you realise that losses of that size won't be reported again? Do you know how much we increased our revenue by in that 12 months? Do you realise our losses were so high because of write downs on players contracts that are no longer with us? Do you realise the wage bill won't be as high in the next fiscal year? Do you realise we won't have the same outlay on transfers again? Of course you don't because just like you didn't watch the match last night and felt you were in a place to make an observation, you are now hearing a figure of £200 million and not informing yourself of all the facts and yet you feel you are in a place to make an observation. In short mate, if you're going to comment on something can I suggest you inform yourself of all the facts before doing so. As for return on investment, as things stand we have gone from being a club that went between flirting with relegation and mid table mediocrity to a club that has won the FA Cup, is challenging for the PL title and is playing in the Champions League all within 3 years, I'd say we're right on track to achieve a good return on the investment in the long term.
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23/11/2011 16:26:00

Bluedonk, get real, your revenues doesnt even cover your wage spends, far from.. Do you really expect City to make no further purchases the next years, what planet are you from.. You have adapted the same business model as Chelsea and cranked it up a gear.. You will never turn a profit, unless you get another "sponsor" deal from the arab part of the world. As for your FA CUP title and progress to challenging for the title, what did expect when having spend a ludacris amount of money, I think you would find that if you dont qualify for knockout stages, failure is the word you are looking for.
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24/11/2011 09:30:00

Where did I say City would make no further purchases you ******** bellend? I said the same transfer outlay would not be made. The wage bill will be reduced significantly as players such as Adebayor, T***z, Santa Cruz, Onouha, Bridge will all be removed from the wage bill along with those that were removed from it this summer like Bellamy and Jo. The loss that was posted includes £35million in write downs from buying players out of their contracts. The revenue received from CL and the sponsorship from Etihad hasnot been included in these figures. There is also a kit deal with Umbro worth £200million over ten years to come. If we don't qualify for the knock out stages it will be a set back but get real here for a second Nerdy, with the group we were drawn in qualification was always going to be a struggle and the possibility will have been factored in when the financial forecasts were made by the club. I don't know why I'm continuing to argue with you when it's clear as day that you are only seeing what you want to see in terms of this financial report and ignoring the bits that don't suit your argument. Why is that? Are you still feeling hurt from the 1-6 arse raping we gave you? You really are a prize ******** idiot Nerdy.
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24/11/2011 09:50:00

Pointless arguing with bluedub nordkap, he knows everything about everything.
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24/11/2011 12:04:00

TF7 now sticking the beak in. Nerdy is speaking without the facts TF7, something you are quite partial to every now and again. I wouldn't put you in the same bracket as Nerdy though, you seem to have a least some sense whereas Nerdy hasn't got a ******** clue what he's talking about.
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24/11/2011 12:15:00

Agree Famous, his comments are now becoming more and more immature. Bluedub, I work in finance, and no I havenít studied the financial reports from City and my comments are made to wind you up. However you have picked up a few points that has been in the press and yes I have read them as well, but the rest of your arguments are pure speculation of how City will manage their transfer business in the future, how do you know? Even discussing the finances of City in this forum is pointless, as you need a lot more insight and to start with you need the quarterly financial reports and annual report. The business model of City is a very dangerous model, a model you see in no other industry, and the only reason it exists is because you receive massive fund infusion from an extremely wealth Arab that took on City first and foremost as hobby and not with the expectation of making a profit. What bank do you think would ever finance the business model of City? What investor in their right would ever venture such a project, they have made massive outlays, and there is little indication of a return in many years to come and surely not one that justifies the massive risks. This is my point, you talk about the finances of City as you actually believe this is a sound business, donít pretend you understand the finances of City, you and I need a lot more than a few facts released from the press. One thing is sure though, and you can kid yourself all you want, your owner does not think this is a great piece of business, he is in for the fun. As for the name calling, thatís real mature, but I will take the advice of the TF7 and not argue with you, because you can never see the point of others.
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24/11/2011 14:38:00

It was obvious that you hadn't read the report or the intentions of the club going forward. Just like it was obvious you didn't watch the City game the other night Nerdy. ADUG are in this for a bit of fun are they? You really need to pull your head out of your arse mate. Why would ADUG be investing so much in the infrastructure and academy of the club if this was just a bit of fun? Essentially this investment and others like them are being used as a way to build cultural and trade links between Abu Dhabi and the western world. Man City is essentially being used by Abu Dhabi as an advertising machine which in the long run benefits the Royal family of Abu Dhabi, this is where they get the return on their investment. As you're probably aware the oil wells won't be around forever so it is vital that Abu Dhabi build up their assets in western society so they can ensure they remain healthy economically in the long term. This is a very different situation than what is happening at Chelsea. The benefit City receive is already being witnessed with the success we've had so far and the amazing potential for success in the future, all of this while the owners strive to make the club a sustainable business. There are plenty of examples online of the proposals ADUG have in place to achieve these aims. If you would bother reading them then we might be able to have a sensible discussion on it but as long as you continue to believe what you want to believe and come out with ridiculous comments both here and on Vital City about our success, our plans or otherwise then I will continue to tell you how much of an idiot I think you're being.
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24/11/2011 15:03:00

Bluedub you are deluded beyond reason, have you ever heard of risk management, return on investment. Only very few football clubs in the world generates profit, and any investment in a footbal lclub furthermore in the scope of the money spend on City is a associated with huge risk, and would demand an extremely high return on investment, therefore in light of your latest comment I rest my case.
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25/11/2011 08:55:00

Nerdy, I thought you were going to ignore me? I'll put it like this, it is in ADUG's best interests to build a successful sustainable club. Even Gary Neville conceded last week that it was impressive what City are doing. I heard Gordon McQueen praising City's owners for the way they are running the football club. The intention was always to bottom out this year with the view to cutting costs and growing revenue thereafter, surely you can understand this given that you say you work in finance. Ffs mate, even your dye in the wool reds like Beville and McQueen can see what's happening here but you can't accept it. Do me a favour and go have a look at how much commercial revenue has increased since ADUG came in.
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25/11/2011 10:02:00

I find it funny that you call me deluded when you admittedly haven't looked at the financial report and the forecast. I have made myself aware of the facts and I am basing my opinion on that, you on the other hand are basing your opinion on what you want to believe. Seriously pal, get a grip.
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25/11/2011 10:06:00


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