Vital Football

Latest Manchester United News

Benfica 2 Man Utd 1

Benfica 2 Man Utd 1

BENFICA: Quim, Alcides, Luisao, Anderson, Leo (Ricardo Rocha 90), Nuno Assis (Joao Pereira 73), Petit, Beto, Nelson, Nuno Gomes, Geovanni (Mantorras 80).

Subs Not Used: Nereu, Bruno Aguiar, Dos Santos, Roque.

MAN UTD: Van der Sar, Neville, Ferdinand, Silvestre, O'Shea (Richardson 87), Ronaldo (Park 67), Smith, Scholes, Giggs (Saha 60), Rooney, van Nistelrooy.

Subs Not Used: Howard, Brown, Fletcher, Bardsley.

Att: 61,000

Roy Keane walked out insisting Sir Alex was not replacing 'class with class', and even named the players who were not worthy of wearing the famous red shirt. I'm sure many agreed, while others gave Alex the benefit of doubt. But last night in Portugal showed many that we could be seeing the end of the road, and perhaps a new manager is needed.

Personally I would NEVER doubt Fergie ... and I will stand by him 'til the end. But it seems my sort are suddenly the minority.

So what went wrong? Paul Scholes gave us the perfect start ... then it went downhill from there onward.

Questions were asked during and after the game, and trust me, those very same questions are certain to come again.

Sadly, Villarreal's defeat of Lille meant only a draw was required, but Geovanni and Beto turned the screw and some amazing efforts at time wasting gave Benfica their precious win.

After seeing Scholes break his 22-game scoring duck against Portsmouth at the weekend, his scrambled finish looked to have kicked the stuffing out of a side that was thread-bare to start with.

But, after Cristiano Ronaldo in particular wasted possession on his return to Portugal, United were undone in unexpected fashion when Nelson found space on the right and drove a low cross to the edge of the six-yard box.

There appeared little danger until Neville was caught on his heels, failing to track Geovanni, who launched himself at the ball and sent a firm diving header flying into the net.

It took a while for United to clear their heads and Ronaldo, having already been booked, risked becoming the third Red Devil to be sent off in the Champions League by continually questioning the decisions of referee Kyros Vassaras, who thankfully proved to be a patient man.

Scholes had a long-range effort tipped over by Quim and Wayne Rooney failed to connect with Ronaldo's low, near-post cross before the visitors, whose confidence appeared so high in the build-up, were sent spinning to the floor by Beto.

The Brazilian wasted no time in unleashing a fierce 25-yard drive when Alan Smith's clearing header landed perfectly at his feet. Edwin van der Sar might have had the shot covered but a flick off Scholes on its way through a packed penalty area gave the Dutch goalkeeper no chance of clawing the ball out.

United responded in typically belligerent fashion, knowing they were vulnerable on the counter attack.

The pattern continued after the restart and Ronaldo's unhappy night did not get any better when Scholes and the ineffective Ruud van Nistelrooy combined to set up a glorious shooting chance which the winger dribbled harmlessly wide of the far post.

It was no surprise when Louis Saha was called off the bench after an hour but in switching Rooney to the left wing berth as Giggs went off, Ferguson was providing more ammunition to the critics who have waited so long to shoot him down.

No matter where he was supposed to be stationed, Rooney was determined to drag United out of their crisis but when he floated a free-kick wide just after the hour mark, he must have feared the worst.

If word had filtered through to the United bench of Villarreal taking the lead in Spain, meaning Ferguson's side only needed a draw to go through, it could only have increased the desperation in the visiting ranks.

Yet, in going for broke they left themselves open at the back. Joao Pereira blasted into the side-netting, Geovanni drove straight at Van der Sar.

Ferguson implored his team to push forward and the four minutes of injury time brought more hope. But the days of those marvellous United fightbacks appear to be finished.



Writer:Cantona
Date:Thursday December 8 2005
Time: 2:09PM

Login to post a comment

Recent Manchester United Articles

Is This Player Going to be added this Transfer Window?

Maybe, maybe not!

United Linked with Portuguese Defender

Three top European clubs are, according to one source, competing for the signature of a highly rated right-back.

No Champions League = Salary Reduction

Last season the unthinkable happened.

Rooney set for £1 million a week offer

Big, big money!

Archived Vital United Articles

Vital United articles from

Site Journalists

Red Boy
Editor email
Profile
Charlie Bacchus
no email
Profile

Current Poll (see more polls)

MOTM v Stoke City (a)?
Suggested By: Red Boy
De Gea3%
Valencia8%
Jones0%
Smalling0%
Blind0%
Fellaini0%
Herrera52%
Pogba0%
Mata0%
Ibrahimovic4%
Mkhitaryan8%
Rashford13%
Rooney8%
Lingard4%
ScoopDragon Premier League Network Sites

League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
1 Chelsea 22 18 1 3 55 32
2 Arsenal 22 14 5 3 47 27
3 Spurs 22 13 7 2 46 29
4 Liverpool 22 13 6 3 45 24
5 Man City 22 13 4 5 43 15
6 Man Utd 22 11 8 3 41 12
7 Everton 22 10 6 6 36 10
8 WBA 22 9 5 8 32 2
9 Stoke 22 7 7 8 28 -6
10 West Ham 22 8 4 10 28 -7
11 Southampton 22 7 6 9 27 -4
12 AFC Bournemouth 22 7 5 10 26 -7
13 Burnley 22 8 2 12 26 -9
14 Watford 22 6 6 10 24 -13
15 Leicester City 22 5 6 11 21 -13
16 Middlesbrough 22 4 8 10 20 -7
17 Swansea 22 5 3 14 18 -25
18 Crystal Palace 22 4 4 14 16 -11
19 Hull City 22 4 4 14 16 -27
20 Sunderland 22 4 3 15 15 -22
Write for Vital Football
Latest F1 News
Latest Vital Boxing News
The Vital Football Members League

Recent Manchester United Results (view all)

Manchester United Fixtures (view all)

Jan 26 2017 7:45PM : Hull City (a)
Capital One Cup
Jan 29 2017 4:00PM : Wigan Athletic (H)
FA Cup
Feb 1 2017 8:00PM : Hull City (H)
Barclays Premier League
Feb 5 2017 4:00PM : Leicester City (a)
Barclays Premier League
Feb 11 2017 3:00PM : Watford (H)
Barclays Premier League
Feb 26 2017 2:15PM : Manchester City (a)
Barclays Premier League

Vital Members League Table

RankNamePoints
1.Yanmispices1
2.softkingvictor1
3.DrAlimo1
Vital Football Comment