Slick United Thrash Dinamo
Ferdinand, Rooney, and a Ronaldo brace secured a 4-2 win at Kyiv and almost certainly sent through United to the knockout stages.
Paul Scholes had been ruled out of the game due to a knee injury, thus joining Owen Hargreaves and Michael Carrick on the sidelines... With Fletcher and Anderson starting in central midfield, relying on defensive resilience wasn't a real option and United were certainly sent out with a simple instruction: attack!
It's been unusual in Champions Leauge away games recently but with Vidic back in the starting eleven, it was worth taking the risk - as the result will testify. United were ahead as early as the 10th minute after Ronaldo had been fouled outside the area. Giggs whipped in the freekick and the unmarked Ferdinand rose to head us into the lead.
Dinamo were completely shocked by the goal nd United could have added to their tally before the 18th minute but it was worth the wait: Brown tackled Shatskih, released Ronaldo who sprinted the length of the field then knocked the ball back to Brown whose low cross eluded a despairing Gavrancic and Rooney did his job with an easy tap-in.
Being two up, United eased off a bit but were by far the more dangerous team as Giggs, Tevez, Rooney and Ronaldo wreaked havoc on the break, Fletcher and Anderson ably supporting them. Dinamo were allowed to shoot from distance and they had plenty of long shots but failed to really trouble Edwin van der Sar. However, they pulled one back shortly after the half hour mark, as the excellent Rincon headed in a corner.
It was only a temporary setback for the Reds who looked a little shocked after the goal but soon regained their composure. Rooney worked himself to the byline seven minutes later and his backpass found O'Shea who could even control the ball but fired straight at Shovkovskiy.
But the red machine showed no mercy a minute later: Giggs sprinted away on the left, beat his marker with a beautiful dribble and his perfect cross was too easy for the rising Ronaldo who completed a good 45 minutes' work.
United are usually slowly out of the blocks at the start of the second half but it was resoundingly not the case as we threatened to destroy the hosts. Anderson hit the post, Rooney was tackled in the very last moment, the England striker fired over the bar after a clumsy clearance... Dinamo were hanging on desperately to... a two-goal deficit, mind you.
The Ukrainians had a penalty shout when Milevskiy went down after getting in front Vidic but replays showed that actually he committed a foul and the Hungarian referee, doing his job excellently in his first ever Champions League game, made the right decision when waving play on. And his judgment was correct when he believed his assistant that Gavrancic handled the ball in the 68th minute: it was an extremely close call but replays confirmed that the defender was inside the box when he pulled up his arm to block a Tevez cross. Ronaldo coolly despatched the winner and it was only one winner after that.
Dinamo, to their credit, never gave up and came close on a couple of occasions with long shots before hitting the back of the net through Bangoura. Van der Sar might have done better and the Dutch keeper was called of immediately. Kuszczak replaced him and Danny Simpson came on for Ryan Giggs. The Reds completely eased off in the closing stages, allowing the Ukrainians to press forward but the victory was never in danger.
It's the first time since September 2004 that United scored more than one goal in a Champions League away game, qualifiers excluded and birthday boy (OK, it will actually be tomorrow) Wayne Rooney scored in his fifth consecutive competitive game. United scored four goals in three successive matches and it's really a magnificent turnaround in the champions' form. Rooney and Tevez working excellently, Anderson settling in well and we cope magnificently with the unbelievable amount of injuries we have. After a very slow start, the season suddenly looks painfully exciting and promising.