Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Manchester United wins by scholes header

Paul Scholes popped up to head home the only goal of the game as Manchester United kicked off their Champions League campaign with a 1-0 win at Besiktas.

Besiktas may not be the force of recent seasons, but Istanbul is an intimidating place and United had to ride out a storm and keep the crowd in check.
That they did in polished style and were rewarded with the winning goal, Scholes' 22nd in the Champions League, at a time when the crowd were roaring on the home side.
A win on the road in Europe is welcome at any time, but Sir Alex Ferguson is sure to be thrilled to have got this potential banana skin out of the way at the advent of the campaign.
United were sharp out of the blocks against a Besiktas side who seemed intent on proving they were no back number following the bitter weekend defeat to Galatasaray.
Scholes, sent off at the weekend, had plenty of life in his legs and a superb tackle fashioned a half-chance for Wayne Rooney but his shot from 25 yards flew wide.
Rooney looked extremely sharp in his solo attacking role, popping up all the way along the front line and he exchanged passes with Nani before teeing up Michael Carrick and his well-struck shot was clasped at full stretch by Hakan Arikan.
Arikan was called into action again on the quarter-hour, tipping the ball away from danger after Antonio Valencia had flicked on a near-post corner.
Valencia had the upper hand against Ibrahim Uzulmez on the flank and he benefited from a fine piece of play from Rooney and delivered a teasing cross into the box, but Ibrahim Kas was on hand to clear after Arikan had fumbled.
Rooney seemed to be at the heart of all United's positive play and he flipped a great cross into the box after popping up on the left, but Valencia could only glance a header wide.
Besiktas kept the crowd on their side by working hard to stifle United and they grew in confidence as the first half developed, but were restricted to shots from distance.
Serder Ozkan looked the most potent attacking threat for Besiktas and he almost grabbed the opening goal, but his shot which deflected off Jonny Evans' boot looped onto the roof of the net.
United could and possibly should have taken the lead at the start of the second half. A teasing cross from Nani forced a drastic defensive clearance from Matteo Ferrari, the ball was returned into the path of Carrick but he was unable to generate any power on his strike from eight yards.
Ferguson shuffled his pack, with Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Owen brought on for Rooney and Carrick. Rooney had steam coming from his ears as he trudged off and made his feelings known by flinging his boot into the ground.
Owen looked like justifying the substitution when appearing to spring the offside trap but after rounding the keeper, a late flag halted him in his tracks.
Valencia looked like United's most likely source of a goal following Rooney's departure and he flashed a low shot a yard wide after leaving his marker chasing shadows.
United's winner came on 77 minutes and it was somewhat appropriate that Valencia had a hand in it.

The Ecuadorian exchanged passes with Owen before shifting the ball to Nani. The winger made space and shot on goal, Arikan made a fine diving save but Scholes was on hand to nod home the rebound.
The goal calmed the crowd a shade, but the introduction of Nihat with eight minutes remaining raised the decibel level and he crafted a chance with a sweet cross but Mert Nobre was just unable to stretch his neck far enough to reach.
Owen squandered a good chance crafted by Berbatov, but it mattered little as United took a welcome three points.

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