Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Manchester United stuns Milan by four

A brace from Wayne Rooney sealed a 4-0 victory and an emphatic 7-2 aggregate scoreline as Manchester United romped past Milan at Old Trafford to clinch their place in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Rooney gave United the lead in just the 13th minute with a sublime glancing header, and the England forward netted his 30th goal of the season with a deft finish seconds after half-time to stun the visitors.
David Beckham was confined to the Milan bench from the outset, but the former United midfielder had to wait until his side were 3-0 down before he was introduced after Park Ji-Sung slammed a fierce shot beyond Christian Abbiati just before the hour-mark.
Darren Fletcher capped an imperious display from the English champions with a fourth goal in the 88th minute, and Milan and Beckham were left utterly shell-shocked at the final whistle.
Rooney almost gave the hosts the lead in the fourth minute as he swivelled on the edge of the Milan box to latch on to Antonio Valencia's cut back and fired a low shot which he dragged narrowly wide of Christian Abbiati's near post.
Milan were hardly subdued at the other end, as Andrea Pirlo whipped over a devilish delivery in the eighth minute which Nani inadvertently flicked over to Ronaldinho, but the Brazilian's header drifted narrowly wide.
Two minutes later, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who flanked Marco Borriello along with Ronaldinho, stole in at the back post beyond Patrice Evra to receive Thiago Silva's raking diagonal pass from the back, but his first touch was sloppy as the ball evaded him.
Neville was preferred to Rafael at right-back for United, and Sir Alex Ferguson's decision was vindicated as the skipper picked out Rooney with a pinpoint cross from the right as United stamped their authority on the match in the 13th minute.
Rooney's exquisitely-timed run caught Daniele Bonera napping as the forward climbed above his marker to glance a deft finish beyond a helpless Abbiati and score his third headed goal in the tie.

Milan looked devoid of ideas in attack as they sought to redress the balance of the tie and, as Ronaldinho and Huntelaar were dragged outwide to gain possession, Borriello was left increasingly isolated and stifled for space.
Veteran midfielder Clarence Seedorf was introduced at half-time as the Rossoneri looked to inject some impetus into their midfield, but it was United who began the half in sparkling fashion.
Nani surged down the left wing at blistering pace before the Portugese's precise cut back was dabbed past the onrushing Abbiati by Rooney with the utmost swagger and composure.
Milan were left horribly exposed as their three-pronged attack offered about as much defensively as they did in forward areas, and United capitalised in the 59th minute to kill the tie.
Paul Scholes found Park in behind Marek Jankulovski, and the midfielder's low shot fizzed into the bottom corner to make it three in the 59th minute as the hosts were rampant.
Then ensued a procession of substitutions as both managers recognised that the tie had been effectively decided, and the first to make his entrance was Beckham, to a standing ovation from the Old Trafford crowd.
Rooney was withdrawn to a rapturous reception as the forward was denied a potential second hat-trick, and Paul Scholes and Neville departed swiftly afterwards.
The evening was capped off by Fletcher in the 88th minute as the midfielder capitalised on more shoddy defending by the visitors to turn home Rafael's deep cross and make it four.
United swagger through to the quarter-finals after humbling Milan over the two legs, as Rooney yet again established himself as one of the world's most potent attacking forces.

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