Related News

Home » Sports » Soccer

United puts on class act at Arsenal

DEFENDING champion Manchester United gave Arsenal a European masterclass with a ruthless 3-1 victory in their Champions League semifinal second leg on Tuesday.

United took advantage of two early Arsenal blunders at the Emirates Stadium to kill off the tie and book its place in the final in Rome 4-1 on aggregate. An inspired Cristiano Ronaldo struck twice after Park Ji-sung had punched an early hole in Arsenal's defence.

United extended its record unbeaten run in the competition to 25 games after inflicting Arsenal's first defeat in Europe at its new Emirates home.

"We got the break with the first goal with the defender slipping and Park Ji-sung takes advantage of that," United manager Alex Ferguson said.

"The performance in terms of confidence and wanting to play our football was really terrific."

United has fared badly at Arsenal in recent years, winning just one of its last 10 visits, and there was a real mood of optimism among the home fans in the opening exchanges as the visitors looked tentative.

Within 11 minutes, however, the tie was effectively over.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said in his program notes that he had been plotting for the return leg non-stop in his head since the 0-1 defeat at Old Trafford last Wednesday.

But all the Frenchman's meticulous plans went up in smoke after eight minutes as young left back Kieran Gibbs endured the worst moment of his fledgling career.

There seemed minimal danger as Ronaldo scurried to the by line and cut back a cross but the 19-year-old Gibbs lost his footing and despite desperate attempts to recover his balance, the lurking South Korean Park lifted a shot past Almunia.

Ronaldo was booed loudest by the home fans when the teams were announced but the Portuguese replied with a mesmerizing display of footwork and power.

Three minutes after Park's opener, the European and World Player of the Year was fouled by Robin van Persie way out on the right.

It seemed an improbable distance from goal but he only had one thought in his mind as he ran up and sent a ferocious free-kick dipping inside Almunia's near post from 40 meters.

Park and Ronaldo played a slick one-two before Park sent Rooney marauding deep into Arsenal territory and the England striker slid a pass across the area for Ronaldo to clip a shot past Almunia.

It was the signal for thousands of Arsenal fans to leave and for Ferguson to ring the changes with Rooney, Anderson and Patrice Evra coming off in readiness for the weekend league match against Manchester City.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend