Late Penalty Secures Qualification

Ibrox Park Glasgow Rangers v Manchester United Champions League Group C 24/11/2010 Wayne Rooney (Man Utd) celebrates after scoring from penalty Photo: Roger Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom
Wayne Rooney stepped up and scored a late penalty for Man United, which guaranteed progression to the last 16 of the Champions League.

Manchester United had most of the possession throughout the game but found it incredibly difficult to break down the Rangers defence. It was a very negative performance from the home side, who kept most men behind the ball for most of the game.

United should have been awarded a stonewall penalty only minutes in after Dimitar Berbatov was brought down in the area by Steven Davis. Somehow both the referee and extra official missed it.

Minutes later, Berbatov should have put United ahead but his header from Fabio da Silva’s cross didn’t have enough power on it to beat Allan McGregor in the Rangers goal. The home sides first chance came 15 minutes in from a free-kick but Kenny Millers header fell wide of Edwin Van Der Sar’s post.

The closest either side came to scoring in the first half came just before half time, another great cross by Fabio was headed onto the bar by Rooney. That was followed by a golden opportunity for Rangers, a run down the right and then a shot by Steven Naismith was blocked by Van Der Sar.

Not much changed during the second half, even though Rangers had to win to give them a chance of staying in the Champions League. The first chance of the second half was from a 30-yard free-kick taken by Rooney, but the ball flew inches wide of the post.

The Scottish side had a golden opportunity after a mix up at the back between Jonny Evans and Van Der Sar. Evans was expecting Van Der Sar to collect the ball but Naismith got in between them, fortunately for United, Van Der Sar was able to prevent Naismith from lifting the ball over him.

More opportunities fell to Rooney, the first was a long-range effort that flew both high and wide. The second came from a cross from Giggs but his diving header was well off target.

United were finally able to take the lead after a very high challenge on Fabio by Naismith in the penalty area. The referee immediately awarded the penalty, which was struck confidently past McGregor by Rooney.

The plaudits will go to Rooney but there was a Man Of The Match performance by Fabio da Silva, who continually caused problems for Rangers but he also delivered quite a few descent crosses. Chris Smalling also had an impressive game; he didn’t have too much to do but looked very calm and composed in the heart of United’s defence.

Man United won the game 1-0, Valencia won their game against Bursaspor 6-1, which means both United and Valencia progress. Manchester United will play Valencia at Old Trafford on the 7th December with both teams fighting for top spot.

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