Tuesday, November 3, 2009

United 3 - 3 CSKA Moscow

Manchester United staged a stirring late rally at Old Trafford to claim a place in the last 16 of the Champions League after CSKA Moscow looked poised to end their 22-game unbeaten home record in the competition.

Sir Alex Ferguson's revamped United looked like they would have to wait to seal their place in the knockout phase when they trailed 3-1 with only six minutes remaining.

But with a grandstand finish that has become their trademark, Paul Scholes headed home six minutes from time and Antonio Valencia's deflected shot in injury time rescued the vital point.

CSKA looked well on course to inflict United's first Champions League defeat at Old Trafford since AC Milan won in February 2005 - but they reckoned without the powers of recovery and refusal to accept defeat buried deep within Ferguson's side.

The Russians took the lead after 25 minutes when Alan Dzagoev beat a static Edwin van der Sar from an angle, but Michael Owen pounced in the area to restore equality four minutes later.

CSKA were quickly back in front when Milos Krasic rounded Van der Sar to score, and when Vasili Berezutski headed home Dzagoev's free-kick two minutes after half-time, United looked likely to sample the rare taste of defeat on home territory.

But the introduction of Wayne Rooney, the day after the birth of his son Kai, lifted the mood inside Old Trafford and set the scene for United's late charge.

United boss Ferguson made public his admiration for Igor Akinfeev in his programme notes, and the CSKA keeper will have further impressed the Old Trafford hierarchy with a magnificent display that kept the Premier League champions at bay until the late double salvo from Scholes and Valencia broke their resistance.

To complete a miserable conclusion for CSKA, they had defender Deividas Semberas sent off after receiving a second yellow card.

Scholes headed home Gary Neville's free-kick with six minutes left, and Valencia capped a trademark grandstand finish when his shot from the edge of the area was deflected off Georgy Shchennikov past Akinfeev.

You can view the entire article here

Source: BBC Sports

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