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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Dynamo Kiev Vs. Manchester United Match Result

Centre back Rio Ferdinand opened the scoring, but United's frontline ran riot in Kyiv during a free-flowing and frenetic Group F encounter.

Despite pre-match predictions of a tight tussle likely to be settled by a single strike, the net bulged six times in the Ukraine capital as Wayne Rooney, Carlos Tevez and Cristiano Ronaldo enjoyed the freedom of the Olympiyskiy Stadium's vast pitch.

Dynamo Kyiv did score two of the six goals, but never seriously threatened United's stranglehold on a third successive Champions League victory. The win leaves the Reds with maximum points so far in this season's competition and the opportunity to secure group qualification when Kyiv travel to Manchester in a fortnight.

United's first-half performance was as good as any European display in recent memory, with the Reds carving out a number of chances in the first half-hour. With Kyiv desperate for a win and manager Jozsef Szabo adopting a three-pronged strikeforce, United found gaps aplenty in the home side's defensive armour.

Szabo's tactics left Wayne Rooney, Carlos Tevez and Cristiano Ronaldo with boundless space in which to operate and it was the Reds' no.7 who looked most menacing in the game's early stages. Tiberiu Ghioane decided the easiest way to halt the 22-year-old was illegally, but his 9th minute foul on the Portuguese winger ultimately led to United's opener.

Giggs curled the resulting free-kick teasingly into the space in front of Kyiv goalkeeper Olexandr Shovkovskiy, who remained rooted to his line. Instead, Rio Ferdinand,who scored the Reds' third at Villa Park on Saturday, met the ball early to thump home a header and send United into the lead.

It must have been tempting for Sir Alex to then issue stifling instructions to his troops, but United continued to push forward in search of a second goal. It duly arrived on 18 minutes when Ronaldo fed Wes Brown on the right hand side of the penalty area. Kyiv's Goran Gavrancic slid in to intercept Brown's first-time cross but could only divert the ball into Rooney's path, who found the net for a simple tap-in.

It was Rooney's fifth goal in his last four United appearances and no less than the Reds deserved. Sir Alex's European sides are often criticised for a lack of attacking ambition but the manager's decision to attack Kyiv so early must surely be applauded.

Indeed, United would have killed off the game a minute later had Rooney or Tevez been able to get onto the end of yet another searching Ronaldo ball. The front two then went close again when Rooney stung Shovkovskiy's palms before Tevez's shot from the rebound was bravely blocked.

Such frenetic pace could never be sustained and the match slowed, albeit marginally, until the Ukrainians pulled a goal back on 34 minutes. Anderson did well defensively to break up a rare foray into the penalty area but Diogo Rincon gave John O'Shea the slip at the resulting corner and headed home unmarked from 10 yards.

It was a poor goal to concede from United's point of view, although the Reds almost restored the two-goal advantage immediately when Cristiano Ronaldo forced Shovkovskiy into a smart save down to his right. The Reds were on the march and John O'Shea missed a gilt-edged opportunity five minutes before the break when he miscued a shot from six-yards after good work on the right from Wayne Rooney.

A third United goal did arrive before half-time and again it was Ryan Giggs who provided a telling cross from the left flank. This time it was Ronaldo in the middle and, although he was unmarked, there was still a lot of work to do. Indeed, the no.7 was forced to back-pedal quickly before leaping to direct his header beyond Shovkovskiy and into the corner of the net.

The half-time whistle provided both players and fans a chance to draw breath (but not before the Reds fashioned another chance, which Rooney blasted narrowly over the top) and inevitably the second half was slightly more subdued.

But only just. The major difference was that now the team in white were fashioning the better chances, although United's defence, marshalled superbly by Rio Ferdinand, denied the home side again and again.

Rincon saw a glancing header go just wide on 52 minutes before Carlos Correa's free-kick curled around the wall and narrowly past van der Sar's left-hand post. It did send a scare through United's travelling support, as did Nemanja Vidic when he looked to have brought down Kyiv substitute Artem Milevskiy inside the area. But Hungarian referee Viktor Kassai blew for a foul the other way and a relieved United side restarted the match.

Kassai was under the spotlight again seven minutes later when Goran Gavrancic was adjudged to have handled the ball… initially on the edge of his area. After consultation with his assistant, however, the man in the middle pointed to the penalty spot, where Ronaldo coolly sent the hapless Shovkovskiy the wrong way to notch United's fourth and effectively seal the win.

Kyiv, rooted to the bottom of Group F and with nothing to lose, weren't about to surrender and Bangoura doubled the home side's tally with a long-range rocket on 78 minutes. Despite the revival, however, Sir Alex opted to withdraw Edwin van der Sar and Ryan Giggs, with Tomasz Kuszczak and Danny Simpson given a chance to impress.

There could have been even more goals in the final 10 minutes, but in the end United ran out 4-2 winners after a thrilling, open-ended 90 minutes that gives United every opportunity to secure passage into the knockout stages when the Ukrainians arrive at Old Trafford next month.

United: van der Sar (Kuszczak 80); Brown, Ferdinand, Vidic, O'Shea; Ronaldo, Anderson, Fletcher, Giggs (Simpson 80); Tevez (Nani 73), Rooney

Subs not used: Pique, Evans, Eagles

Dynamo Kyiv: Shovkovskiy; Ghioane (Belkevich), Gavrancic, Yussuf, Diakhate; Gusev, Correa, Nesmachniy; Bangoura, Rincon, Shatskikh (Milevskiy)

Subs not used: Rybka, Rotan, Vaschuk, El Kaddouri, Markovic Read more...

Edwin eyes early qualification

Edwin van der Sar wants United to take a step closer to the Champions League knockout stages with victory over Dynamo Kyiv on Tuesday. But the Reds goalkeeper insists United are not underestimating their Group F opponents.

After two 1-0 wins over Sporting Lisbon and AS Roma, the Reds are in a commanding position to finish top of the group. However, van der Sar is drawing on the experience of last season, when defeats to Celtic and FC Copenhagen left the Reds needing a result against Benfica in the final group match to qualify.

“Last season we started off well in the Champions League, but then we got ourselves in difficulty by losing twice and needing to win in the last game,” van der Sar said on the eve of the match.

“The first thing you want is to qualify and the second is to do it as quickly as possible. But we can’t underestimate the opposition.”

Dynamo Kyiv may have lost both their opening matches, but there are pitfalls in playing the Ukrainians at home.

“We know that it can be difficult on these nights,” adds Edwin. “The home crowd will be fanatical and there’s also the cold to contend with.

“We’ve watched the videos and had the analysis from the scouts and the coaching staff, but the games can sometimes be different. We want the best at United, and that means qualifying as quickly as we can.” Read more...

Troubled Saha is out again

The informed talk within Ukraine's football community this week is that Dynamo Kiev centre forward Sergei Rebrov will miss Tuesday night's visit of Manchester United through an injury that exists largely in his head. It is cruel talk about a man who has given his country so much but back in Manchester another troubled centre forward - United's Louis Saha - must be aware that he, too, must soon prove to a sceptical public that he has the mental fortitude to succeed at the highest level. Saha is again missing from Sir Alex Ferguson's squad - a knee injury causing his withdrawal on this occasion - and the pattern of the France international's behaviour is becoming depressingly familiar. Optimistic words from his manager follow each comeback. Each return is then promptly aborted.
Ian Ladyman, Daily Mail

Tevez worth the wait

In-from Carlos Tevez has proved to Sir Alex Ferguson that the months of drawn out negotiations to bring him to the club were well worth it.

The Argentina striker’s effervescent attitude alone has already won him the affections of United’s supporters. At training on the Olympic Stadium pitch on Monday night, Tevez was tearing around the pitch fighting for every ball.

But it’s not just his attitude and approach that have impressed Sir Alex. Not only has his form on the pitch been hugely impressive in recent weeks, it appears there is more to come from the 23-year-old.

“His performances have been very, very good,” said Sir Alex.

“It’s always a test for any player coming to United, but Carlos has given his own answer to that challenge in the way that he has played.

“We’ve been delighted with the lad. His attitude in the matches and in training has been excellent and we are very lucky to have him.”

The talk of late has been of how well the Argentina striker has been combining with Wayne Rooney. Although in essence they are similar players, their growing understanding of each other’s movement is a pleasing sight for Sir Alex.

"All the evidence suggests they can form a really good partnership," said the Reds boss.

"We've had some fantastic partnerships at the club over the years and most of them took time to develop, apart from Cole and Yorke, who were terrific in their first season.

"Wayne is 22 this week and Carlos is 23, so both are young. They're showing great understanding already, but hopefully in three or four years' time we'll see something really special.

"Both have great attributes as strikers. Courage, speed, the ability to beat men, all those things are there.

"But maturity is the key. Once we see that, they will have greater authority and better timing in their game. Hopefully they'll still be at this club then and people will see what really special players they are.

“We hope they develop as a partnership and just get better. The signs are very good at the moment.” Read more...

Scholes misses Kyiv clash

Scholes misses Kyiv clash

United have suffered a blow in the build-up to the Champions League match against Dynamo Kiev with Paul Scholes being ruled out through injury.

Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed the news in an exclusive interview with MUTV.

“Paul Scholes will miss the match, he picked up a knee injury in training," the boss revealed.

"He will be scanned when we get home. It’s unfortunate but these things happen. I’m confident we’ve got enough experience to cope tonight."

MUTV broke the news in their 2pm news bulletin on Tuesday. It comes at a bad time for United with Scholes' fellow central midfielders Michael Carrick and Owen Hargreaves also sidelined with injuries.

However, Darren Fletcher returned to action with Scotland last week and could deputise for Scholes against the Ukrainians. Read more...

Rooney form impresses Rio

Rio Ferdinand believes Wayne Rooney's current form is ominous for United's European and domestic rivals.

Rooney, who turns 22 on Wednesday, was in irresistible form against Aston Villa, scoring twice as the Reds warmed up in style for their Champions League clash in Kyiv.

Ferdinand said: "To me he's a fantastic footballer and it's great to have him in our team. When he's in form like that, he's almost unstoppable.

"I think he and Carlos (Tevez) put to bed all the question marks as to whether they can play together. Their movement was fantastic and I don’t think Villa could live with them."

Rooney's brace at Villa Park demonstrated his ability to bounce back from England's damaging defeat in Russia, in which he had also scored.

"The disappointment with England wasn’t going to affect his performance,” Rio said.

“Top players do that - you have disappointments throughout your career but it’s how you respond to those setbacks. He’s showed that he’s in good spirits.”

Rooney's partnership with Carlos Tevez is beginning to earn rave reviews, now the latter has settled into life at Old Trafford.

"Carlos has been in England for a while but you’ve got to give these guys time," said Rio, also referring to Nani and Anderson.

“People forget they’re only young. Anderson’s only 19 but he's a fantastic footballer. He's working hard with the fitness coach and you’re seeing the fruits of that now.” Read more...