The part of the world where I live in (India), the Champions League matches kick off at 1.30 in the morning (not afternoon, morning)! So one can understand my disappointment and frustration when I stayed up till 3.30 in the morning just to see Man Utd lose to Cluj at Old Trafford! People may argue that Man Utd fielded a weak side, that the game was not even important to them, that Man Utd had won the group already so they could afford to lose this match. Well, let me tell you this- teams like Man Utd play to win! It does not matter whether the match is important enough or whether they put out a second strong team; they are expected to win every time they play. Specially, when they’re up against a team like Cluj, AT OLD TRAFFORD!
The consolation this time for Man Utd was that the goal was not a result of their typical shameful defending this season. It was a superb shot by Luis Alberto from 30 yards out which curled into the top corner and gave. There was nothing anyone could have done about it. It was a moment of brilliance and these things generally end up at the back of the net. Other than that, Chris Smalling, Scott Wooton, Alexander Buttner and Phil Jones did a decent job throughout the game.
The problem, this time, was in the final third of the pitch. Man Utd looked lethal going in front but that final ball seemed to elude them everytime. Javier Hernandez did find himself in space in the first half but the Cluj goalkeeper was upto the mark and closed him down well. There were sudden bursts of pace and energy seen in Danny Welbeck every now and then but it failed to materialise into anything concrete. The only setback Man Utd faced last night was Tom Cleverly getting substituted in the first half after he took a knock. The extent of his injury is unknown as of now.
Sir Alex Ferguson seemed satisfied with his side’s performance last night. It was almost like a warm-up match prior to the big Machester Derby this Sunday. Judging by recent performances, Manchester City have problems of their own at the back and in front of the goal as well. Manchester United, if they are at their best, might even come away with all three points. Lets wait and watch! 🙂