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Monday, October 14, 2013

Selamat Hari Raya Aidil Adha!

Salam Aidil Adha to all my Muslim friends and Happy Holiday to the rest. :) 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Happy Deepavali!

The feast of Diwali not only signifies the success of good upon evil but the light of this festive season brings the peace and harmony within us. Let us all be lights to others although that we might not benifitted from it! Wishing all of you a very happy and prosperous DEEPAVALI! :)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Briged Bestari

Briged Bestari, SMK St Paul is the club I joined since last year. It's interesting and I enjoy attending club meetings.. :)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Portugal overwhelmed North Korea 7-0 in rainy Cape Town to leave themselves on the brink of qualification for the World Cup second round

Raul Meireles opened the scoring after 29 minutes at the Green Point Stadium before Portugal netted three times in the space of seven second-half minutes.
Goals from Simao Sabrosa, Hugo Almeida and Tiago ensured the lowest-ranked team in the tournament were eliminated before efforts from Liedson, Cristiano Ronaldo and Tiago again in the last 10 minutes added a real gloss to the scoreline.
It means that even if Portugal lose their final game to Brazil, the Ivory Coast will need to beat North Korea and overturn a nine goal differential.
The game could not offer the drama of 44 years ago when North Korea took a 3-0 lead over Portugal in the World Cup quarter-final at Goodison Park before losing 5-3 - but a lively opening period saw 15 attempts on goal.
Ricardo Carvalho saw an early header hit the post before Meireles, a constant threat with his runs from midfield, broke the deadlock.
The Porto man timed his run to perfection and lashed his shot under the outrushing Ri Myong-guk after a great through ball by Tiago.
Indeed Meireles should have had a second before half-time after Pak Chol-jin's clearance hit An Yong-hak and the ball fell to him, but he dragged his effort wide from close range.
Korea did have a golden chance to open the scoring after 18 minutes when a powerful diagonal drive from Hong Yong-jo was pushed away by Eduardo and straight to Pak Nam-chol - but he failed to keep his header down from point-blank range.
Cha Jong-hyok and An Yong-hak also had decent strikes from distance as Korea showed far more adventure than they did in their opening 2-1 defeat to Brazil.
But they were overwhelmed in the second half and Portugal extended their lead after 53 minutes through the best team goal of the tournament.
A cross from the right was chested down by Almeida, he combined with Meireles who slipped in Simao and the Atletico Madrid winger calmly slotted his finish between the legs of Ri Myong-guk.
Three minutes later it became three with the impressive full-back Fabio Coentrao bursting down the left and his pinpoint cross was headed home by Almeida.
Almeida was one of four changes made to the starting XI by Carlos Queiroz after the disappointing goalless draw against Ivory Coast and another of the new faces, Tiago, added the fourth.
Ronaldo sprung the offside trap down the left and pulled the ball back to the former Chelsea midfielder who sidefooted his shot into the back of the net.
Portugal threatened to run riot with Meireles missing a gilt-edged chance from eight yards, Coentrao dinking the ball marginally wide and Ronaldo cutting inside and unleashing a thunderbolt that flicked off the top of the crossbar.
Liedson did add the fifth, nine minutes from time, as he lashed a volley into the back of the net with virtually his first touch after Ri Kwang-chon made a complete hash of Duda's cross from the left.
Another defensive calamity saw Ronaldo break his streak of 12 international matches without a goal, Liedson nipping in to steal the ball before the Real Madrid star saw his shot bounce back off the keeper and roll down his back and neck before he tapped into an empty net.
Tiago completed the rout a minute from time as he planted his header into the far corner after a cross from the left by Miguel Veloso and Portugal will go into Friday's Group G finale against Brazil with real confidence and a chance to top the group.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Gamba Osaka 3 United 5

Never underestimate the impact Wayne Rooney can have on a football match.

United may well have already been 2-0 up against Gamba Osaka when Rooney was brought on in Japan, but the game only truly sparked into life when the England international stepped onto the pitch.

And how it sparked! Six goals – three for United, three for Gamba Osaka – in 19 minutes followed Rooney’s introduction. When the dust had settled after an incredible turn of events, the Reds had emerged 5-3 winners and booked a place in Sunday’s FIFA Club World Cup final.

Rooney’s first emotion would have been frustration, however, as Gamba Osaka immediately pulled the score back to 2-1 courtesy of striker Masato Yamakazi.

But a minute later Rooney had bagged his first, finishing well after Darren Fletcher’s long ball had sliced open the Japanese defence. It was then Fletcher’s turn to get on the scoreline, heading in Patrice Evra’s cross to complete a neat passing move.

Rooney made it 5-1 on 79 minutes after neat link-up play with Ryan Giggs before Gamba won a penalty when Gary Neville was adjudged to have handled a cross from the left wing. Dead-ball specialist Yasuhito Endo stepped forward to calmly tuck away the kick before Hideo Hashimoto scored the best goal of the game in injury time.

Those inside the Yokohama International Stadium certainly got their money’s worth. The seven goals aside, fans were treated to a full-strength United side.

Large sections of the English press had suggested the FIFA Club World Cup was an unnecessary distraction, but Sir Alex loaded his side with experience, including Gary Neville, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand in the starting XI. Still, it was Cristiano Ronaldo who drew the most cheers from the capacity crowd.

Ronny had United’s first shot on goal, but only after Gamba Osaka midfielder Tomokazu Myojin had tested Edwin van der Sar. Ronaldo then fizzed an effort just wide of the post before van der Sar was called into action again on 13 minutes, saving well from Ryuji Bando.

With a place in Sunday’s final against Ecuador’s LDU Quito up for grabs, you could have excused the teams had they opted for a cautious approach. But both sides, and United in particular, were happy to commit men forward and play open, attacking football.

The Reds were rewarded on 28 minutes when Nemanja Vidic rose highest to head home Ryan Giggs’ corner from close range. The Serbian out-jumped Gamba captain Satoshi Yamaguchi to power home his fourth goal of the season (surprisingly, the first with his head), just as United had begun to dominate proceedings.

It could have – and should have – been 2-0 five minutes later when Ronaldo whipped a dangerous ball across the six-yard box. Anderson, unmarked and still without a goal for the Reds since arriving at Old Trafford, failed to make clean contact with the cross when it looked easier to score.

The Japanese side, who booked their place at the Club World Cup after winning the AFC Champions League, pressed forward in search of an equaliser but struggled to make an impact in the final third. Instead, they were restricted to long-range efforts that failed to find the target.

There was nothing wrong with Ronaldo’s radar when he put United 2-0 up in first-half injury time. Again the ball came from a Giggs corner and again the Japanese side struggled to cope with the Reds’ aerial threat. This time, however, it was Myojin who was out-jumped, as Ronaldo directed a powerful header past Gamba goalkeeper Yosuke Fujigaya from 12 yards.

Neither manager made substitutions during the interval and little changed on the pitch when the sides emerged for the second half. United looked comfortable in possession, while the Japanese team continued to spray shots wide of the mark. Carlos Tevez had a goal ruled out for offside before Gamba playmaker Yasuhito Endo drew a fine diving save from van der Sar after Patrice Evra had given away a free-kick 25 yards from goal.

Endo curled his shot over the wall and towards the far corner, but the Reds’ goalkeeper, who agreed to sign a new contract earlier this week at the age of 38, was equal to the task, flying across goal to palm the ball out. Bando picked up the loose ball but, like so many of his team-mates before him, couldn’t hit the target.

Sir Alex then brought Wayne Rooney on in the 74th minute. There was pandemonium in the stands and, soon enough, on the pitch as well.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Report: United 4 Hull City 3

The Tigers roared and roared but the Reds triumphed 4-3 in a pulsating encounter at Old Trafford.Hull’s fairytale start to the season looked a distant memory when Nemanja Vidic sent United 4-1 up on 57 minutes, but goals from Bernard Mendy and Geovanni made for nervy final moments at the Theatre of Dreams.Hulls’s fans certainly thought they were in dreamland, as they sung “this is the best trip we’ve ever been on”. All good things must end, though, and when referee Mike Dean blew the final whistle it was United celebrating three precious Premier League points. At his pre-match press conference, Sir Alex said he was confident he could keep Berbatov, Rooney and Tevez all happy. Against Hull, it was Rooney and Berbatov who were charged with leading the line.Wes Brown was left out after picking up a minor knock on his ankle. Gary Neville occupied the right back berth in what was his 550th United appearance, while Cristiano Ronaldo played his 250th Reds match. Michael Carrick started his first match since mid-September after returning from injury, with Darren Fletcher relegated to the bench.Edwin van der Sar also returned in goal but he’d barely touched the ball before the Reds went in front. Surprise, surprise, it was that man Ronaldo, with his third of the week. Dimitar Berbatov drilled the ball towards the Portuguese winger, who took one touch with his back to goal before swiveling to hit a sweet half-volley in off the post.By the manager’s own admission, United took their foot off the gas against West Ham in midweek after going 2-0 up. Against Hull, however, the Reds continued to press. Berbatov produced a sublime piece of juggling skill in the middle of the park before releasing Nani down the left wing. His cross sat up invitingly at the back post but Kamil Zayatte bravely headed clear with Ronaldo poised to pounce.Rooney then fired inches over from the edge of the box on 17 minutes but Hull found the net next, summer signing Daniel Cousin flicking an Andy Dawson free-kick into the far corner on 23 minutes.Since their arrival in the top flight, Phil Brown’s side have earned a reputation for being well organised, and Hull’s equaliser certainly looked like a training-ground set-piece. United have now conceded twice in a week from headers, however, and that will worry Sir Alex.Six minutes later, United’s lead was restored, as City’s defenders backed off Michael Carrick. Released by Berbatov, Carrick advanced, picked his spot and fired across Hull goalkeeper Boaz Myhill and into the net. It was a tremendous strike and a fitting way to celebrate his return to the side.Rooney next had the ball in the net, but his effort was ruled out by the referee assistant’s offside flag. Never mind: Ronaldo made it 3-1 on 44 minutes, heading in Nani’s corner via a slight touch off former Reds defender Paul McShane.Neither manager made changes at the break and it was Sir Alex’s men who continued crafting chances early in the second half. Berbatov and Ronaldo both dragged shots wide before Nemanja Vidic made it 4-1, tapping in Rooney’s corner from close range.The scoring didn’t stop there, however. Hull substitute Bernard Mendy dinked the ball over van der Sar to pull another back for the visitors before referee Mike Dean awarded Hull a dubious penalty in the 82nd minute after Mendy and Ferdinand tangled inside the area.Ex-Manchester City forward Geovanni stepped up to fire the ball into the net and give Hull real hope of earning a dramatic, last-gasp draw. Rattled somewhat, the Reds hung on for the last 10 minutes to see out the match, clinch victory and finish the day in third place.Lineups:United: Van der Sar; Neville, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Ronaldo, Carrick (Giggs 72), Anderson (O’Shea 88), Nani (Tevez 64); Rooney, BerbatovSubs: Foster, Rafael, Fletcher, ParkBooked: Rooney, TevezHull City: Myhill; McShane, Turner, Zayatte, Dawson; Marney, Boateng, Hughes (Mendy 59), Geovanni; Cousin, King (Halmosi 63)Subs: Duke, Barmby, Garcia, Folan, RickettsBooked: Turner, MendyAttendance: 75,398

Friday, October 24, 2008

Report: United 3 Celtic 0

Dimitar Berbatov and Wayne Rooney were on target again as United outclassed Celtic to stay in control of Champions League Group E.In a game predictably billed as the ‘Battle of Britain’, the Scottish champions were overran by a dominant Red Army at Old Trafford. Berbatov produced poacher’s finishes in each half to put United in command, before Rooney continued his prolific October scoring streak with an excellent strike from the edge of the box.The hoardes of travelling Celtic fans had little to cheer about as United cruised to victory, recording another clean sheet to make it eight games without defeat in all competitions.The Reds’ starting line-up had produced two major talking points. Cristiano Ronaldo was named in the side, despite suggestions that he would be rested, while Rio Ferdinand was replaced by Jonny Evans after picking up a groin strain in training on Monday. Ronaldo had the game's first chance but blasted over from 20 yards after neat interplay involving Berbatov, Gary Neville and Anderson. Soon after Rooney’s spectacular bicycle kick from Nani's cross was blocked by Mark Wilson on the six-yard line.Celtic had early moments of their own, with Edwin van der Sar twice called into action to save a low Aiden McGeady shot and Gary Caldwell's vicious dipping volley.But United always looked the more likely to open the scoring and, like the last time these sides met at Old Trafford in 2006, the home side’s opener came on the half-hour.Nani swung in a corner from the left and, at the second attempt, John O’Shea stabbed the ball forward for Berbatov to flick home on the turn from three yards.United’s forward line were full of running, movement and one-touch passing, harrying Celtic’s defence into rushed clearances and desperate blocks. Darren Fletcher had a glorious opportunity to double United’s advantage on the stroke of half-time but fired over from eight yards after controlling Rooney’s cross.But it didn’t take long after the break for Berbatov to score his – and United’s – second goal with another predatory finish.Anderson was fouled by Scott Brown 25 yards out, Artur Boruc could only parry Ronaldo’s resulting free-kick and Berbatov was left with the simple task of slotting home the rebound.It was the Bulgarian’s third goal in two games and fourth in two Champions League outings. And to think that people were doubting him a month ago.Rooney thought he’d got on the scoresheet soon after but was flagged offside - although replays showed he wasn't - as he ran onto Fletcher’s neat slide-rule pass.Berbatov looked disappointed when he was called off on the hour mark, but the two-goal forward left the field to a standing ovation, with Neville also replaced by Wes Brown.Berbatov’s replacement Carlos Tevez flashed narrowly wide minutes

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Report: United 4 West Brom 0

Four second-half goals helped a fluent United see off West Bromwich Albion’s gallant challenge at Old Trafford.
The Reds had been frustrated by the visitors – in particular keeper Scott Carson – for nearly an hour but finally made the breakthrough when Wayne Rooney finished neatly for his fourth goal in as many games.
Cristiano Ronaldo made the game safe with a left-footed shot before Dimitar Berbatov prodded home and substitute Nani added gloss to the scoreline in injury-time.
Rooney was again irrepressible and the only downside to the win was an injury to Patrice Evra, who was forced off in the first half after taking a knock to his leg.
Despite the impending Champions League visit of Celtic, Sir Alex Ferguson opted to field a strong side. It was perhaps a sign of respect for the Baggies, who arrived on the back of three straight league wins.
Right-back Rafael was handed a first Premier League start, with Ryan Giggs playing in the centre of midfield, Ji-sung Park on the left and Ronaldo on the right. Carlos Tevez and Anderson were omitted from the squad after their international exertions in midweek.
West Brom began with a confidence that belied their underdog status, Chris Brunt firing straight at Edwin van der Sar when well placed on the edge of
the box.
But United – in particular the first three goalscorers – looked in the mood as well and the forward trio were involved in most of the Reds’ most promising attacks.
Rooney looked to have given United the lead midway through the first half when he controlled Ronaldo’s pass, cut inside and dinked the ball home, only for referee Mark Halsey to harshly penalise the striker for a push on Gianni Zuiverloon.
Soon after Rooney had another chance to put United ahead but his header from Giggs’ left-wing free-kick was well parried by Carson.
Ten minutes before the break Evra was replaced by John O’Shea and the Frenchman looked to be moving uncomfortably as he left the pitch.
But United continued to press and as the half neared its conclusion Berbatov was thwarted as he prepared to pull the trigger inside the box.
The Reds began the second period in much the same vein, with Ronaldo providing extra impetus by drifting into the centre of the attack.
Rooney again looked most likely to break the deadlock but was twice denied by excellent Carson parries. Yet the Baggies’ keeper could do little about the striker’s top-drawer finish when it finally arrived in the 56th minute.
United broke at pace, Berbatov played a ball into the path of Rooney, who charged down the left, cut inside Ryan Donk and shot low to Carson’s right.
Rooney's animated celebration suggested relief as much as anything else after his earlier frustrations in front of goal. He almost grabbed a second minutes later after being played in by Giggs, only to be denied by Carson yet again.
But a second goal did arrive with 20 minutes left and this time it was Rooney who was the provider with a through-ball to Ronaldo, who shot left-footed underneath Carson.
And almost immediately Berbatov made it three with his first goal at Old Trafford. A left-wing cross from Nani, on for Park, found its way via a deflection to the Bulgarian, who instinctively stuck out a boot and guided the ball home.
West Brom battled bravely but lacked the necessary quality in front of goal. Substitute Ishmael Miller had their best chance with two minutes left but his shot whistled just wide.
And Nani made a satisfying evening for the champions even better when he converted Rooney’s cross from close range in stoppage-time.Team line-ups
MANCHESTER UNITED: Van der Sar; Rafael (Neville 65), Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra (O'Shea 36); Ronaldo, Fletcher, Giggs, Park (Nani 70); Berbatov, Rooney.Subs not used:
Brown, Evans, Gibson, Kuszczak.
WEST BROMWICH ALBION: Carson; Zuiverloon, Donk, Olsson, Robinson; Morrison, Valero, Greening, Koren (Moore 72), Brunt; Bednar (Miller 53).Subs not used: Kiely; Cech, Hoefkens, Barnett, Macdonald.Bookings: Zuiverloon.
Attendance: 75, 451.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Rooney hits top gear

Wayne Rooney says he hasn’t changed his approach after scoring his third goal in three games to help United to an impressive 2-0 win over Blackburn Rovers.The 22-year-old Reds forward has been in fine form recently, scoring against Bolton Wanderers, Aalborg and now Blackburn. But Rooney defended his form at the start of the season by saying the only difference now is that he is finding the back of the net.“Once you get your first goal of the season your confidence is sky-high. I’ve not really been doing anything differently,” he said after scoring the goal that clinched victory over Paul Ince's men. “I’m not doing anything different to what I was doing at the start of the season. I’ve just been taking my chances – that’s the only real difference.”Rooney’s performance – including his fantastic second-half top-corner strike – was arguably his most complete of the season so far. The same goes for United, whose fluid movement in attack was a joy to watch, particularly after the break.“It’s a great result for us because it’s been a difficult place to come to in the last few years,” Rooney told Setanta Sports. “The conditions weren’t the best, it was raining heavily, but I thought we played well and deserved the win.“We moved the ball well at times. We were confident in possession and getting the goal in the first half allowed us to pass the ball more freely in the second half. We knew we’d get the chances to finish the game off and we did.”

Report: Rovers 0 United 2

Goals from Wes Brown and Wayne Rooney sealed an impressive away victory as United totally dominated Blackburn Rovers on their own patch.The Reds called the tune from start to finish at Ewood Park and, although Blackburn protested long and loud about the award of Brown's first-half goal, there was no question that Sir Alex Ferguson's side were deserved winners.Rovers goalkeeper Jason Brown claimed that he was fouled as Brown headed in a Wayne Rooney corner, but the rookie stopper was otherwise kept busy restricting United to a respectable scoreline.After a slow, stop-start beginning to the season, there have been signs in recent weeks that the Reds have been creeping towards top form, and this latest display is the clearest indication yet that the champions have hit their stride.Sir Alex opted for an attacking line-up as he sought to extend a three-game winning streak, with Dimitar Berbatov and Cristiano Ronaldo selected upfront alongside Rooney, who overcame an ankle injury sustained in Tuesday's win over Aalborg.For all the Reds' attacking talent, however, it was Nemanja Vidic who almost opened the scoring, but the Serbian centre-back couldn't quite contort to convert Rooney's deflected left-wing corner.Ewood Park has hardly been a happy hunting ground for United in recent seasons, and Matt Derbyshire served notice of Rovers' threat after 14 minutes when his low shot forced a fine save from Edwin van der Sar.That was the hosts' most promising piece of play, though, as United called the early tune. Darren Fletcher slid a clear opening wide and Giggs forced a marvellous save from Brown, but the Reds took the lead from the resulting corner.As players jostled for position to meet Rooney's inswinging cross, the Rovers goalkeeper found his route to the ball blocked by Vidic - who had eyes only for the ball - and Brown was on hand to sneak a header inside the near post.Jason Brown was called upon to save well at Rooney's feet shortly before half-time as - bar a routine save by van der Sar from Roque Santa Cruz - the Reds' dominance of possession and play continued long into the second half.Just after the hour mark came the killer second goal. Brown burst out of defence and found Ronaldo, who outmuscled Martin Olsen before pulling back for Rooney to stylishly finish into the top corner.A third goal in as many appearances for Rooney, who has responded perfectly to being benched against Bolton Wanderers last weekend, and he almost hit number four shortly afterwards, but his neat lob clipped the roof of Brown's net.Berbatov, Ronaldo and substitute Carlos Tevez, who struck the post with a superb 20-yard effort, all came close to adding gloss to the scoreline, but the Reds couldn't find a way past Brown again.Blackburn could count themselves lucky to suffer only a two-goal defeat after being bewitched by a swaggering masterclass from United. Less relieved will be those who most covet the Reds' Premier League crown, who saw the clearest sign yet that the champions are approaching top form.Team line-upsBLACKBURN ROVERS: Brown; Ooijer, Samba, Nelson, Warnock; Emerton, Tugay, Olsen, Pedersen; Santa Cruz, Derbyshire.Subs not used: Bunn, Mokoena, Villanueva, Fowler, Treacy, Roberts, Andrews.Bookings: Pedersen, SambaMANCHESTER UNITED: Van der Sar; Brown, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra (O'Shea 71); Fletcher, Anderson, Giggs (Tevez 66); Rooney (Park 77), Ronaldo, Berbatov.Subs not used: Amos, Nani, Rafael, Evans.Bookings: Fletcher Attendance: 27,000

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Berbatov plays it cool

We're quickly learning that Dimitar Berbatov is a laid-back character, but the relaxed celebration that followed his first United goal against Aalborg and his description of his acrobatic second as “a tap-in” takes cool to a new level.“I knew that my first goal would come sooner or later,” he said, ultra-relaxed after United’s 3-0 win in Denmark on Tuesday.The Bulgarian spurned a chance to score his first Reds goal after just six minutes in the Group E clash, volleying wide from eight yards. But he remained unfazed and grew in stature as the game progressed.Berbatov eventually found the net when he pounced on a defensive error to rifle home United’s second goal on 55 minutes. “I’m pleased to help my team win, that’s the most important thing,” he said. “But I’m happy [to score my first United goal].”His second goal showed the elegance that led to United parting with £30million to sign him this summer. From Cristiano Ronaldo’s he hit the ball on the bounce with an exquisite scissor kick. “It’s a goal like any other,” he shrugged. “It was a tap-in and that was it, 3-0.”Rio Ferdinand was pleased to see his new team-mate open his Reds account. "It was a good result," he told ITV Sport. "We knew it would be tough and that we'd have to pass the ball well and take our chances. It was good to see Berba get two goals to get him off the mark. Hopefully now we can go full steam ahead."

Scholes out for 10 weeks

Paul Scholes has suffered medial ligament damage and will be out for approximately 10 weeks.The news came at lunchtime on Wednesday, the day after Scholes had been stretchered off in United's 3-0 win over Aalborg BK in Denmark.Scholes wasn't the only casualty. Wayne Rooney and right-back Rafael were also substituted for medical reasons during the match. But Scholes was the first injured and, it would seem, the most serious. "There were a lot of plus points but we lost Paul Scholes," Sir Alex said after the final whistle. "We had one or two other injuries," the boss added. "Young Rafael got injured and Rooney has an ankle problem. He felt a weakness in it when he went to receive a ball and we took him off straightaway."So there was maybe a cost to pay for the victory. Nonetheless we have four points now and it's where we want to be."The three points in Aalborg were made safe by Dimitar Berbatov's first and second goals in a United shirt. Sir Alex was delighted to see the Bulgarian open his account so emphatically in only his fifth appearance."He scored two fantastic goals and that will help his confidence," said the manager."When you're transferred for that amount of money, you want your first goal quickly and he's got it. The second goal (volley from Ronaldo's cross) was a lovely goal."Berbatov's second-half brace may have spared the blushes of his team-mates - Sir Alex's other complaint, aside from the injuries, was that "we missed a lot of chances."

Rafael's rave reviews

Patrice Evra and Nemanja Vidic believe 18-year-old Brazilian full-back Rafael has a big future ahead of him at Old Trafford.The teenager has made short work of impressing everyone, including his team-mates, and turned in another fearless display against Aalborg. His third outing for the Reds bristled with the attacking intent you expect of a Brazilian, but he also doesn't need an invitation to tackle."He looks to be a very good player and he is ready to play for Manchester United," says Evra. "He is the future of the club. Rafael and his brother Fabio don’t seem to feel any pressure, they love to play football and Rafael does it with a smile on his face."Rafael didn't look out of place alongside Evra, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic in United's back four, and he is fast becoming a legitimate challenger for the right-back slot with Gary Neville and Wes Brown."He has a great future in front of him," added Vidic. "I hope he can become a great player. He has a big personality to play in the Champions League at only 18 years old. To go forward and shoot like he did was very impressive. He has the confidence to go forward and the pace to get back as well."

Ronaldo relishes Berba link-up

Cristiano Ronaldo is excited about playing alongside Dimitar Berbatov this season after watching the Bulgarian bag two goals for the Reds against Aalborg on Tuesday.Berbatov struck twice in the second half against the Danes, much to the delight of his boss Sir Alex Ferguson and his team-mates, too.“It's good for Berba to score his first goals for United, and he played well,” says Ronaldo. “It's always good for forwards to score, it keeps your confidence high. Everyone knows he's a good player. His style is different to Carlos [Tevez] and Wayne [Rooney] but after two or three games we're getting better together. He's a fantastic player and he's going to help the team a lot.”Berbatov’s first Reds goals and the improving form of Ronaldo and Rooney, who was impressive despite being substituted with an ankle injury after an hour, certainly bode well for the coming weeks. “The most important thing was to win,” added Ronny. “It’s our first Champions League win this season and we hope to reach the next round in first place – that’s our priority. "We played some good football and 3-0 is a great result. The team has started to play better and better in the last two or three games.”Ronaldo, who is still gaining match sharpness following his pre-season ankle surgery, insists he feels completely settled at United despite a summer of speculation linking him with a move away from OT. “I feel very comfortable,” he says. “I feel very good at the club, very happy and I want to carry on like that.”

Report: Aalborg 0 United 3

United eased to three points, and top spot in Group E, with a 3-0 win over Aalborg in Denmark, thanks to a first-half strike from Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov’s second-half double.Sir Alex Ferguson was delighted to see his £30million summer signing finally get off the mark for the Reds with two well-taken goals. United’s overall performance showed signs of the team and some key players hitting form – Rooney, Berbatov and Ronaldo in particular.Unfortunately, however, the victory may have come at a cost. Injuries forced off Rooney and Paul Scholes, the latter suffering knee ligament damage which could keep him out for eight weeks.The Reds had travelled without skipper Gary Neville, who picked up a knock against Bolton, and Owen Hargreaves due to a recurrence of the tendinitis problem in his knee. Sir Alex promised to put out his strongest available side and, with the exception of a Champions League debut for 18-year-old Brazilian right-back Rafael, he did so.United immediately laid siege on Aalborg's goal and could have been 2-0 up inside eight minutes. Berbatov had a glorious opportunity to put the Reds in front on six minutes. Cristiano Ronaldo’s tackle on Aalborg goalkeeper Zaza sent the ball spinning up in the air. Berbatov met it on the volley but fired wide from eight yards. Two minutes later Rio Ferdinand saw his far-post volley stopped by Zaza.The match had started at an intense tempo, with the Reds clearly seeking to break the spirit of a determined Aalborg team, whose players and fans were fired up for this game as if it were a cup final.Scholes’ injury on 15 minutes disrupted the flow. He didn’t appear to be in too much discomfort, but Sir Alex’s prognosis post-match didn’t sound positive. Scholes was replaced by Ryan Giggs, who joined John O’Shea in the centre of midfield. The Welshman made an almost immediate impact. It was his simple pass on 22 minutes that led to United’s opener. Cutting through Aalborg’s defence, Giggs’ through-ball enabled Rooney to make his first-time shot look equally effortless, neatly finding the corner of the net.Aalborg weren’t afraid to get forward when they could and even forced a few scares at the back for the Reds. But when Rooney, who covered every blade of grass in his hour on the field, and Ronaldo had the ball the home side looked scared stiff. United’s attacking play, with Rooney at the reins, looked slick and fluid, even if Sir Alex would have liked to reach half time with a more commanding lead.In the second half the Reds manager was out on the touchline looking slightly concerned that his side's dominance in possession was not being converted into goals. But he didn’t have to wait long for the goal everyone at the club has been waiting for. It came courtesy of a gift from the Aalborg defence. Berbatov pounced on a dreadful mistake from Augustinussen and punished the Danes ruthlessly by lashing the ball past Zaza. The Bulgarian’s muted celebration suggested it perhaps wasn’t the style in which this elegant front man imagined he would open his Reds account. Regardless of the circumstances, all that matters is that he is off the mark.The goal knocked the life out of Aalborg, their energy and enthusiasm had been the sole components of any previous forays into United’s half. Carlos Tevez’s introduction on the hour, replacing Rooney after he took a knock to his ankle, was exactly what Bruce Rioch’s men didn’t want. The Argentinian wasn’t settling for a 2-0 scoreline and he did have the ball in the net, but was penalised for unintentionally using his arm. Tevez perhaps should have been more selfish on 72 minutes when a neat move saw him break into the Aalborg penalty area. Instead of shooting he squared the ball to Ronaldo, whose shot was blocked. Then five minutes later he sent a 25-yard shot whizzing just past the bar.United's third and final goal eventually arrived on 79 minutes. Ronaldo skipped past his marker to make it to the byline on the right of the Aalborg area. His clipped cross was met with an acrobatic volley from Berbatov to make it 3-0. Job done.Team Line-upsAalborg BK: Zaza; Pedersen, Beauchamp (Caca 38), Olfers, Bogelund; Risgard, Johansson, Augustinussen, Enevoldsen; Curth, Saganowski.Subs not used: Stenild, Due, Braemer, Sorensen, Kristensen, Schwartz.Booked: Johansson, ZazaManchester United: Van der Sar; Rafael (Brown 66), Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Ronaldo, Scholes (Giggs 16), O'Shea, Nani; Rooney (Tevez 59), Berbatov.Subs not used: Amos, Anderson, Park, Evans.Booked: RafaelAttendance: 10,346

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ryan has options

Giggs could quit to become a managerRyan Giggs claims he may retire at the end of this season and become Sir Alex Ferguson's next managerial protege. The Welshman is in the final year of his deal at Manchester United and does not want to stay if he will only be a bit-part player. Giggs is not prepared to move to another club to prolong his playing career and has decided to quit when he loses his first-team place. "I'm relaxed about my future," said the 34-year-old. "I've this year left on my contract. I'm feeling good at the moment and as long as I feel healthy, I'm getting picked and I still enjoy it, then I'll carry on. If any of those things change, I'll have to consider when I retire and it will be sooner rather than later. Coaching would then be an option and it is a natural progression for a lot of footballers."David Anderson, Daily MirrorThe Daily Mail speculates that rookie goalkeeper Ben Amos could be thrust into Premier League action against Bolton on Saturday because of injury concerns over Edwin van der Sar (knee) and Tomasz Kuszczak (thigh). Ben Foster is definitely out with an ankle problem.Trotters boss Gary Megson has warned Sir Alex Ferguson not to bother trying to wind up striker Kevin Davies. Sir Alex was unhappy with Davies' physical approach last season, but Megson said: “He isn’t malicious, he just competes. I don’t think it makes any difference what Ferguson says.”Sir Alex leads the tributes to former Notts County manager Jimmy Sirrel following his death on Thursday at the age of 86.Finally, former Red Mickey Thomas blamed rival Scousers for nicking his car at the recent United v Liverpool game at Anfield — but he simply forgot where he parked it!

Berba backed to shine

Dimi's extra dimension
"When we understand how good he is in terms of his movement and ability to lead the line, then we’ll get the best use out of him. Some of his passes, control and balance against Bolton were absolutely fantastic."– Sir Alex Ferguson
Sir Alex Ferguson has dismissed criticism of Dimitar Berbatov and is confident United fans will soon see the best of their new striker.The Bulgarian has yet to score for the Reds since his deadline-day move from Tottenham but has been increasingly influential, most recently on his home debut against Bolton on Saturday.
Ferguson said: "Dimitar only played one pre-season game for Tottenham, followed by two tremendously difficult away games for us, and in those sorts of matches you are asking a lot for someone who’s just arrived at the club to perform. "When we understand how good he is in terms of his movement and ability to lead the line, then we’ll get the best use out of him. "You saw that in the second half against Bolton, when we used him more and some of his passes, control and balance were absolutely fantastic."Berbatov is set to take his place in the starting line-up for tonight's Champions League game in Aalborg, although which forward line Ferguson will select is anyone's guess.The Reds boss insists his side are under no pressure to play with style because United are the reigning European champions."We’ll play how we normally play, which is hopefully in an entertaining and exciting way," he said. "We can’t play like that every game but we try to, and that’s the most important thing. "We expect a hard game against Aalborg because, irrespective of their league form, playing United is a great motivation for them. But I hope we don’t have any hiccups."