Braga vs Manchester United: Hits and Misses
Manchester United are through to the next round of the Champions League as they overcame a stiff test at Portugal against Braga with a 3-1 win. It is their fourth win in as many games in Europe this season, making them the only English club to remain unbeaten in the competition. Striker Robin van Persie came off the bench to bring United on level terms in the 80th minute after captain Alan put Braga in front with a penalty in the 51st minute.
It was a cake walk for United from then on, as Rooney scored from the penalty spot in the 84th minute and Javier Hernandez scored a comic goal in the injury time to make it 3-1 in favor of the Red devils. United are now sitting comfortably at the top of the table with 12 points as Braga stay at the bottom with 3 points. Here are the hits and misses of the game played in Braga last night.
Braga on the counter attack
Braga were the better side in the first half as they played really well to contain the United attack and defended deep. The Red Devils had no shots on goal in the first half. Braga were quick on the counter, with the powerful center forward Eder posing huge threat.
Return of Chris Smalling
Chris Smalling, who was out with a metatarsal injury for around 3 months was back in the Manchester United line up, playing in the centre back role and doing well. This gives United some relief as Sir Alex tries to tighten the leaky United defense that has been conceding goals in the early minutes of the game. Smalling was also calm and solid at the back as he rescued United on several occasions.
Wayne Rooney did NOT miss a penalty !
Wayne Rooney finally converted a penalty kick! Manchester United strikers have had a torrid time scoring from the spot this season. The United talisman managed to come up with a superb finish which ended up in the top corner of the Braga net. This would give him some encouragement as it was his first in the competition this year.
Anderson, who started in the center of midfield, did well when it came to holding on to possession and assisted well in defense. This has been another good performance by the young Brazilian who came under intense scrutiny due to his vulnerability to injuries.
The game also saw United’s terrific trio of Robin, Wayne and Javier being on the score sheet yet again. They now share 20 goals between themselves in all competitions. Chicharito seems to have got his goal scoring touch back as he was on target for the 3rd consecutive game that he has featured in.
Just when it looked like the medical staff at Manchester would be getting some rest, more players will now keep them busy. Jonny Evans and Nani took a knock in the game as both limped off during the game. The severity of the injuries are yet to be known.
Clean sheet – A forgotten dream
The Red Devils seem to have forgotten how to keep a clean sheet. Out of the 16 games played this season in all competitions, they have just 3 clean sheets. Although they have managed to come back and win games, United need to badly sort this out as they cannot afford to leak goals so easily when it comes to key clashes in Europe.
Make shift side not up to the mark
Sir Alex fielded a make shift side with Rafael, Van Persie, Cleverly, Carrick and Ferdinand getting a well deserved rest. Ryan Giggs started in the center of midfield with Danny Welbeck and Nani playing in the wings. Welbeck was not up to the mark as he lost possession very easily and Nani on the other hand was finding it hard to penetrate the final quarter as his coordination with Valencia, who played as a make shit right back was not yielding any result. Sir Alex needs to weigh up his options when it comes to fielding a make shift side.
Shortly after Braga went up by a goal, the lights at Estadio AXA went out and cast the stadium in darkness. The match was stopped immediately, only to be restarted 10 minutes later. Braga, who possess one of the most unique stadiums in Portugal seem to have faced this problem due to the incessant rains that were falling during the game. The stadium authorities did well to recover within a short time to get the lights back on.
If you have any more hits and misses to talk about, do mention them in the comments!