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Match Report: Manchester United 3-0 Olympiacos

Manchester United 3 Olympiakos 0 (agg. 3-2)

It was a night that demanded heroes and United, so late in the season, discovered heroism was still in their make-up. Rooney covered every blade of the pitch; Giggs’ engine purred magnificently in the centre of the midfield; Danny Welbeck provided the pace so often lacking in United’s attacking play this season; De Gea, when called upon, produced vital saves. Valencia, nursing a heavily swollen eye for much of the game following an early clash of heads, played so well with it there must now be a temptation to nut him in the dressing room before every game. Van Persie, who also left the pitch wounded, rediscovered the quality that had remained hidden for so much of the season and his hat-trick was what overturned the first leg deficit to give his team victory on a memorable night.

The first half was pulsating stuff at times. Though possession was relatively even and both sides created chances, the Reds had the best of them and, more importantly, made them count. As United began to mount sustained pressure for the first time, Rooney’s header struck the post following a delightful cross from Giggs into the area. A clumsy challenge from Holebas gave United their breakthrough, his shove on Van Persie drawing an immediate penalty decision from the referee. Van Persie had been looking to get on the end of a penetrating ball from Giggs, who was beginning to create problems every time he had the ball. The Dutchman stepped up and made no mistake from the spot.

The remainder of the first half saw good chances at both ends. Roberto was called into action in the 35th minute when he pawed away an Evra header from a corner. With half-time approaching, De Gea made a fantastic double save to preserve United’s lead, after United had yielded possession on the left and allowed the visitors to remind us of the attacking threat they possessed. Between the two incidents, United were denied a strong call for a second penalty when Valencia was bundled over just inside the box, but the referee waved the Reds’ protests away. United bounced back from it and made the tie level before half-time, Van Persie grabbing his second when he latched onto a simple ball into the box from his forward partner, who’d been released via yet another excellent ball from deep from Giggs, as the half moved into stoppage time.

Six minutes into the second half United had their third and Van Persie had his hat-trick. An excellent run and ball from Rooney fed Welbeck, who was crudely fouled on the edge of the box and Van Persie found the bottom corner of the net from the resulting free kick. At the time, it looked as if it might be the precursor to a Reds romp, but Olympiakos adjusted their shape and began to secure more possession, leading to some uneasy moments in the United defence. Among the last ditch clearances, De Gea was forced to save smartly again when a deflected shot from the lively Dominguez threatened to sneak in at the near post.

United had their moments too, but this was a nervy last twenty minutes and the tension only really lifted when Fellaini was brought on for the five minutes of stoppage time and proceeded to draw fouls and corners from the opposition, generally breaking up play and briefly imposing his own rather odd brand of heroism on the night’s events to see out time and secure a remarkable result.

Olympiakos must be wondering how this could be the same side that whimpered so ineffectively in that first leg in Greece. They’re not alone in that. Turns out United’s season isn’t over after all. Of course, there are a lot of big names awaiting us in Friday’s quarter-final draw and there’s still nothing to suggest that Champions League success this season is anything more than a distant dream. Then again, the performance tonight was that of a team who surely have the capacity to produce something special at least once more this season. For now at least, the season’s one remaining dream still isn’t over.

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4 replies on “Match Report: Manchester United 3-0 Olympiacos”

It went well……..Giggs did well……Rooney RVP even Wellbeck…….the sot of deliveries and skill that Kagawa and Mata in the middle will bring to the table.only much better ………these players demand skill and participation…which gives adrenaline, drive and better performance all around……………….and confidence

de Gea was fantastic not one bad man on the pitch despite some wavering at times defensively and middle park………well done today

Win lose or draw, all I ask is that the United team plays up to its ability both individually and collectively, and shows passion and pride for the club and the fans.

Tonight we saw that from many of them eg. Rooney, Giggs and De gea and there was much to cheer about. The flaws at the back were still exposed and on a different night we would have conceded, but we made our own luck. Fortune favours the brave (tell that to Moyes).

No tears before bedtime, tonight.

After the 1st goal, speed of play slow down.

Evra still a defensive liability, nearly a goal if not for De Gea’s fine saves.

RVP is not an aerial threat, Rooney and Evra were a much better aerial threat.
So minimize crossing the ball to him, it will not work.

Giggs can still dictate the game with excellent passing.
His pass to RVP led to the penalty.
His pass to Rooney, who then passed to RVP resulted in a goal. Thank goodness it was played to his feet. May not have scored if passed to the head…hahahaha and his world class?

The best part is ManU is fighting back. It’s all we fans ask. It doesn’t matter if you lose, we just want to see some fight for the win until the referee blow the whistle.

After the 3rd goal, ManU slowed down which made olympiacos creep back into the game. They should have destroyed the morale of the opponent with a 4th goal.

Twice ManU standing around, Ferdinand and Rafael gestured their arms when they had nobody to pass to. Got to keep moving.

Giggs vision and passing made the difference.

Something must be wrong with Kagawa, 2 managers already not really using him. Just like Zaha.

The best part is ManU showing the fighting spirit.

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