Sunday, April 06, 2008

United held by battling 'Boro.

Manchester United had to fight back from a goal down at the Riverside today in a keenly fought contest that finished up 2-2. The Red Devils steamed into an early first-half lead on 10 minutes when the man of season Cristiano Ronaldo scored after Michael Carrick had expertly pulled the ball back after beating his man inside the Boro penalty area.

During the opening 15 minutes, it looked like United's attacking play was going to swamp Gareth Southgate's team. However, the home team fought back strongly and deservedly equalised on 35 minutes after the Red Devils were caught out at the back when Boro launched a long ball into the visitors' half, which eventually fell to the feet of Brazilian striker Afonso Alves who gave Van der Sar no chance with a cool finish.

United were without Nemanja Vidic and his absence clearly had a negative effect, as the Reds defence looked anything but solid on a number of first-half occasions in what turned out to be a very open and attacking game..

As early as the first minute of the second period United found themselves on the back-foot as 'Boro as continued to press United all over the park. At the other end the visitors' were not functioning as an attacking unit after being knocked out of their collective stride.

On 56 minutes the Reds resistance was once again broken and it was Alves who did the damage as United fell behind for the first time in the game. The worry is for Ferguson and United fans, both of Boro's goals came about after the Reds defenders' failed to deal with long balls being played in the air.

It came as no surprise that on 67 minutes Fergie replaced John O'Shea with Wes Brown in the centre of defence and Hargreaves came in at right back. To make matters even worse on 69 minutes, Rio Ferdinand had to be taken off due to what looked like a thigh injury as Pique came on to play alongside Wes Brown.

Ferguson sent on Park for Carlos Tevez, who had struggled to make any real impact, the decision paid dividends as the South Korean winger skipped round the challenge of a 'Boro defender and then pulled the ball back from the by-line for Rooney to score after a deflection. From that point onwards it was nip and tuck as both teams tried to win the game. In the end a draw was a fair result.

After the game 'Boro fans will be no doubt asking themselves why their team cannot play like they did today in every game, if they had done so then they would not have been relegation fodder as they have been for most of the season.

For United fans, like Ferguson, they have been left to ponder what may lie ahead in the remaining weeks of the season with the Reds looking likely to lose both first choice centre-backs through injury. It is very much a case of bad timing and bad luck.

United are still very much in the driving seat having a three point lead at the top of the table, but they will quickly need to recover their collective composure for the visits of Roma and Arsenal for what is going to be a massive week.


  1. Nice synopsis of the game, good article. Cheers,


  2. Yes terrible finishing on display as well.

    Hargreaves played well as right back and put in a great cross for Rooney to head 8 yards from the goal. Rooney missed a chance that Ronaldo, or Vidic could have scored.

    United could have scored more goals, and if not for Van der Sar, could have let in more goals.

    2 points dropped due to bad finishing.

  3. How bad is Ferdinand's injury?

  4. Pique did a good job, and I believe that if he gets more games in, United might be more ready to keep this strong talent for future seasons, and he would be more ready to stay in United. He is a good central defender, United should not let go of him.

  5. Fingers crossed this Rio injury isn't serious. Vidic out for 3 weeks leaves us weak at the back with some important games coming up.


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