Man U beat Benfica 2-1

Updated: 25 February 2007 09:49 IST

Ruud van Nistelrooy scored an 85th-minute goal for Manchester United to snatch a 2-1 win over Benfica in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Man U beat Benfica 2-1

Manchester:

Ruud van Nistelrooy scored an 85th-minute goal for Manchester United to snatch a 2-1 win over Benfica in the Champions League on Tuesday. United had taken the lead in the Group D match in the 39th minute when Ryan Giggs' free kick deflected past Benfica goalkeeper Jose Filipe Moreira, who did not move from his spot. Benfica leveled with a Simao Sabrosa free kick in the 59th, earned when United midfielder Alan Smith fouled Fabrizio Miccoli. The Benfica fans erupted in cheers and let off a red flare as the entire team ran to celebrate in front of them. Close range Van Nistelrooy poked in the ball from close range after taking a Rio Ferdinand header for the winner. It was the Dutchman's 47th goal in European Cup history, taking him into third ahead of Portugal's Eusebio on the all-time list. "I think we deserved it," United manager Alex Ferguson said. "We kept positive throughout the game. Losing a goal was going to be a test but we kept at them. We were always positive and with persistence you can gain success." The win helped Ferguson recover from Saturday's 2-1 loss to Blackburn at Old Trafford in the Premier League when he was booed by his own fans as he left the field. "When you lose a game, you have three or four days to make amends and we did so tonight," Ferguson said. "Form has not been that bad. Saturday was a travesty of a result because we missed some good chances but today was different." Missed opportunities United could have been several goals up at halftime, with van Nistelrooy missing two great chances. He hit the crossbar with a powerful swiveling volley in the 13th minute from a Cristiano Ronaldo cross. Then, when clear on goal and free of defenders, the Dutchman slipped while running in the box and lost the ball in the 27th minute. Moreira also pushed away a Giggs attempt in the first half. United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar stopped a Miccoli shot and Luisao's header. "We played well and did enough also in attack to have a better result," Benfica coach Ronald Koeman said. Level scores In the second half, Ronaldo hit the post as United searched for another goal. Van der Sar kept the scores level when he saved from Leo's long-range shot and Miccoli's follow up. United started with a makeshift defense. Injuries to Phil Neville and Mikael Silvestre meant 20-year-old Phil Bardsley made his Champions League debut. Ferguson maintained his criticized sole striker formation, with van Nistelrooy up front. The Reds were without striker Wayne Rooney, who began a two-game Champions League suspension after being sent off for two yellow cards in United's 0-0 draw at Villarreal two weeks ago. Roy Keane was also out injured. Benfica beat Lille 1-0 in its Champions League opener. United leads the group after Lille and Villarreal drew 0-0 in France Tuesday. The game was a rematch of the 1968 European final, which United won at Wembley Stadium. (AP)

Topics : Football
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