Manchester United beat Benfica 3-1

Updated: 25 February 2007 10:38 IST

Manchester United advanced to the second round of the Champions League on Wednesday with three headers leading the English team to a 3-1 win over Benfica.

Manchester United beat Benfica 3-1

Manchester, England:

Manchester United advanced to the second round of the Champions League on Wednesday with three headers leading the English team to a 3-1 win over Benfica.Nelson Marcos gave the visitors the lead with a 25-meter (yard) shot in the 27th minute, but Nemanja Vidic leveled in the final minute of the first half and Ryan Giggs and Louis Saha added the others.Giggs scored in the 61st and Saha made it 3-1 in the 75th.The victory put the Red Devils into the last 16 as Group F winner ahead of Celtic, which had already advanced. Benfica finished in third place and will play in the UEFA Cup.After surviving some early pressure, Benfica went ahead with its first attempt on goal.On a breakaway from midfield, Nuno Gomes sent Simao Sabrosa down the right and the winger pulled the ball back to Nelson, whose shot flew past goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar into the top far corner.United manager Alex Ferguson, whose team was knocked out by Benfica at the same stage last season, said the goal sparked his team."I think we can thank Mr Nelson for the goal," Ferguson said. "It woke everyone up - our supporters, our players - and we saw the real Manchester United."We played with speed, tenacity, determination and turned the game round. In the second half we controlled the game and it was a very good performance from us bearing in mind we have gone a goal down."Within a minute of Nelson's strike, Benfica goalkeeper Quim Silva fisted a 27-meter (yard) free kick from Cristiano Ronaldo over the bar. From the corner, Saha almost forced the ball over the line.After Quim blocked another shot from Ronaldo, United's pressure produced an equaliser with the final action of the first half. Ronaldo was fouled eight meters (yards) outside the area, Giggs floated the free kick into the area and Vidic rose to head powerfully home.United maintained the pressure after the break and, after Saha shot over from Wayne Rooney's cross, went ahead in the 61st minute.Ronaldo, who appeared more threatening with every move, floated in a cross from the right and Giggs arrived unmarked to head past Quim from eight meters (yards).Saha made it 3-1 with 15 minutes to go when he headed home a corner from substitute Darren Fletcher. (AP)



Topics : Football Wayne Rooney Chelsea Arsenal Alex Ferguson Manchester United
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