Quarter-final bound; Manchester United 3 - 0 Olympiacos - Match Report
Mar 20, 2014 4:51 PM GMT
After a tough season in the top flight, leaving Champions League looking unlikely next season; Manchester United made their mark in front of 70,000 United fans at Old Trafford; turning over a 2 goal deficit to Greek giants Olympiacos.
If the game was to decide Moyes' future, I think Robin's kindly made his mark for the Scot; as the Dutch hit home a hat-trick, booking United a place in this years Champions League quarter finals.
Moyes set out playing the Sir Matt Busby way - a typical 4-4-2 formation. The lineup was; De Gea, Rafael, Ferdinand, Jones, Evra, Valencia, Giggs, Carrick, Welbeck, Rooney, Van Persie. Potentially the strongest lineup Moyes has strung together, of course; involving no Adnan and no cup-tied Juan Mata.
The performance was one that United fans have been waiting for, maybe the reds have now turned a corner? The team had a bit more urgency about them, they were going in for challenges, passing accurately and taking their chances well.
The first goal came after 25 minutes, as Ryan Giggs lifted a beautiful ball into the penalty box for Van Persie to chest, and surely convert; however the Dutch was fouled and Manchester Unites received a penalty. Robin was certain he was stepping up, and converted it past the goalkeeper, although the guessed the correct way.
On the stroke of half-time, United broke again; as Giggsy played another fine ball to Rooney who quickly played a low precise ball into the box for RvP to slot home, giving United a 2-0 lead, of which made the game level on aggregate.
A very confident Manchester United squad went into half time leading the Greeks 2-0, and showed no sign of giving up.
The reds were attacking, moving off the ball, busting their limbs and it really payed off.
Just 7 minutes after coming back out, Olympiacos conceded a penalty on the edge of their own box, Van Persie and Rooney both stepped up; and with some confusion by who was striking the ball, Robin struck it cleanly into the far corner, leaving the goalkeeper static on his goal-line.
In the dying minutes of the game, our star man Robin was stretchered off due to a rash challenge, Moyes later confirmed that the injury to the Dutch is not serious, and not as worrying as first feared, it in fact, may have been just a knee in the back.
Watching the game from the Stretford End, it was unbelievably tense, especially as United played 40 more minutes after the goal without scoring, and also blocking the opposition from converting aswell.
Rooney spoke to Sky Sports after the game, and praised the Manchester United home support; once again. He said "The fans in particular against Liverpool were fantastic and again tonight were brilliant and they deserved this. It's a big result and performance and we're delighted."
Giggsy echoed Rooney's thoughts as the veteran showed his calm composure and euphoric experience in bossing the midfield, the Welshman told Sky Sports: "Like Wayne said, we owed the fans this result. It was very good. It was always going to be tough not to concede a goal."
The official man of the match despite a Robin hat-trick, was David De Gea. The Spaniard saved United from Champions League exit, after an unbelievable double save; something even the great Van Der Sar was proud of.
It was good to see the lads go out and play properly together as a team, especially Giggs. He didn't have a bad touch, every touch counted for the little Welsh magician; and he was my man of the match.
The quarter final draw takes place on Friday, leaving United with a possible draw to Madrid, Barca, Atletico, Munich, Chelsea, PSG or Dortmund. Quick prediction? I say we'll get Munich.