UEFA Champions League Group H wrap: United advance to knockout stages
By Football News
Manchester United rallied with three late goals at Braga to confirm their place in the knockout stages of the Champions League on Wednesday.
It was a fourth-straight group stage win for the Red Devils, who weathered an early Alan penalty and a power cut with strikes from Robin van Persie, a Wayne Rooney penalty and a Javier Hernandez scrambled effort all within the last 10 minutes.
The hosts had the first sight on goal in the fifth minute when Eder flashed a shot across David De Gea from a wide angle after Johnny Evans accidentally allowed the Braga forward through.
United managed to settle into the match following the early scare, but it was Braga who again came closest to scoring.
Ruben Michel was invited to shoot by United's retreating defence but the midfielder could only curl his shot a yard wide of the top corner.
Braga dominated the first hour of the game and were ahead early in the second when Alan converted a penalty for the hosts on 49 minutes after Evans had blocked Custodio's run into the box.
The lights went out in the 57th minute causing a 10-minute delay but it appeared to do wonders for Sir Alex Ferguson's side, after Rio Ferdinand and van Persie were brought off the bench.
United came out hungry after the power cut and found the equaliser with 10 minutes remaining.
A poor pass from Braga goalkeeper Beto fell into van Persie's lap and the Dutchman slotted home a relatively easy finish from the edge of the box.
Moments later Rooney was brought down in the area and he stepped up to break a streak of four missed penalties for United with a neatly dispatched spot kick.
With little time remaining Hernandez added a third in stoppage time with a close range finish after rounding the keeper and almost making a meal of the chance.
United lead Group H with 12 points from CFR Cluj, Galatasaray and Braga.
Romanian side Cluj are narrowly second with four points on goal difference from Galatasaray and Braga, who are still in the equation with three points.
Turkish giants Galatasaray revived their hopes of qualification on Wednesday with a quality away display in Romania as they handed Cluj a 3-1 loss.
Burak Yildrim completed a perfect hat-trick, nodding home his first on 18 minutes before adding a second and third with his right and left foot respectively in the second half.
Modou Sougou had equalised for the home side early in the second half with a fierce shot past Nestor Muslera Micol from Rafael Bastos' incisive through ball.