MANCHESTER UTD (3) v/s BAYERN MUNICH (2)
MANCHESTER United manager Sir Alex Ferguson fumed at “typical Germans” after seeing Bayern Munich stage a stirring comeback to deny his 10-man side a place in the Champions League semi-finals.
Former Chelsea winger Arjen Robben’s sweet 20-yard volley decided the quarter-final on away goals, as Bayern recovered from the early blow of going 3-0 down before the break, from a Darron Gibson strike and Nani’s brace.
But Ferguson put the turnaround down to Rafael’s sending-off just after half-time, and blamed the Bundesliga leaders for what he saw as conning the referee.
“It was 35 yards from goal and the referee wasn’t going to do anything about it until they surrounded him. It is typical of Germans. They are like that,” said Ferguson.
“It’s hard to digest something like that. On one hand we can say that we threw it away, on another we were very unlucky. We were the better team, no question, and were fantastic before the sending-off.”
Defeat leaves England without a team in the last four for the first time since 2002-03 and United reeling from a disastrous week that also included defeat to Premier League rivals Chelsea on Saturday.
Ferguson sprung a huge surprise by naming Wayne Rooney in the starting line-up, just 24 hours after insisting the striker’s ankle injury meant he had “no chance” of playing in the second leg. And he was typically effervescent early on, his bustling play setting up Gibson to rifle past the unsighted Hans-Jorg Butt in the third minute.
Almost instantly Nani added the cutest of second goals, flicking Antonio Valencia’s cross into the far corner with his heel, and the Portugal winger side-footed a powerful third into the roof of the net as United zeroed in on a fourth consecutive semi-final spot.
But the Bavarians scented the first hint of a revival just before the break when Ivica Olic out-muscled Michael Carrick and squeezed home from a tight angle.
Four minutes into the restart their resolve hardened when Rafael was dismissed, earning a second yellow card for holding Franck Ribery, prompting United to withdraw Rooney. Suddenly Bayern were rampant and Ribery stung Edwin van der Sar’s palms before, with 16 minutes left, the Frenchman’s corner found Robben, and the Dutchman guided a measured first-time volley into the far corner – the same post Rafael had earlier been been guarding.
Rooney hurt in comeback, but Sir Alex urges calm
SIR Alex Ferguson calmed the nation’s fears that Wayne Rooney had suffered a fresh injury blow after the striker was taken off against Bayern Munich – his comeback match.
Rooney, who had not been expected to return for at least another week, at one stage winced after appearing to land heavily on his troublesome ankle and was withdrawn after 55 minutes.
England hea Fabio Capello was one of the most concerned onlookers, with the World Cup now mere weeks away.
But Ferguson said: “It was never a serious injury. He was unlucky going over it again and he had a couple of challenges on it.
“I don’t think he will be in contention [for Sunday’s trip to Blackburn] but he should be back next week [to face Manchester City].”