United and Rooney limp as Bayern reverse events of ‘99

Franck Ribéry, Bayern Munich v Manchester United

Bayern Munich 2-1 Manchester Utd: Observations

When Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scored that dramatic goal in Nou Camp all those years ago, dejected Bayern Munich players hobbled off the pitch knowing they could have done more to prevent the United fight back. When Ivica Olic scored that dramatic goal in the Allianz Arena all those well, hours ago, dejected Manchester United players, and Wayne Rooney quite literally, hobbled off the pitch knowing that Bayern quite simply shouldn’t have snatched victory in the dying seconds of the game.

The game started all too well for United in a first half where the visitors were comfortable and were largely untroubled in the possession they di have but after the break they lacked any real cutting-edge. The hosts were no longer on the back foot in the second, scoring two fully deserved goals.

For Wayne Rooney, this was too a game of two halves. An overused cliché, yes, but it was a fair reflection in a match where he scored a 1st minute goal and was dangerous, especially for Dimechelis, and had plenty of chances to double United’s lead. After the interval, he was forlorn at times and he was unlucky to play a part in Bayern’s equaliser where he deflected Frank Ribery’s free-kick (a carbon copy of Basle’s set-piece goal back in 1999). That was before he limped off the pitch, with scenes very reminiscent of the broken metatarsal he suffered a few years ago.

You would have to concede that Bayern deserved their victory. They had much of the ball without looking that mightily threatening, but with men like Ribery and van Bommel were always able to throw a surprise (or two as it were). You feel United are still favourites to win the tie but this game showed that the hosts are certainly a different proposition to Milan. That said the winning goal could’ve been prevented. Question marks should be raised over the defending.

In a bid to take some authority back at 1-0 up, Sir Alex shuffled things around and brought on Dimitar Berbatov and Antonio Valencia. Bayern had started to dominate possession but the impact of the double substitution was minimal and failed to change the control of the game. But it perhaps changed the shape of United and allowed Bayern to attack with relative little pressure and the visitors unable to fully halt attacks. Indeed that was in some ways displayed by the second goal, as Bayern advanced to the goal with almost a slight ease before Olic nipped the ball off Evra.

The Red Devil’s real standout performers were most notably Darren Fletcher and Nani, both displaying moments of magic without reward. Edwin van der Sar was usually solid between the posts and made some vital saves late on. He could do nothing, however, to prevent either goal and that’s what separates the two sides at the end of the day. If United are to overturn this deficit, an improvement is definitely required. Knowing Manchester United at Old Trafford, that is unquestionably accomplishable.

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