Manchester United v Internazionale – live!
Teams:United: Van der Sar; O’Shea, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Ronaldo, Carrick, Scholes, Giggs; Authentic Prada Handbags Canada Berbatov, Rooney.Subs: Foster, Anderson, Park, Evans, Fletcher, Gibson, Tevez
Inter: Julio Cesar; Maicon, Cordoba, Samuel, Santon; Cambiasso, Vieira, Zanetti, Stankovic; Ibrahimovic, Balotelli.Subs: Toldo, Maxwell, Figo, Cruz, Adriano, Muntari, Rivas.
Referee: Wolfgang StarkHumidity: 79%Nearest point where Ley lines intersect: Eastlands
Preamble:It was way back in 1997, following the semi-final defeat by Borussia Dortmund, that Alex Ferguson insisted his side had been undone by “some sinister magic”. If there is a practitioner of that particular craft in the current game, it is surely Jose Mourinho, a character so diabolical the gods would have to invent him if he didn’t already exist. Seductive, self-serving and possessed of fewer qualms than a game of scrabble, the Special One is the only beast whose number Ferguson has never had. If it weren’t for that fact, the outcome of tonight’s tie would be easy to forecast: Inter – who have only four top-class players (Dejan Stankovic, Ivan Cordoba, Javier Zanetti and Esteban Cambiasso) – would choke as usual, leaving Zlatan Ibramovich to strut and pout around Old Trafford like a misguided floozie while United swagger to victory. But the Mourinho factor means doubt hovers like a fashionably clad demon …
If Mourinho saw the first 15 minutes of United’s Authentic Prada Americas Cup Sneakers FA Cup tie at Craven Cottage on Saturday, in which United’s defence buckled on several occasions and Edwin van der Sar was again exposed as a keeper unworthy of the clean sheets record his team-mates have gifted him, Inter will attack United from the outset and maybe, just maybe plunder an away goal before parking the bus their manager so famously and hypocritically denounced in front of their own goal.
7:26pm: “Inter don’t have much width,” notes Steve Camahort. “I guess that’s to be expected when Are Prada Mens Shoes Worth It you omit someone of Adriano’s girth.”
7:29pm: “I know United are playing at Old Trafford, but isn’t it a bit of a gamble to leave both Fletcher and Park on the bench?” quibbles someone called the Big Evil, which may or may not be a pseudonym for Mourinho. “4-4-2 and no real holding midfield player harks United back to a time when they were still getting mauled by top European opposition. This could backfire really badly. I think the last time that happened was Milan securing a goal-less draw and win over United in two legs, and Milan played with the same narrow formation as Inter have tonight.”
7:31pm: Here’s a thing: word is Berbatov did himself a mischief in the warm-up and may be replaced before kick-off … might sinister magic already be afoot?
Question: What ostentatious celebration will the Special One devise if Inter knock United out? A reprise of his touchline jig would be hackneyed, so I’m going for an aloof, statuesque pose in front of the cameras a la Cantona at Sheffiled United many moons ago.
7:36pm: “This has been bugging me all day,” sobs Matt Turner. “Is Rafa Benitez starring in the new film of about Charles Bronson? That advert appearing on theguardian.com for “Bronson” freaks me out – the resemblence is uncanny (though the big man appears to have lost a little weight).” Yes, Matt, Rafa is satarring in that film. Hope that puts your strange mind to rest.
7:38pm: Janusz Cieszynski doesn’t share the Big Evil’s fears about United’s line-uip. Who is Janusz Cieszynski? The bloke who sent me the following thought: “I’d look for a upcoming 4-3-3 with Ronaldo-Rooney-Berbatov upfront and Giggs in a midfield role. Jose’s going down.”
7:41pm: The teams saunter out on to the pitch, and Berbatov is among the starters. Did anyone really believe he puts enough effort into his warm-up to get injured?
1 min: United kick-off and instantaly feed Ronaldo, who tears forward but is dispossessed by Zanetti.
3 mins: It’s all United, mainly Ronaldo. Inter are defending deep. A bit of singing and shouting from Agata Ruiz De La Prada Shop On Line the prawn sandwich theatre; you know, just enough to emphasise how much inferior the atmosphere is here than at Anfield on European nights. “The Big Evil doesn’t sound so scary,” hollers Mac Milings. “More like a football formations fan with a detailed knowledge of Manchester United’s Big Cup history. My guess? He’s Rob Smyth.” I can assure you that Rob Smyth would not be capable of composing an email at the moment, because he has a tankard of beer in each hand and, more than likely, is face in the floor.
GOAL! Manchester United 1-0 Inter (Vidic 4′)
4 mins: Ridiculously easy. Giggs floated a corner to the back post, Vieira spun dizzily for no reason and the player he was supposed to be marking, Vidic, rose to nod into the net.
5 mins: United have no intention of relenting, and Ronaldo has just swung a vicious cross into the box. No one could reach it, however.
7 mins: For the first time Authentic Prada Shoes For Sale in the match, Inter cobble together a move that exceeded two passes. It broke down as soon as Ibrahimovich lurched into the action. “In this eagerly-awaited Steel Cage Death Match between Arrogance and Ego, who will emerge victorious?” mulls Joe Pearson. ” Don’t be surprised if Arsene Wenger makes an appearance with a folding chair as the crowd goes berserk.”
8 mins: Speaking of Wenger, I imagine he is wincing right now: Roma have just scored thanks to some woeful defending.
9 mins: United are in total control at the moment. Carrick has just threaded a nice ball through to Berbatov, who spoiled the move by wandering off side.
11 mins: Freekick to Inter near the left-hand touchline. Balotelli flights it straight into Van der Sar’s arms.
13 mins: Maicon, who seems to be the only player in black and blue with a bit of Authentic Prada Trainers pace and drive, hurtles down the right and exchanges passes with Ibrahimovic. But again the move collapses before they even begin to threaten.
15 mins: The pace of the game has dwindled rapidly, which is ironic. United have just got off their first shot on target since the goal, Rooney teeing up Berbatov, whose volley from the edge of the box trickled into the keeper’s arms. Meanwhile, here’s Julian Menz with a wrong-headed Limerick. “There once was a man named Josè
My team stupidly chased him away
He came back to Blighty
His ego still mighty….
And showed up that oaf O’Shea”
17 mins: Rooney overhits an attempted through-ball to berbatov. It’s not a classic United performance by any stretch, but their opponents are so limited they can afford to be imprecise and even slightly lethargic. “Smoulder all you like, Jose, you still look like Rowan Aktinson playing Johny English,” gibbers JK Wooley.
19 mins: Giggs nips behind the Inter defence and is found and the by-line by Evra, but his cross is cut out and, after a bit of unseemly scrambling, wellied clear.
21 mins: Evra races down the left and provides another useful centre. Rooney’s attempt to whack it into the net from an impossible angle meets with a predictable end.
23 mins: Was that an actual shot from Inter? hard to say: Stankovic was definitely in the box when he met Maicon’s cross with his head, but his effort trundled out for a throw-in on the far side of the pitch. “Won’t the early goal play into Mourinho’s hands?” wibbles Gary Naylor. “As a drama queen nonpareil, won’t he enjoy the delicious prospect of SAF and the Theatre of Dreams spending 86 minutes thinking about travel plans for the quarter-final, before snatching the whole lot for himself the way only the away goal can? I certainly hope so.”
24 mins: Maicon, still the only menace to United, raids down the right again and puts in the best cross of the match so far. Vidic, with much difficulty, diverts it behind for a corner … which is wasted.
26 mins: The game is opening up and, yes, Inter are perking up. There are growing signs that United might actually have to hit something resembling top gear if they are to keep Inter at bay. Not that the Italians have had any shots yet, but Maicon’s dynamism seems to have uplifted the whole team and they are beginning to probe dangerously from all angles. By the way, if anyone happens to be watching Barca v Lyon while following this, would they please let me know whether my sneaky flutter on Lyon (at 10-1, no less) looks like paying off?
28 mins: Ibrahimovic is given a freekick for falling over in the vicinity of Evra. It’s 35 yards out, wide on the right. Maicon swings it in superbly and both Vidic and Ferdinand allow it to run all the way over to Ibrahimovich … who heads it into the ground and up on to the bar from six yards! A terrible miss by the so-called best player on the planet! Inter should be level.
30 mins: United are well and truly on the back foot now and they’re not defneding particularly well. Fortuantely for them, Inter’s passing isn’t fluent so they are failing to exploit the home team’s raggedness. Meanwhile, there is a swelling body of opinion in my inbox claiming that Ferguson will regret not fielding Park …
32 mins: O’Shea chops down Balotelli for the second time in a minute – yet still escapes a yellow carda. Still, a chance for Inter to send in another freekick. This time O’Shea deals with it effectively, butting to Carrick around half-way.
33 mins: Dozens of of you have emailed to gloat that Barca are two up and my money looks lost. To quote Nick Faldo replica prada long wallets, I would like to thank you all from the heart of my bottom.
35 mins: Snapshot from Stankovic from 30 yards … and it swirls just inches wide! “East Bengal are about to play against Mohan Began,” reveals Manikandan Viswanathan. “I can keep you up to date on that if you fancy?” Yes, Maikandan, please do. Fame shall be your payment.
37 mins: After much patient knocking the ball around, United prise the Inter defence apart splendidly and O’Shea, of all people, finds himself one-on-one with the keeper. He could slip it to Berbatov alongside him if he wants, but understandably he goeas for goal himself – and is denied by Julio Cesar. Inter go straight down the other end and come close themselves.
40 mins: Magnificent pass from Balotelli – described as “unbelievably good” by Andy Gray on Sky – but Ibrahimovic’s finish isn’t up to that standard: from an admittedly tight angle 16 yards out, he slaps the ball wide.
42 mins: Inter have gained a degree of control in the middle, where they outnumber Scholes and Carrick. That should leave them vulnerable on the wing, in theory, but Evra is the only one who looks even intermittently dangerous out wide. Ronaldo has done next to nothing.
43 mins: Scholes sends an errant ball straight to Maicon, who takes two steps forward and then tries to smash one past Van der Sar from 25 yards. The keeper is equal to it.
44 mins: Rooney has a ping from 27.83 yards. Wide it flies.
45 mins: The ref blows on 45 minutes exactly. When was the last occassion a half featured no added time whatsoever? Ferguson will be happy, because he needs to sort things out or Inter will equalise, particularly if Mourinho does the decent thing and takes off Ibrahimovic. Adriano may be unfit, but he’s got to be more useful than that galoot.
Ok, OK. Shut up about my bet! Hold on, was that Makoun who just found the net? 4-1! Game on! “Andy Gray uses ‘unbelievably’ so often he probably describes the colour contrast on his TV as unbelievably good or bad,” erupts Ian Copestake.
46 mins: Inter change: Vieira off (rightly), Muntari on. “In Italy, Ibrahimovic is having a good game, the definite match-winner for them,” claims someone who hasn’t bothered giving his or her name. “The Rai Uno team say Inter have bossed the half and had by far the more clear-cut chances. And Ceasar is probably as good as Buffon after the miraculous save against the genius of O’Shea.”
47 mins: Muntari gets straight into the action, threading a neat ball through to Ibrahimovic, who holds it up well before sweeping it wide to Balotelli, who let fly from distance. Long, long distance. No trouble to Van der Sar.
GOAL! Manchester United 2-0 Inter (Ronaldo 49′)
49 mins: Giggs waltzes his way across the box before flipping it wide to Rooney, who shapes up to go past Maicon but instead clips a teasing cross into the middle. Berbatov is loitering offside, but no matter, Ronaldo surges from deep to head powerfully past Julio Cesar.
51 mins: Cambiasso poses Van der Sar a problem with a swirling dipper from long range, but the keeper manages to beat it away. “Here’s a new drinking game,” announces Graham Martin. “Swallow a pint every time a commentator says ‘quintuple’.” Ok, you go first. Quintuple, quintuple, quintuple, quintuple, quintuple, quintuple, quintuple, quintuple, quintuple, quintuple, quintuple, quintuple, quintuple …
53 mins: Samuel booked for a late tackle on Ronaldo, who dusts himself down and then gets up to take the freekick. Thirty yards out, but central. And like a drunk motorist he drives it into the wall.
54 mins: It’s 4-2 in the Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Official Website Nou Camp … are Barca about to produce the biggest bottle job in history? Yes please.
56 mins: Inter have lost their vim. United are permitting them to knock it about impotently in front of them. Cambiasso finally found a penetrative pass but Ibrahimovic miscontrolled.
58 mins: Inter change: Stankovic off, Adriano waddles on.
59 mins: Scholes carelessly fives the ball away in midfield and Inter rumble forward. Cambiasso lifts the ball into the box and Adriano acrobatically volleys it past Van der Sar … and against the post!
61 mins: Shoddy miss by berbatov after the keeper only parried a Rooney shot from distance. The Bulgarian hit the rebound straight at Julio Cesar.”After murdering Lyon in the first half, Barca are now showing some nerves and Lyon are back in to this at 4-2,” reports Geoff May. “It’s fantastic end-to-end stuff with non-existent defending so will probably finish about 8-5.” 4-4 would do me, as my best was on Lyon to go through. A Benzema brace seems inevitable.
63 mins: United are now just trying to sap Inter’s will by strokign the ball around. But then Rooney loses his patience and decides to shoot from 30 yards. Agfain Julios Cesar fails to hold it, this time bundling it out for a corner. Better than Buffon? No, no, no. “The German TV commentator got all giggly describing Ronaldo’s wide-legged stance before his freekick,” chirps Ian Copestake. “Giving it the big build up he described him as being like John Wayne. Well, he is a big Marion.”
64 mins: Bit of a kerfuffle in the United box but Vidic eventually boots the ball clear and United are on the attack. Ronaldo knocks it inside to Rooney, who lays it off to Scholes. Rather than shoot, however, Scholes attempts an intricate ball to Berbatov and is thwarted by Cordoba.
66 mins: Adriano serves up the worst shot of the night, walloping the ball over the Pennines from 40 yards.
68 mins: Now Adriano is rolling on the ground with his hands over his face, possibly out of mortifcation for that last shot but more likely because Rooney barged into him. Balotelli lumps the freekick into Van der Sar’s arms.
69 mins: A nice touch here from Mourinho – he’s taken off Balotelli to give a run out to 87-year-old Luis Figo. United, meanwhile, have replaced Scholes with Anderson.
70 mins: Rooney booked for a late tackle on Maicon. He looks confused, perhaps because English refs, mysteriously, rarely punish him for his recklesness.
73 mins: Ibrahimovich jumps half-heartedly at a delicious Muntari cross, allowing the ball to hit his chin and wobble out of play. Unacceptable. Meanwhile, Manikandan Viswanathan has got back in touch to inform us that the “East Bengal’s match has been postponed due to a mutiny”.
76 mins: Another disgracefully inaccurate effort from Ibrahimovic draws jeers from the crowd. Meanwhile, here’s a Best Prada Outlet In Milan good point from Chris Wells: “Why is everyone banging on about United doing the clean sweep? They’ve already lost the European Super Cup this season, didn’t they?”
77 mins: Giggs fires in a corner and Ibrahimovic clears. “If I had a shot of grappa for every time Sky Italia said ‘anything can still happen’, I’d have alcohol poisning,” groans JC Fantechi.
79 mins: Figo collects the ball just outside the box and shapes up to shoot …. before passing the ball 30 yards backwards. Hasn’t anyone told him the score?
80 Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Online Shop mins: Inter are going out with a whimper. “Am I alone in wanting to know more about this mutiny?” shudders Paul Neilan. Manikandan, would a MBM be out of the question?
82 mins: Figo attempts to outrun Anderson – a man one sixth his age – with predictable consequences.
84 mins: German commentators giggle across the Fatherland as Ronaldo lines up another freekick. And he gets this one on target too, forcing Julio Cesar to bat it away.
86 mins: Now that just takes the biscuit: Inter pieced together a decent move and had men in the box when Ibrahimovic received the ball on the 18-yard line. He tried to … well, I’m not sure what he tried to do … but what he actually did was scrape the ball with his studs in such a way that it rolled apologetically to Ferdinand, who was two yards away and managed to fend off alughter long enough to smash the ball clear.
88 mins: Inter have a corner, for all the Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Online Shopping good it’ll do them. Figo skillfully picks out BErbatov on the far side of the pitch. “Here in Italy, the commentator has just described that latest Ibrahimovic cock-up as ‘his first error of the night'”. Sounds like Italian television is as bad as their football league.
90 mins: It’s quite dispiriting really, this English dominance in Europe. United have not had to play paritcularly well to dispose of the Italian champions.
Full-time No dancing down the touchline from Mourinho, just a slightly strained United stroll into the quarter-final. “Best player in the world?” scoffs Dennis Campbell. “Carlton Cole is better than Ibrahimovic.”