Saturday, August 30, 2008

Zenith overcome the Red Devils

Zenith beat Manchester United 2-1 in the 2008 Super Cup.

Sir Alex claimed throughout the week they would take this game “very seriously” and he had been very disappointed to have lost out in 1999 to Lazio when he didn’t give this game much of an importance.

When it got to the game, it was a different thing altogether. Manchester United were rugged and not their usual best. They probably took their competition to be a fragile one and only woke up after they were two goals down to Russian UEFA Cup champions, Zenith St Petersburg.

Sir Alex didn’t have a good night from the beginning when he tripped over television wires on the way to the dugout and looked set to take his embarrassment out on the poor chap who was reeling them in.

On the pitch, the things for Manchester United weren’t going well either. The attacks were slow and they lacked ideas to penetrate the Russian sides’ defence.

Zenith St. Petersburg’s first goal came on the verge of half time when Pogrebnyak’s header at the far post made it 1-0 to Zenith.

Second goal came courtesy Zenith’s newly acquired Portuguese midfielder, Danny from Dynamo Kiev who slid the ball past Van der Sar after Rio Ferdinand was caught ball watching, an uncharacteristic mistake by the English defender.

Manchester United suddenly realised the need for goals and got one back when somehow Vidic scrambled the ball in the back of the net to make it an interesting last few minutes.

However, things turned worse for Champions League winners when Scholes was sent off for deliberately handling the ball inside the Zenith box and earn his side the equaliser. Although the hand was seen by the referee and gave him the second yellow card and the marching orders. He will miss the first game of the Champions League campaign against Villareal.

The match hinted at two things. A flared tendinitis forced English midfielder Owen Hargreaves to miss the game at the last minute. This poses a big challenge for both Sir Alex and Capello who was in attendance to assess the player after Steven Gerrard is set to go under the knife and would be out for the first two qualifiers for England. The problem has been troubling the big player who moved from Bayern Munich last season for the past 16months and the duration for recovery is still unknown.

Another problem for Sir Alex is the need for a striker. Rooney and Tevez have a good rhythm together but there is a requirement of a complete striker because neither Tevez or Rooney are firing enough to trouble the defenders. Berbatov has been highly linked throughout the summer and with just two days to go transfer deadline, Glazer Family and Manchester United board need to act fast.

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