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Rediff.com  » Sports » CL: Anderson goal puts wasteful United on top

CL: Anderson goal puts wasteful United on top

Last updated on: December 8, 2010 13:22 IST

United secure top spot in Group C

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Manchester United needed a rare goal from Anderson in a game bursting with missed chances for their more usual scorers to draw 1-1 with Valencia on Tuesday and secure top spot in Champions League Group C.

The 22-year-old Brazilian midfielder scored only his second goal since joining in 2007 to bring United level after the Spaniards had taken a first-half lead through Pablo Hernandez.

United needed to avoid defeat at Old Trafford to win the group and peppered the Valencia goal with chances before their hopes of becoming the first team to go through the group stage without conceding were dashed with the opener.


Image: Manchester United's Anderson scores past Valencia's Vicente Guaita during their Champions League Group C match at Old Trafford
Photographs: Reuters
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'Berba could have scored another five goals'

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Dimitar Berbatov, who scored five goals in United's 7-1 win in their last Premier League match against Blackburn Rovers, threatened to open the floodgates again but saw chances from his head and feet repeatedly blocked by keeper Vicente Guaita.

"Berba could have scored another five," Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson told a news conference.

"He was unlucky, the goalkeeper made two great saves from him.

"We played a lot of good football, we had a lot of good chances. I was pleased the penetration of the team was good but I just felt that about five minutes after we scored the goal, and we should have gone 2-1 up in that time, we started to settle for what we had and that is always a dangerous game. (It was) a lack of experience in the back there," he added.

Ferguson had fielded the 20-year-old Da Silva twins, Rafael and Fabio, on either side of experienced central defenders Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic. Ferdinand went off just after halftime with a tight hamstring and was replaced by 21-year-old Chris Smalling.


Image: Valencia's Ricardo Costa and Angel Dealbert challenge Manchester United's Dimitar Berbatov during their Champions League Group C match in Manchester

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Pablo Hernandez breaches United defence

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After a bright start by two teams who had already qualified for the next round, United went behind when midfielder Pablo Hernandez slotted home in the 32nd minute after a swift break.

Young home keeper Ben Amos, a surprise name on the team sheet, was beaten after the midfielder was set up by Alejandro Dominguez after United's Michael Carrick lost possession in midfield.

There was plenty of action from regular goal scorers Nani, Wayne Rooney and Berbatov to keep fans warm on a freezing night at Old Trafford, where the match officials wore leggings and every player's puff of breath was visible in the air.

Some of Valencia's best first-half chances came from striker Dominguez, whose curling right-foot shot from just outside the penalty area was heading for goal before Amos smothered it and he also cracked a shot against the post.

"I think we competed well, the draw was a fair result," Valencia manager Unai Emery told a news conference.

"We had a lot of the ball but I think the chances they created made it a fair result," he added.


Image: Manchester United's Rafael challenges Valencia's Jordi Alba during their Champions League Group C match at Old Trafford

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Bremen add to Inter's misery

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Defending champions Inter Milan slumped to a 3-0 defeat at Werder Bremen on Tuesday to miss their chance to challenge for the Champions League Group A top spot.

Already qualified for the round of 16, Inter fielded a largely makeshift team as coach Rafa Benitez spared several top players for the Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi later this month.

Sebastian Proedl headed Bremen, already eliminated after a disappointing European season, into the lead in the 38th minute and Austrian Marko Arnautovic, who played on loan for Inter last season, doubled the score four minutes after the restart.

Substitute Claudio Pizarro sealed the win with a shot two minutes from time after Werder twice rattled the woodwork in a one-sided game.

Bremen, who have now never lost at home to an Italian team in 15 games, finish bottom of the group and will not continue in a European competition after the winter break for the first time since 2004.


Image: Werder Bremen's Sebastian Proedl celebrates after scoring against Inter Milan during their Champions League Group A match at the Weser stadium

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Spurs defy the odds to finish top

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Tottenham Hotspur completed their memorable first Champions League group-stage campaign by topping the standings ahead of holders Inter Milan after an exhilarating 3-3 draw at Twente Enschede on Tuesday.

Back in August when Spurs were 3-0 down early in the first leg of their playoff at Young Boys you could have named your odds on them marching into the last 16 as a group winner.

The entertaining north London side fought back in that qualifying match in Switzerland to lose 3-2 and then set the tone for their new adventure by winning the return 4-0.

Three wins, two draws and a remarkable 18 goals scored sent them through to the knockout stage one point ahead of Inter.

Tuesday's game summed up Tottenham's appeal to the neutrals as they looked to attack at every opportunity while at the same time leaving themselves vulnerable at the other end.

"We score plenty of goals but we give them away as well. You want to win but it was important we finished top of the group," manager Harry Redknapp told Sky Sports after his side's goals against tally reached 11.

"I thought it was the toughest group and to top it was a great achievement," he added.


Image: Tottenham Hotspur's Jermain Defoe tries to score past FC Twente's goalkeeper during their Champions League Group A match in Enschede

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Copenhagen clinch last 16 spot

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FC Copenhagen celebrated clinching a place in the last 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday.

While Copenhagen were delighted they will continue to mix with the continent's big guns after their 3-1 win over Panathinaikos secured runners-up spot in Group D.

As well as Barca, Inter could also be paired with group winners Real Madrid or Manchester United, who topped their section with a 1-1 draw against Valencia at Old Trafford.

Martin Vingaard's strike, a Jesper Gronkjaer penalty and an own goal by Djibril Cisse did the trick for Copenhagen as they snatched one of four remaining places in the knockout stages still available as the group phase concludes this week.

"Towards the end of the group we twice had "match point" and that increased the pressure tonight," a relieved Copenhagen boss Stale Solbakken said.

"I dare say we have one of the best defences in the Champions League," he added.

Copenhagen, the first Danish club to reach the last 16 in the competition's present format, finished behind Barcelona who ended Russian side Rubin Kazan's hopes of squeezing through with a 2-0 win at the Nou Camp despite fielding a second-string side.


Image: FC Copenhagen's players celebrate their victory over Panathinaikos during their Champions League Group D match at Parken stadium in Copenhagen

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Young Barca ease past Rubin Kazan

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Rubin Kazan failed in their bid to make the last 16 of the Champions League when they lost 2-0 to a second-string Barcelona side in Group D.

Pep Guardiola fielded only two of his regular starting elevn at the Nou Camp and youngsters didn't disappoint as both the goals were scored by promoted players from the B team.

Andreu Fontas struck in the 51st minute when his left-foot shot was deflected into the net off Vitaly Kaleshin and Victor Vazquez added a second with a fine curled effort.

The Catalans had failed to beat Ruben in their previous meeting this season and lost twice when the two sides played last year.

The Russians had travelled after only conceding 16 goals in their domestic competition and their organization was clear to see in the Camp Nou.

Fontas opened the scoring five minutes into the second half following a through ball from Thiago and just as that goal went in, the news arrived that Copenhagen had scored a second goal against Panathinaikos.

That goal ended Ruben's chance of qualifying for the last 16 and their heads clearly dropped.


Image: Victor Vazquez celebrates after scoring against Rubin Kazan during their Champions League match

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