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05-05-2011, 07:00 AM #1
Man Utd march on to Champions League finalManchester United set up a Champions League final at Wembley with Barcelona as they sauntered to a 4-1 victory against Schalke at Old Trafford on Wednesday night.
Sir Alex Ferguson's men were never troubled by Schalke, yet a sedate first half was turned on it's head, lurching to life after Antonio Valencia and Darren Gibson goals were answered by Jose Manuel Jurado’s fine strike.
The hosts completely dominated the second half, with Anderson bagging a close-range double as Schalke were completed outclassed by an accomplished Manchester United performance.
The 6-1 aggregate scoreline was more than a fair reflection on the overall performance of the German side over the two legs, with Manchester United reaching their third final in four years after achieving the biggest ever Champions League semi-final win.
Perhaps baring in mind Schalke's non-existent attacking verve at the Gelsenkirchen, or taking into account the massive Premier League clash with Chelsea on Sunday or maybe even as a statement of confidence in his squad's capabilities - Sir Alex Ferguson wrung the changes from the weekend defeat against Arsenal - with only Edwin Van der Sar and Anderson retaining their place in the starting line-up.
And the unfamiliarity of the home side's starting 11 came to the fore in the game's sloppy opening stages, as both sides felt each other out with little regard for considered measure. Other than a couple of isolated incidents when Nani and Rafael bamboozled the opposition, sloppy touches, misplaced passes and late snaps punctuated the game.
Just when it seemed United might miss the spark of Wayne Rooney and Chicharito up top, their play suddenly became expansive and Berbatov twice found himself deep inside the Schalke box – once after employing some excellent turns and then after an intelligent Gibson pass - yet disappointingly stabbed low crosses into the shins of the first man both times of asking....being a human...