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Manchester United 2 – 0 Bayer Leverkusen
Preamble: The teams emerge from the tunnel at Old Trafford. Manchester United, slaughtered by their neighbours and bitter rivals Manchester City last Saturday, are led out by David Beckham. Juan Sebastian Veron, who was expected to be rested tonight, isn’t being rested tonight. This will please Bayer Leverkusen no end. Sadly for the Germans, however, there isn’t a Neville in sight. Authentic Prada Americas Cup Sneakers Only five Are All Prada Products Made In Italy of Bayer Leverkusen’s starting eleven played in the Champions League final last May. With both teams already through to the second phase, it has to be said that this match is ever so slightly pointless. Unless you’re watching on ITV, who would have you believe that the quest ot be seeded in the second phase has been giving Messrs Ferguson and Toploader (I know, I know) sleepless nights.
1 min: Bayer Leverkusen kick-off. Well, somebody has to.
2 mins: Gary Neville ties a ribbon around the ball, presents it to Shaun Goater and – unable to believe his luck – the Manchester City striker slots it neatly past Fabien Barthez and into the net. Sorry, I know that was last Saturday but I really enjoyed it.
3 mins: Van Nistelrooy prada sg latches on to a dreadful back-pass and manouevres himself into a scoring position in the Leverkusen penalty area. With only the ‘keeper to beat he shoots low and left. The German stopper, a big manby the name of Butt, sticks out a foot and pokes it clear.
4 mins: Manchester United win a corner which is swung in. The ball falls at van Nistelrooy’s feet, the Dutchman swings and scuffs a harmless shot into the ‘keeper’s arms. That’s two poor efforts in a row.
5 mins: Van Nistelrooy wins a ree after being dragged back by Thomas Kleine. It’s fairly inconsequential, but I thought I’d better mention some German player other than their goalkeeper, who is not to be confused with the Manchester United midfielder of the same name.
9 mins: Van Nistelrooy notches up a hat-trick of bad misses before the clock passes the 10-minute mark. Giggs whipped in a low, hard cross from the left, Ruud beat his man, stuck out a leg and missed it completely. Clown.
10 mins: “What’s happened to Barthez?” enquires Geoff Herring. Depending on your point of view, Geoff, he’s being rested/been found out.
13mins: Scholes and Giggs combine well through the middle, and the latter pokes a through-ball past Zoltan Sebescan into the path of van Nistelrooy. Butt charges off his line and gathers well.
15 mins: Penalty for Leverkusen.
16 mins: Jan Simak blasts his penalty high over the bar and out of Old Trafford. Bayer Leverkusen won their penalty when Ricardo brought down Dimitar Berbaton (I think). Ricardo got booked for his troubles, and probably would have been sent off except Berbaton was Authentic Prada Fairy Bag For Sale running away from goal and blatantly playing for a penalty.
18 mins: A weak Silvestre header hits the post. Blanc follows up, but the angle is too narrow for him took it into the goal. Having said that, you could give the same fellow his choice of angles and he’d still make a pig’s ear of it.
21mins: Ruud van Nistelrooy fails to meet a lovely Silvestre cross. “How about this for a poser?” says Jez, an Everton fan, who asked David Unsworth to solve the same conundrum at his Testimonial press conference. “Take the fiercest lion in the world and the fiercest tiger in the world, smother them both in gravy (to ensure optimal savagery) and have them fight to the death. Who would win?” I have no idea Jez, but I’m guessing it’s something derogatory to do with Manchester United. Anybody else got any suggestions?
24 mins: Considering there’s nothing at stake, this is a surprisingly sprightly game. United are definitely in control, but need to turn the screw in midfield a bit more as Balitsch and Babic have decided to flick the switch for Leverkusen. Flicked switches and turned screws? It sounds more like an electrician festival than a football match.
27 mins: “I was just wondering how many titles you have in professional football, because Gary Neville has loads,” writes Crembo, displaying the kind of razor-sharp wit that has long been the calling card of Manchester United fans the world over. He’s certainly put me back in my box, because I have no titles in professional football. Like Fabien Barthez, I too have been found out.
30 mins: Zivkovic shanks a long ball forward which Manchester United clear.
31 mins: O’Shea tries to find Beckham on the right wing, but Balitsch shepherds the ball out for a throw. Beckham takes possession again, fires in a cross and Sebescen heads it clear.
33 mins: A terrible miss from Ryan Giggs. From the right wing, Beckham bent one around the Leverkusen defence and into the path of the onrushing Welshman. He got there a yard ahead of Ramelow but missed completely when it seemed easier to score.
35 mins: Scholes stings Butt’s palms with a pile-driver. Good stop.
36 mins: This must-read missive has arrvied from Angry Pete in Vancouver: “Who picked that team?! Where is Solskjaer? Where is Forlan? (Words I never thought I’d utter!) Why does Ferguson persist in playing Scholes out of position? I’ve had enough of his technical tinkering. It’s already seen us blown out of the water by City and it gives me little hope for progress when we have to face the major European teams in the next phase. I know the game doesn’t mean anything but we need a good performance to appease the supporters a bit. Things must be bad – I’m actually spending my time Agatha Ruiz Dela Authentic Prada Outlet Online Usa Prada Shoes Uk typing e-mails to somebody reporting on the game they are watching on TV.”
Relax the head Pete. I didn’t pick it. If I had, rest assured that both Neville brothers and David May would be playing.
41 Authentic Prada Gauffre Bag mins: Jan Simak, he who missed the penalty, picks up a yellow card for a foul on Beckham. The England captain blasts the free into the Leverkusen wall, which had definitely sneaked forward a couple of yards while the ref wasn’t looking.
42 mins: GOAL! Manchester United 1 – 0 Bayer Leverkusen Finishing a move he’d started, Juan Sebastian Veron dispatches a peach of a volley from about 15 yards. Mine’s a big slice of humble pie with ice cream, please. Angry Pete in Vancouver will have one too.
Half-time entertainment: “Is John O’Shea any use and should he be playing for Ireland?” asks Garrett Carmody, in the kind of no-nonsense fashion we appreciate here at GU. This isn’t so much a question as a philosophical connundrum, Garrett. There’s no doubting John O’Shea’s quality as a player, but his alliance with The Horned One means he may be a bit too good to play for Ireland. If he’s going to start moaning about poor training facilities with no footballs and no kit, not to mention harmless pre-World Cup squad booze-ups, I don’t think there should be a place for him in the Republic of Ireland squad. So, to answer your question: Yes, he’s excellent. No, he shouldn’t be playing for Ireland.
46 mins: Manchester United get the second half underway. Hats off to Spencer Jones who has pointed out the disturbing footballing irregularity that almost bypassed me completely: an away side got a penalty at Old Trafford. “It’s obviously a nothing game,” muses Spencer. Cynically.
48 mins: Van Nistelrooy does well to muscle his way past Thomas Kleine in the six-yard box. From a narrow angle, Authentic Prada Handbags For Cheap he smacks the ball straight at Butt, who parries. Good effort – he couldn’t have done much else with it.
50 mins: “Tiger, no question,” writes the appropriately monikered Leo Barasi of the great Lion Covered In Gravy v Tiger Covered In Gravy Death Match puzzle from the first half. “Lions are used to hunting in packs, and wouldn’t have a chance on their own against a tiger. Oh my god, I really should do some work.” Jez, can we have an answer please?
53 mins: Don’t worry, you haven’t missed much. David Beckham struck a wonderful long-distance pass on the half-volley, which found van Nistelrooy, who had strayed offside. Like the gang who plotted to kidnap his wife, Beckham’s taking no prisoners.
54 mins: Excellent defending from Zoltan Zebescan, who foils a neat attacking move cooked up by Scholes and Van Nistelrooy.
56 mins: “Gary Neville’s most recent title is ‘City hero’ which I bet he’s especially happy to have received,” writes Jeremy Smith. Ouch! It’s getting ugly.
58 mins: United win a corner. Ferdinand and Blanc trudge up the field to have a pop, Beckham swings it in and Marko Babic clears. The ball finds its way to Beckham on the left wing, he whips in a cross and Butt makes a complete fool of himself by coming to claim and missing the Authentic Prada Canvas Bag ball completely. It trickles wide and the goalkeeper’s blushes are saved.
60 mins: John O’Shea gallops down the right wing and fires in a great cross. Unfortunately, it’s cleared. Bayer Leverkusen substitution: Franca for Berbatov. The Manchester United fans strike upa chorus of “There’s only one Keano!” Either they’ve forgotten about Roy already, or else they haven’t heard Authentic Prada Shoes Sale of Robbie.
63 mins: Veron, who has done sod all since scoring, gets the ball and gives it away to a Leverkusen player in one fluid movement. Surprise, surprise, he doesn’t bother chasing after it. Then again, I wouldn’t bother either, so it’s probably unfair of me to criticise him for his sloth.
64 mins: Jan Simak almost atones for his penalty howler with a brilliant shot. Ricardo saves acrobatically. Great shot, super save.
66 mins: For anybody who’s interested, Juventus are beating Dynamo Kiev 2-1 and Newcastle are beating Feyenoord 2-1. If it stays like that, Newcastle will proceed to the second phase. Newcastle have to win and hope Juventus reserves do them a favour in Kiev.
68 mins: GOAL! Manchester United 2 – 0 Bayer Leverkusen At long last, Van Nistelrooy scores a goal. Scholes and Veron combined beautifully to tee it up for the Dutchman, who slotted home from six yards (looking suspiciously offside), through the keeper’s legs.
70 mins: Almost straight from the kick-off, Giggs crosses for Van Nistelrooy, who slots home. He’s offside. At the other end, a powerful Sebescen drive whizzes narrowly high and wide. Feyenoord have equalised in their match against Newcastle, who have to win.
73 mins: Scholes skins Ramelow for pace and gets a shot in from a narrow angle. Butt stands his ground and puts it out for a corner. Nothing comes of it.
76 mins: Brdaric collides with John O’Shea. He needs treatment, but he’s okay. Manchester United substituion: Gary Neville and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for Laurent Blanc and David Beckham. Leverkusen substitution: somebody for somebody else.
81 mins: Luke Chadwick comes on. Didn’t see who went off.
82 mins: Fortune sprays the ball in the direction of Chadwick, whose first contribution of the evening is to fall over and win a free-kick.
83 mins: Rio Ferdinand limps off the field for treatment after pulling up lame. He’s holding his thigh. Biggest Prada Store London
84 mins: His name is Rio and he’s hobbling down the tunnel. As they’ve used all their subs, Manchester United will finish the game with nine men. And Gary Neville.
87 mins: Bayer Leverkusen have officially given up, in case you’re wondering why I have too. The game is being played out at walking pace.
89 minutes: The result is in on the Gravy Tiger v Gravy Lion Fight, and I for one can’t apologise enough. I thought it was an elaborate joke, but it turns out it was actually a genuine science and nature question. “Although it’s not conclusive, the answer is tiger,” says Jez With a straight face. Meanwhile, Newcastle have gone 3-2 ahead against Feyenoord. It’s all happening … somewhere else. Jez, you’re barred from my minute-by-minute reports until January.
Full time: Manchester United 2 – 0 Bayer Leverkusen Oblivious to the fact that the remaining 21 players stopped bothering to play about nine minutes ago, the referee blows for full time. Manchester United and Bayer Leverkusen are both through to the second phase of the Champions League. Just like they were before the match started. Rolf from Sweden has suggested I e-nutt Jez, which isn’t a bad idea, except I’m a lover, not a fighter. Anyway, that’s that. Thanks for your time and your mails.
Manchester United: 19-Ricardo; 22-John O’Shea, 5-Laurent Blanc, 6-Rio Ferdinand, 27-Mikael Silvestre; 7-David Beckham, 4-Juan Veron, 25-Quinton Fortune, 11-Ryan Giggs, 18-Paul Scholes; 10-Ruud van Nistelrooy.
Bayer Leverkusen: 1-Hans-Joerg Butt; 6-Boris Zivkovic, 47-Thomas Kleine, 28-Carsten Ramelow, 26-Zoltan Sebescen; 14-Hanno Balitsch, 19-Marko Babic, 8-Jan Simak, 13-Daniel Bierofka; 12-Dimitar Berbatov, 23-Thomas Brdaric.
Referee: Vladimir Hrinak (Slovakia)