By Robert Morris
A comfortable 0-3 win against Bursaspor all but assures Manchester United a place in the knockout phase. United are currently top of Group C with ten points while Bursaspor sit bottom of the table with no points and no goals.
United travelled to Turkey with a strong squad – Sir Alex Ferguson making his desire to secure all three points all too clear. Rio Ferdinand was the only big name rested, whilst Edwin van der Sar, Dimitar Berbatov and Patrice Evra all started.
As so often with the Red Devils recently, they struggled to get going in the first-half. They created very few chances and a hostile atmosphere certainly didn’t help them settle. Things got worse as unfortunately for the Reds, Luis Nani picked up a knock midway through the half and was eventually substituted for Ji Sung Park. United did have one chance before the break however and it fell to Paul Scholes. The veteran was put through after some patient interplay, however, the ball bounced up onto his hand before he struck calmly into the net. Needless to say, the goal was disallowed.
United struck just two minutes into the second half. A perfectly weighted pass from Michael Carrick found Darren Fletcher in acres of space inside the area, and an exceptional first touch from the Scottish midfielder allowed him to compose himself before firing home across the keeper and into the bottom corner. Soon after the goal Fletcher was replaced by the young Portuguese winger Bebe, because of a minor ankle injury.
Rarely troubled at the back, United killed the game in the 73rd minute with a fine finish from Gabriel Obertan. The Frenchman was given a rare start this evening and sought to impress. Receiving the ball outside the penalty area, the winger set himself and unleashed a powerful right-footed drive to score his first Manchester United goal.
Four minutes later, the result was guaranteed. Paul Scholes proved he is still one of the finest passers in world football, as his disguised through ball found the feet of Bebe to poke into the net from close range. A 0-3 result expressed how comfortable the Red Devils had been.
United look certain to qualify top of Group C and move into the knockout stage of the Champions League. Sir Alex Ferguson will also be delighted to see youngsters Obertan and Bebe manage to get on the scoresheet.