Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Berbatov goal gives United another 1-0 victory

Dimitar Berbatov 69th minute goal gives Manchester United a 1-0 victory over Middlesborough at Old Trafford yesterday. And that victory keeps United in the touching distance with the leaders.

The Bulgarian striker looked like a observer the whole match but in 69th minute Boro failed to clear a Carrick cross and Berbatov pushed it back past Turnbull for the decisive goal.

"Three points was the name of the game, I thought Boro played very well tonight and we had to work hard for it," United manager Alex Ferguson told Setanta Sport.

"But we've missed a lot of chances and that's a bit of a concern and if we don't start taking these chances then we might suffer for it."

Cristiano Ronaldo had half a dozen half chances but sent them either wide or straight at the keeper, while centre back Nemanja Vidic headed wide from a corner.

Middlesborough had not won their previous seven games and looked like they will take a point from the match but Berbatov's goal killed their hope at 21 minutes remaining from the time.

"He's a marvellous player," Ferguson said of his latest signing. "He's taken the goal very well at a crucial moment. At that stage you start to get concerned."

"We are in a good position now come the turn of the year. The two games in hand are at home but it's going to be a great run-in, very exciting."

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Ibrahimovic 'better than Ronaldo' ???

Inter Milan coach
Jose Mourinho insists his striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a better player than Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo.

"Ronaldo is a good player but he is certainly not the best," said Mourinho.

"He deserved the Golden Ball award because his team won the Champions League and the Premier League. But, for me, Ibrahimovic is the best."
Mourinho also said he is not chasing Chelsea's Dider Drogba, but admitted he will let striker Adriano leave Inter.

The 26-year-old Brazilian forward has been linked with a move to Chelsea or a return to his home country, and is apparently now free to leave in the January transfer window.

"(Club president) Massimo Moratti and I want him to stay," said Mourinho.

"However, if he asked me to leave I would not oppose it. He has 10 years of football left to play."

He added: "I have never hidden my special relationship with Didier but I do not need another striker as I have Hernan Crespo, Julio Cruz, Mario Balotelli and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

"But Drogba is more than a player for me, he is a part of me, an extension of the coach on the pitch."
With Italian champions Inter set to face Manchester United in the last 16 of the Champions league next February, Mourinho has begun talking up his players.

And the former Chelsea boss believes his fellow Portuguese, Ronaldo, "is certainly not the best" player in the world.

"When I think how a player should be, names like Kaka, Ibrahimovic and (Lionel) Messi come to mind," said Mourinho.

"Messi is great and in two or three years' time he will win the Golden Ball (Ballon d'Or) award."

Rooney conquers the world

Rooney conquers the world

Wayne Rooney grabbed the only goal as 10-man Manchester United were crowned kings of the world.

United were always the dominant force in their Club World Cup Final with LDU Quito, even after Nemanja Vidic had been sent off.

And Rooney ensured the Red Devils got the reward they deserved when he curled home the winner 16 minutes from time after Cristiano Ronaldo had supplied the final pass.

It is the first time an English club have won the tournament in its expanded form and the second time United have been crowned best on the planet following their victory over Palmeiras in 1999.

Any doubt over the tactics Quito would use against the Champions League winners were dispelled inside the opening five minutes.

First Claudio Bieler waded into Ronaldo with a dangerous tackle that rightly brought a yellow card, then the Ecuador outfit camped in their own half, content to let United come to the edge of their box but no further, using whatever means they could to achieve it.

Quito's defence was by no means watertight but, not for the first time this season, United failed to make their superiority tell.

Rooney powered two thunderous efforts towards goal that Jose Cevallos managed to deal with, the first time convincingly, the second far less so.

From then on, Rooney was the link man as chances began to pile up.

Park Ji-sung was one culprit, driving an angled shot straight at Cevallos before lifting a close-range shot over the bar after Rafael had picked him out with a superb crossfield pass.

It was the type of opportunity Ferguson has been imploring the South Korean to take as he gets into similar positions so many times but for a poor net return.

The same could also be said of Carlos Tevez.

Three times Tevez found himself in sight of goal but on each occasion he was denied, Cevallos particularly impressive in pushing away a header the South American guided towards the corner from Ronaldo's cross.

The prospective world footballer of the year was a muted force in attack. He did bring a few appreciative howls from a capacity crowd as he danced through the Quito midfield but the physical nature of the opposition ensured he never really got a clear sight of goal.

As Ferguson delivered his interval team-talk, he must have warned his team of the danger that lurked if chances continued to be spurned.

If so, his words had even more resonance four minutes after the restart as Vidic was sent off.

The flashpoint came as Vidic and Beiler wrestled on the floor as they tried to get to their feet.

Suddenly Bieler was rolling around clutching his face and referee Ravshan Irmatov was brandishing a red card.

TV replays showed Vidic had used an elbow, although as Bieler looked in no trouble as he re-entered the fray, it did not appear the damage was too serious.

Tevez was not happy at being substituted, snatching his tracksuit top and kicking out in frustration at the dug-out after appearing to spurn Ferguson's explanation.

Yet Quito failed to press home the advantage of an extra man, Van der Sar denying Alejandro Manso and William Araujo during sporadic attacks.

In contrast, even with 10 men, United kept pushing and 16 minutes from time duly received their reward.

Carrick supplied a superb pass for Ronaldo, who instead of going for goal himself, fed Rooney to his left and his shot was precise and out of the reach of Cevallos.
Van der Sar needed to make a flying save to deny Alejandro Manso in the final minutes and even Tevez was off the bench as the celebrations began.



Manchester United have agreed terms for Partizan Belgrade pair Zoran Tosic and Adem Ljajic.

The Daily Star Sunday says United have agreed to pay £15million for Serbian wonderboys Tosic and Ljajic.

And the European Cup holders hope to complete the double deal in next month¡¯s transfer window.

The Partizan Belgrade pair are manager Sir Alex Ferguson¡¯s only planned signings in January.

The club has already secured a work permit for Tosic, 21, a pacy left winger who would cost £8m.

Ljajic, who is only 17, is an attacking midfielder who is also being tracked by Spanish giants Real Madrid and Jose Mourinho¡¯s Inter Milan ¨C who face United in the Champions League in February.

The Old Trafford club decided to buy him after he impressed during a recent successful trial at the club¡¯s training complex at Carrington.

Already a Serbia Under-21 international, £7m Ljajic could be loaned back to Partizan by United for the rest of the season ¨C or even for the following campaign, too, as he has been earmarked by Fergie as one for the future.