Friday, February 17, 2012
Ajax Amsterdam vs Manchester United, Europa League, Round of 32, 16-02-2012
45 minutes to KO: The Europa league music is not as good as that of Champions league but no choice here. Still can't believe that MUFC crashed out of THAT group to land in Europa league.
35 minutes to KO: if anything is worse than having to watch Europa league, it is listening to those idiotic comments from the so called pundits on Ten Action.
30 minutes to KO: The team news is out. The trio of Jones, Nani and Cleverly return from injury and walk straight in to the starting eleven. Paul Scholes is on the bench though. Surely SAF is saving him for..err..we don't have a weekend game this time, do we? Struggling to identify anyone from the Ajax starting eleven, except, of course, Christian Eriksen who was a summer target for MUFC.
20 minutes to KO: Haha.. Ten Action is busy showing the feud between City and Tevez. I seriously hope that he comes back to the City team and derail their title charge. So much for that ' Welcome to Manchester' banner.
18 minutes to KO: Oh yeah, Ashley young comes back too. Lots of pace down the flanks with Nani and Young.
5 minutes to KO: First view of the Amsterdam Arena. It is big. It is intimidating too. Fans are very vocal and MUFC players are coming out of the tunnel in their blue and black away kit. Good to see Cleverly back. The kid has got real talent.
KO: It may be a packed stadium but nothing comes anywhere near the Old Trafford atmosphere. By the way Ajax enjoying the lion share of initial possession and to top it all, Nani sends a corner kick out of play straight.
12': It is not a 4-4-2 combination as initially thought. Rather it is more of a 4-4-1-1 with Rooney in the middle.
20': like the look of the team though it still lacks the final ball. Once Vidic comes back and we get hold of a world class forcing midfielder, this lot can very well emulate the class of 92. Both the sides with some slick passing moves but a clear chance is yet to be seen.
29': Nani's decision making still needs some improvement. He blasts one over the bar when 3 were waiting in the box. He surely gets an earful from Rooney and SAF shakes his head on the sidelines.
32': Build some muscles and make your presence felt in the box. That is what De Gea needs to do to become the World's best. Every other aspect of his goal keeping is fabulous as shown by his acrobatic save from a long ranger which was heading in to the top corner. But that save from Juan Mata free kick at Stamford Bridge still remains as the save of the season.
HT: Scoreline remains the same but my twitter timeline is going crazy as if MUFC have a 5 goal lead at half time. That is the best thing about being an MUFC fan. Zambia or Zagreb, Mumbai or Massachusetts, Atlanta or Antarctica, you will find an MUFC fan at any corner of the world and trust all of them to be awake and watching when MUFC play, whichever time zone they are in.
50': MUFC come out of the blocks with pace and purpose. One day I want to know what SAF talks during half time. Or does he really talk anything at half time? Or just distribute a case of Redbull to everyone in the team? :D
58': The crowd has gone relatively quiet as MUFC start to enjoy consistent possession.
59': That is the prized away goal. Ashley Young gives MUFC a 1 goal lead through a drilled shot from inside the box. And with that Paul Scholes replaces Tom Cleverly, a case of master slotting in for the student.
69': The 3000 odd away supporters making the Amsterdam Arena feel like Old Trafford. Not for nothing that we are called the best fans in the world.
75': Antonio 'the motor' Valencia replaces Ashley young at the right wing as the game moves at a furious pace. Ajax has no option but to attack and MUFC relying on the counter attack to inflict more damage. Real box to box stuff. De Gea has been outstanding tonight.
86': MUFC have one foot on the next round with Hernandez slotting in from a Rooney through ball. At 2-0 up and second leg at Old Trafford, the tie is as good as over. Surely?
FT: it is all over in Amsterdam. A perfect European away night for MUFC. Clean sheet, 2 goals scored and no injuries. Bye Bye Amsterdam. Old Trafford awaits. It is already Friday here and time to crash in bed. A day of red eyes and sleepy hours to look forward at work!