Mission accomplished – almost. The comfortable 3-0 defeat of Bursaspor in Turkey virtually guaranteed Manchester United of progressing to the knock out stages of the Champions League with two matches to spare. There were many positive aspects in a good second half display from a severely weakened side with Gabriel Obertan and Bebe’s first European goals certain to boost the youngsters’ confidence. Another was the ability of the defence to maintain a clean sheet for the fourth successive Group C match.
Manager Sir Alex Ferguson was more than happy with a good nights work saying that “We were basically in control although they had a couple of chances and the second goal killed them off. Obertan’s goal showed what a talent he is – it was a fantastic strike.” Darren Fletcher’s ankle and Nani’s groin injuries took some of the gloss of the victory. “The injuries are the disappointing part of the night for us” Ferguson admitted “I don’t think either will be able to play at the weekend. We will have Darron Gibson back so that could help us.”
Bursaspor 0 v Manchester United 3
Daily Telegraph – It was against Turkish opposition in 1994 that one group of Manchester United youngsters served notice of their readiness to dislodge the old guard and claim centre stage. Expecting Gabriel Obertan and Bebe to emulate the feats of David Beckham and co, who destroyed Galatasaray in a 4-0 rout at Old Trafford in Dec 1994 would be a case of optimism in the extreme but the unheralded wingers certainly responded to their critics by scoring their first Champions League goals as United coasted to a 3-0 win against Bursaspor.
Fletcher’s 48 minute opener was followed by a fierce 20 yard strike by Obertan and a neat finish by Bebe. But while Bebe’s brief cameo highlighted his pace and adventure, Obertan’s all round performance was the stand out. Maybe the £3million French winger might have something after all and with Nani limping out with a groin injury, he might just get the opportunity to prove himself again against Wolves on Saturday. Full Report
UEFA.COM – Strikes from Darren Flecther, Gabriel Obertan and an Ali Tando?an own goal earned Manchester United FC a victory which strengthens their place at the top of UEFA Champions League Group C and ends Bursaspor’s interest in the competition. Following a scorelless first period, Fletcher broke the deadlock on 48 minutes with a powerful low finish.
Though the hosts threatened sporadically, United made sure of the points with two strikes in four minutes through Obertan and Bebe. The result leaves United knowing victory at Rangers FC on Matchday 5 will secure their place in the knockout stages, while the best Bursaspor can hope for is a UEFA Europa League berth after a fourth successive defeat. Full Report
MANUTD.COM – United edged a step closer to qualification for the Champions League knock out stages with a hard-fought 3-0 victory over Bursaspor in Turkey. After surviving a couple of minor scares in a tepid first half, the Reds, who had struggled to retain possession throughout the opening 45, came flying out of the traps and went ahead through Darren Fletcher. Gabriel Obertan and substitute Bebe sealed the three points late on with a pair of fine finishes to put United on 10 points at the top of Group C.
Sir Alex, who was missing a host of players through injury and illness, made three changes to the side that started against Tottenham, with Chris Smalling replacing the rested Rio Ferdinand at the heart of the defence, Paul Scholes returning in central midfield and Gabriel Obertan coming in for only his second start of the campaign. Javier Hernandez and Ji-sung Park dropped to the bench with Dimitar Berbatov leading the line on his own up front. Full Report
Manchester United – Van der Sar, Evra (Fabio 81), Smalling, Vidic, Rafael, Nani (Park 29), Carrick, Scholes, Fletcher (Bebe 62), Berbatov, Obertan
Goals Fletcher 47m, Obertan 73m, Bebe 76m
Bursaspor – Ivankov, Oztürk, Erdogan, Wederson, Tandogan, Ergic, Svensson, Sen (Odobasi 82), Bahadir, Yildirim (Ipek 74), Insua