Ruud van Nisterooij was full of praise for his team-mates after Manchester United swept to a 3-0 victory over Boavista FC in their UEFA Champions League Group A encounter at Old Trafford stadium. The Dutch striker scored twice but said: "It was a good team performance and everyone played their part."
“It’s always nice to get two goals,” continued the Dutch forward, who struck 15 minutes either side of half-time to take his European tally this season to six goals. “But it was much more important that we played well. Boavista came at us from the start but once we got the goal we settled.”
On the half-hour mark, Philip Neville’s square ball was turned home by Van Nistelrooij from close range. The goal delighted United manager Sir Alex Ferguson. “That won it for us," he said. "It was a good, disciplined performance. The key was that we didn’t make any mistakes – that’s the key to any defence – the unit was very strong tonight.”
French defender Laurent Blanc also got on the scoresheet, heading home Juan Sebastián Veron’s corner on 55 minutes to double United’s lead. “The defence was very solid,” added Van Nistelrooij, “and it was nice to see Blanc score.”
The Dutchman added his second on the hour, running on to Dwight Yorke’s through-ball past Paulo Turra and a square Boavista defence before firing across goalkeeper Ricardo Soares. Boavista coach Jaime Pacheco could only admire the striker’s finish. “It was an excellent third goal, scored on the counterattack,” he said.
'A good account'
“I’m not happy to lose but I thought we gave a good account ourselves. But it’s a shame I wasn’t told David Beckham wouldn’t be playing because I could have used him instead,” Pacheco joked.
Beckham was relegated to the bench with a slight back strain but Sir Alex was quick to explain the England captain’s exclusion, saying: “I think he’s had a very long season and it’s taken its toll.” There was further bad news for United fans in the shape of a serious injury to defender Wes Brown, who injured his knee during training on Monday and will be out for six to eight weeks with medial ligament damage.
But Brown should be fit in time for the resumption of United’s Champions League campaign on 20 February. Until then, Sir Alex’s team will sit top of the group, while Paulo Turra and his Boavista team-mates languish in third. The Boavista defender left the ground lamenting: “We started well and had some good chances early on but didn’t take them and it cost us the game."
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