A Marcus Allbäck goal seventeen minutes from time gave FC København their first UEFA Champions League victory at the expense of Group F rivals Manchester United FC.
The match looked destined for a goalless draw when the Sweden striker pounced on Atiba Hutchinson's header to prod the ball over the line following a corner. With SL Benfica beating Celtic FC 3-0 in Lisbon, the group has been thrown open with København moving to the four-point mark, two adrift of second-placed Celtic and five behind United.
Heinze means business
It was apparent from the early stages that the surface, rutted by the exertions of a Bruce Springsteen concert at the weekend, would mitigate against free-flowing football and the first ten minutes were punctuated by a series of high balls designed to test the resolve of both defences. The home rearguard were the first to flinch, on 13 minutes, when Gabriel Heinze got the better of Lars Jacobsen down the United left before feeding Wayne Rooney. The in-form striker cut inside and curled in a shot which was comfortably held by Jesper Christiansen.
Twenty-four minutes had elapsed before København managed to get their first effort on target. Hutchinson robbed Heinze and slipped the ball to Michael Silberbauer but the midfielder's low attempt was easily held by United captain Edwin van der Sar at his near post. Almost immediately United broke to the other end, and from Wes Brown's cross, Rooney headed just over. The pace of the 21-year-old was causing all sorts of problems for the hosts and just before the half-hour, Brede Hangeland was booked for a late challenge on Rooney. However, the forward should have done better on 32 minutes when he fashioned another opening for himself, turning Hangeland inside the box before miscuing a weak shot.
Sir Alex Ferguson made one change at half-time, introducing Rio Ferdinand for Nemanja Vidić and the England centre-back was instantly involved as the Danish champions forced a series of corners. From one of Jacobsen's deliveries, Michael Gravgaard managed to get a header on target but it lacked power and was well taken by Van der Sar. His opposite number Christiansen had to be alert moments later, smothering the ball at Ole Gunnar Solksjær's feet after Cristiano Ronaldo had played the Norwegian in on goal.
Hutchinson had another opportunity on 55 minutes when Martin Bergvold picked him out with a left-wing cross, but although the midfielder rose above Ferdinand, he could not keep his header down. United responded, Solksjær and Rooney combining inside the area before the latter glided the ball across to John O'Shea who cushioned a shot wide of the post with the goal at his mercy. The game was being played in København's half and Rooney nodded wide from another Heinze centre on 64 minutes, before a shot from Solksjær was deflected wide.
Home coach Ståle Solbakken threw on Fredrik Berglund and William Kvist as Københanvn pushed for their first goal of the campaign and, within minutes, they had broken the deadlock. Jacobsen's corner was not cleared by United and when Hutchinson nodded the resulting cross towards goal, Allback reacted quickest to bundle the ball over the line and reignite FCK's qualifying hopes.
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