Edwin van der Sar believes Manchester United FC fully deserved their 1-0 victory at LOSC Lille Métropole in Lens last night after a piece of quick-thinking settled the contest.
United seemed destined to settle for a goalless draw ahead of the first knockout round return at Old Trafford in two weeks' time after a lively encounter that had seen chances for both teams. That was until a quickly-taken Ryan Giggs free-kick in the 83rd minute caught home goalkeeper Tony Sylva off-guard, ultimately consigning a disappointed Lille to a first-ever home defeat at this level. "I thought it was a valid goal," said Sylva's opposite number Van der Sar, back in the United lineup after a broken nose. "As a goalkeeper myself I can sympathise, because it's the sort of thing that only happens once in your career."
The first clean sheet in four games in Europe has set the two-time continental champions well on the road to a first appearance in the quarter-finals since 2002/03, and also signalled a return to winning ways abroad following consecutive defeats at FC København and Celtic FC. "We lost our last two away games in this competition so this was a very good result for us," added the Dutch international. "Lille might not have a big reputation, but they have good, fast players. They made life difficult for us in the last 20 minutes, especially when they moved [Mathieu] Bodmer further forward. We had a good game, though, and now we're well-placed for the second leg."
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