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Boavista FC 0-3 Manchester United FC
Manchester United FC progressed to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League as winners of Group A after a 3-0 win at Boavista FC.
No joy for Pacheco
The Portuguese champions could do little to contain their English counterparts as United put on a masterful display of counterattacking football to deny Boavista coach Jaime Pacheco the chance to leave the competition on a high note.
A masterful performance
Goals from Laurent Blanc, Ole Gunnar Solskjær and a David Beckham penalty saw United earn a result which made FC Bayern München’s 2-1 win against FC Nantes Atlantique irrelevant, and although they ended the game with ten men, United’s lead was rarely threatened.
Early blow for Boavista
Boavista went into the game with the intention of putting pressure on a United side without captain Roy Keane, record signing Juan Sebastián Veron and top scorer Ruud van Nistelrooij, but it took United just 14 minutes to open the scoring. Having just had one corner cleared, Beckham did much better with a second attempt, and while Pacheco will not have been happy with goalkeeper Ricardo’s positioning, that did not deter Blanc from passing the ball into the net from close range.
United sit back
From then on the game went pretty much to plan for United who were happy to give Boavista possession in midfield but were untroubled in defence throughout. Diego Forlán almost added another goal with a diving header from a Ryan Giggs cross after 21 minutes while, at the other end, Boavista's best chance of grabbing an equaliser came to nothing on 24 minutes. Petit fed Erwin Sánchez who beat one defender before crashing a low shot towards goal which Fabien Barthez did superbly to scramble wide.
Beckham misses open goal
It should have been 2-0 to United two minutes later as Ricardo's acrobatic save from Forlán's fierce drive dropped the ball into the path of Beckham, but the England captain managed to drive wide of an open goal.
Solskjær makes no mistake
A second goal was coming for United as they continued to unhinge Boavista on the break, and it duly arrived on 29 minutes. Beckham fed Giggs inside the penalty area and his attempted shot on goal was deflected off the goalkeeper into the path of Solskjær who bundled it home.
The home side continued to press for a reply as the half drew on but they found United in mean mood, and Beckham could easily have atoned for his earlier miss after 33 minutes when an acrobatic Ricardo save denied him from a free-kick. Six minutes into the second period, however, the England captain finally got a goal from the penalty spot after substitute Martelinho felled Paul Scholes. Beckham showed no nerves as he stepped up to blast the ball past the luckless Ricardo.
He almost added another from a 59th-minute free-kick but once more Ricardo positioned himself well to effect a save. However, young United substitute Michael Stewart brought an even better save out of the goalkeeper with a 22-metre drive after 80 minutes.
Solskjær limps off
By that time, United – who had already made their three permitted substitutions - were down to ten men after Solskjær limped off the pitch with a suspected ankle injury with a quarter of an hour to go. To their credit, Boavista pressed United up until the final whistle, but the visitors were good value for their win.
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