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Top spot for polished United

Published: Wednesday 10 December 2003
Manchester United FC 2-0 VfB Stuttgart Goals from Ruud van Nisterlrooij and Ryan Giggs win Group E.

Match statistics

Man. UnitedStuttgart

Goals scored2
 
0
Attempts on target4
 
5
Attempts off target4
 
4
Corners8
 
2
Offsides2
 
0
Fouls committed18
 
11
Yellow cards2
 
0
Red cards0
 
0

Standings

Last updated: 03/10/2013 16:21 CET

Legend:

P: Played   
Pts: Points   
 
Published: Wednesday 10 December 2003

Top spot for polished United

Manchester United FC 2-0 VfB Stuttgart Goals from Ruud van Nisterlrooij and Ryan Giggs win Group E.

By Jonathan Caswell at Old Trafford

Manchester United FC pipped VfB Stuttgart to first place in UEFA Champions League Group E after a typically assured Old Trafford performance.

Mutual progress
Both sides were already through before the match, but United needed to win to top the group, and goals either side of the break from Ruud van Nistelrooij and Ryan Giggs ensured they did just that. The strikes also made sure that there will be no immediate rematch with their quarter-final conquerors last season, Real Madrid CF, and their new midfield man, David Beckham.

Scholes returns
Tim Howard and Roy Keane were rested by United, as Sir Alex Ferguson brought in reserve goalkeeper Roy Carroll and Paul Scholes, the latter making his first start since recovering from a groin injury. With Marcelo Borden still out, also with a groin injury, Stuttgart only made one change to the team that beat Rangers FC on Matchday 5, Jurica Vranješ coming in for Silvio Meissner in right midfield.

Lahm effort
Stuttgart were as good as their word in taking the game to United, and on four minutes Philipp Lahm struggled free to find himself in acres of space but his shot was easily gathered by Carroll in the United goal. United's first effort came after ten minutes when Scholes was fed by Quinton Fortune, and his shot forced Timo Hildebrand to stretch to save.

Giggs shoots over
Although United were exerting plenty of pressure, Stuttgart proved incisive on the counterattack but on 27 minutes they were nearly behind as Van Nistelrooij set Darren Fletcher away. The Scotsman drew Hildebrand and squared, but Giggs blazed over. Five minutes later United had another chance, as Giggs found Gary Neville, who shot wide.

Van Nistelrooij record
United were on top, but Stuttgart nearly snatched the lead when Vranješ missed the target after a fine move. But just as it seemed the half would end goalless, Giggs danced past Fernando Meira to cross for Van Nistelrooij to head in his 28th European goal for United - equalling Denis Law's club record.

Stuttgart close
Stuttgart began the second period strongly, introducing Cacau for Imre Szabics in attack and Christian Tiffert for Vranješ. Timo Wenzel's powerful free-kick, blocked by Carroll, was a signal of their intentions. However, United were now looking good on the counterattack, and just such a move doubled their lead.

Lead increased
Van Nistelrooij shook off three markers and set Giggs away to run into the box and slide the ball past Hildebrand. The Welshman has now scored in a record nine Champions League campaigns, and Stuttgart's hopes of winning the group immediately faded decisively.

Win confirmed
Indeed, although the visitors continued to show the heart that has been behind their recent fine run, United were able to withdraw Giggs, Van Nistelrooij and Scholes without losing stride. Substitute Diego Forlán went close in added time, but victory was secure. Confirmation that Chelsea FC and Madrid had won their groups, and therefore could now stand in the way of Stuttgart, was proof of how valuable first place is to United.

Last updated: 10/12/03 12.58CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2003/matches/round=1712/match=1056886/postmatch/report/index.html#top+spot+polished+united

Lineups

man. united

Man. United

stuttgart

Stuttgart

13
CarrollRoy Carroll (GK)
1
HildebrandTimo Hildebrand (GK)
2
G. NevilleGary Neville
2
HinkelAndreas Hinkel
3
P. NevillePhil Neville
3
WenzelTimo Wenzel
5
FerdinandRio Ferdinand
6
Fernando MeiraFernando Meira
10
Van NistelrooyRuud van Nistelrooy
Goal45+2
Substitution71
8
VranješJurica Vranješ
Substitution46
11
GiggsRyan Giggs (C)
Goal58
Substitution71
15
HlebAleksandr Hleb
Substitution76
18
ScholesPaul Scholes
Yellow Card40
Substitution79
16
HeldtHorst Heldt
22
O'SheaJohn O'Shea
19
SzabicsImre Szabics
Substitution46
24
D. FletcherDarren Fletcher
20
SoldoZvonimir Soldo (C)
25
FortuneQuinton Fortune
Yellow Card74
21
LahmPhilipp Lahm
27
SilvestreMikaël Silvestre
22
KuranyiKevin Kuranyi

Substitutes

14
HowardTim Howard (GK)
23
HeinenDirk Heinen (GK)
8
ButtNicky Butt
7
MeissnerSilvio Meissner
12
BellionDavid Bellion
Substitution71
11
AmanatidisGiannis Amanatidis
15
KlébersonKléberson
12
GerberHeiko Gerber
16
KeaneRoy Keane
13
TiffertChristian Tiffert
Substitution46
19
Djemba-DjembaEric Djemba-Djemba
Substitution79
14
CenturiónEmanuel Centurión
Substitution76
21
ForlánDiego Forlán
Substitution71
18
CacauCacau
Substitution46

Coach

Sir Alex Ferguson (SCO) Felix Magath (GER)

Referee

Eric Poulat (FRA)

Assistant referees

Claude Martinez (FRA), Didier Grenier (FRA)

Fourth official

Jean-Marc Bonnin (FRA)

Legend:

  • GoalsGoals
  • Own goalOwn goal
  • PenaltiesPenalties
  • Missed PenaltiesMissed Penalties
  • reds_cardRed Cards
  • yellow_cardsYellow cards
  • yellow_red_cardsYellow/red card
  • SubstitutionSubstitution
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