|Attempts on target||8||5|
|Attempts off target||8||7|
Paulo Bento and Sir Alex Ferguson were united in their praise for Edwin van der Sar after the goalkeeper helped Manchester United FC earn a 1-0 Group F victory away to Sporting Clube de Portugal. They also had words about Cristiano Ronaldo, the former Sporting winger who scored the decisive goal, with Bento admitting that while "our fans showed their appreciation and admiration for him by applauding", those on the bench did not necessarily share the sentiment.
Paulo Bento, Sporting coach
My team put in a good performance against a great side. We dominated the first half, controlled the play and had the best chances. In second half we didn't start that well and the goal came from a moment of poor concentration. We lost the ball following a rebound and failed to reorganise defensively which left Ronaldo in a danger zone. In matches like these mistakes are very costly. Towards the end, when we played with just three defenders, we created chances but Van der Sar stopped us from scoring. The result was unfair because United scored with the first chance they had. It's important to get points on the board but we're not out because of this defeat. We weren't happy that Ronaldo scored, but our fans showed their appreciation and admiration for him by applauding.
Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United manager
It was a very important result for us, away, in our first European match. Our aim in the first half was to keep Sporting at bay and we managed that thanks to Van der Sar who made a great save. We changed things in the second half, played deeper and were the better team, though again Van der Sar was fantastic in denying them an equaliser. It was good for Ronaldo to score his first goal of the season. He was well received in his old stadium. He's such a talented player, so young and now we hope he spends his best years with United. He's growing as a player and anything can happen in the future.
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