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O'Shea gives United slender advantage

Published: Thursday 30 April 2009, 0.30CET
Manchester United FC 1-0 Arsenal FC
John O'Shea's first-half strike means United take a narrow lead to London although it could have been more after they passed up a host of chances.
by Simon Hart
from Old Trafford
O'Shea gives United slender advantage
John O'Shea takes the plaudits from his United team-mates after opening the scoring ©Getty Images

Match statistics

Man. UnitedArsenal

Goals scored1
 
0
Attempts on target8
 
1
Attempts off target6
 
4
Corners4
 
0
Offsides4
 
2
Fouls committed11
 
9
Yellow cards1
 
0
Red cards0
 
0

Standings

 
Published: Thursday 30 April 2009, 0.30CET

O'Shea gives United slender advantage

Manchester United FC 1-0 Arsenal FC
John O'Shea's first-half strike means United take a narrow lead to London although it could have been more after they passed up a host of chances.

John O'Shea's first-half goal gave Sir Alex Ferguson the result he had asked for as Manchester United FC beat Arsenal FC 1-0 in the opening leg of their UEFA Champions League semi-final.

Deserved victory
Sir Alex said on the eve of the game that he would be "delighted" to win 1-0 and that is exactly what he got through defender O'Shea's close-range effort after 17 minutes. It was a deserved victory for the defending champions and leaves Arsenal requiring a big improvement in the second leg next Tuesday when they must try to defeat United by two clear goals for the first time in 20 matches.

High tempo
Both these teams are renowned for their fine attacking football but it was United who took the honours here. The defending champions flew out of the blocks and inside the second minute Wayne Rooney's looping header put Manuel Almunia at full stretch to make the save. Semi-finals can be cautious affairs but United veered from the script, their early high tempo typified by Carlos Tévez, racing around like a man with a point to prove on his first European start since December.

Reward
The hosts' urgent start earned its reward just after the quarter-hour. Moments earlier Almunia had denied Tévez at close range with a superb one-handed save when the Argentinian appeared certain to convert O'Shea's low centre. But the goalkeeper's good work went to waste from Anderson's ensuing corner. Although overhit, Michael Carrick drove the ball back in and it deflected off United old boy Mikaël Silvestre to O'Shea who crashed a first-time effort past Almunia. Evidence that things were not going Arsenal's way came soon after when Cesc Fàbregas sliced a shot out for a throw-in.

Almunia bravery
It was the Spaniard who had the visitors' best attempt of the half after 27 minutes when Theo Walcott and Emmanuel Adebayor combined to set up a shooting chance on the edge of the box, but Fàbregas fired straight at Edwin van der Sar. Urged on by the noisy home crowd, United could have had a second before the half-hour after they launched another attack down the right, Tévez running at Arsenal's 19-year-old left-back Kieran Gibbs before crossing to the far post where Cristiano Ronaldo was unable to direct his header past Almunia. Anderson – lively in an attacking midfield role – then slipped a ball forward for Tévez but Almunia saved bravely at his feet.

Giggs offside
Although Adebayor flashed a volley over the crossbar, United continued to look the likelier scorers in the second half. Rooney teed up Anderson on the edge of the box but the Brazilian miscued. Ronaldo revived memories of his long-range winner at FC Porto by leaving Almunia's crossbar trembling with a drive from 25 metres before Carrick sent a daisycutter just wide. Red shirts kept coming forward and it took a fine Silvestre header to stop Dimitar Berbatov turning in fellow replacement Ryan Giggs's cross. Giggs – making his 800th United appearance – then rounded Almunia and had the ball in the net but was ruled offside. At the other end Arsenal's own substitute Nicklas Bendtner beat Van der Sar to a high free-kick but the ball bounced wide. Arsenal will need better next week.

Last updated: 30/04/09 10.04CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2009/matches/round=15279/match=302810/postmatch/report/index.html#oshea+gives+united+slender+advantage

Lineups

man. united

Man. United

arsenal

Arsenal

1
Van der SarEdwin van der Sar (GK)
1
AlmuniaManuel Almunia (GK)
3
EvraPatrice Evra
2
DiabyAbou Diaby
5
FerdinandRio Ferdinand (C)
Substitution88
3
SagnaBacary Sagna
7
RonaldoCristiano Ronaldo
4
FàbregasCesc Fàbregas (C)
8
AndersonAnderson
Substitution67
5
K. TouréKolo Touré
10
RooneyWayne Rooney
8
NasriSamir Nasri
15
VidićNemanja Vidić
14
WalcottTheo Walcott
Substitution71
16
CarrickMichael Carrick
17
SongAlex Song
22
O'SheaJohn O'Shea
Goal17
18
SilvestreMikaël Silvestre
24
D. FletcherDarren Fletcher
25
AdebayorEmmanuel Adebayor
Substitution83
32
TévezCarlos Tévez
Yellow Card33
Substitution67
40
GibbsKieran Gibbs

Substitutes

12
FosterBen Foster (GK)
21
FabiańskiŁukasz Fabiański (GK)
9
BerbatovDimitar Berbatov
Substitution67
9
EduardoEduardo
Substitution83
11
GiggsRyan Giggs
Substitution67
15
DenilsonDenilson
13
Park Ji-SungPark Ji-Sung
16
RamseyAaron Ramsey
18
ScholesPaul Scholes
20
DjourouJohan Djourou
21
RafaelRafael
26
BendtnerNicklas Bendtner
Substitution71
23
J. EvansJonny Evans
Substitution88
27
EbouéEmmanuel Eboué

Coach

Sir Alex Ferguson (SCO) Arsène Wenger (FRA)

Referee

Claus Bo Larsen (DEN)

Assistant referees

Henrik Sønderby (DEN), Anders Nørrestrand (DEN)

Fourth official

Peter Rasmussen (DEN)

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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