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Nani strike ensures United beat Bursaspor

Manchester United FC 1-0 Bursaspor
Nani's long-range goal on seven minutes proved sufficient for United to move two points clear in Group C despite a brave Bursaspor effort.

Nani strike ensures United beat Bursaspor
Nani strike ensures United beat Bursaspor ©UEFA.com

Nani's early strike was enough to earn Manchester United FC a narrow, if comfortable, victory over Bursaspor and move them two points clear of Rangers FC at the top of UEFA Champions League Group C.

The Portugal winger settled the match with a superb seventh-minute strike, curled past Dimitar Ivankov from 25 metres. United never looked like relinquishing their advantage against opponents who, without a single attempt on target until Gustav Svensson's in the 90th minute, are still seeking their first point and goal in the UEFA Champions League.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, writing in his programme notes, had asked his players to "take control of our group" by beating the Turkish champions. They duly obliged with their second successive 1-0 win in the section to give Sir Alex a victory on his 2,000th match in management – and perhaps something to smile about during a difficult week that has brought the bad news that Wayne Rooney wants away from Old Trafford.

Federico Macheda, on his first start in this season's competition in place of Dimitar Berbatov, drew an early near-post stop from Ivankov after being fed by Anderson but if that was a warning to the visitors they did not heed it as Nani struck in spectacular fashion. Having collected Darren Fletcher's short pass out on the right, he span away from Ömer Erdoğan before cutting infield and arrowing a left-foot shot beyond Ivankov's outstretched arms.

Bursaspor remained on the back foot and survived a scare when Nemanja Vidić nodded wide from a corner. Yet they raised the hopes of their noisy band of 600 or so supporters in the South Stand when Michael Carrick played a careless pass backwards and Vidić lost out to Ozan İpek in the centre of the pitch. The Bursaspor wide man headed for the penalty box but Rafael got back to deny him with a superb challenge before he could shoot.

Bursaspor coach Ertuğrul Sağlam made two changes at the break, sending on Turgay Bahadır for Sercan Yıldırım up front and replacing Milan Stepanov with İbrahim Öztürk at the back. Yet United remained in control, albeit not at their incisive best, evidenced when Anderson twice put a touch too much weight on through balls to Park Ji-Sung.

As the clock ticked down substitute Gabriel Obertan tried to inject some life into proceedings, winning a corner with some fancy footwork and heading the ensuing flag-kick against the near post. His fellow substitute Javier Hernández went close too, shooting wide with just Ivankov to beat, but one goal was enough and United have a cushion to take to Turkey on 2 November.

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