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  • Tigeriban 6:47 am on September 21, 2010 Permalink | Reply

    Berbatov hat-trick gives United 3-2 win over Liverpool 

    MANCHESTER, Sept 19 — Dimitar Berbatov completed a brilliant hat-trick six minutes from time to give Manchester United a 3-2 win over Liverpool today after a Steven Gerrard double had seemed set to earn the visitors a draw.

    United were dominant for the first hour with two goals for the Bulgarian, but two strikes in six minutes by Gerrard had the hosts reeling.

    After late equalisers against Everton and Fulham cost them wins in earlier Premier League matches, United had time to find the winner today and Berbatov got his third goal with a powerful header.

    “I was saying to myself it’s going to be 10 but you end up 2-2; it was a travesty of a scoreline but a great result in the end,” manager Alex Ferguson told Sky Sports.

    “They didn’t offer anything really, Edwin (van der Sar) didn’t have a save to make, (Paul) Scholes controlled the centre of midfield… I couldn’t see us losing that game.”

    Despite their early dominance, United had to wait until the 42nd minute to find the net as Berbatov shook off a weak challenge from Fernando Torres to head in a Ryan Giggs corner.

    His second goal just before the hour was brilliantly executed as he brought down a cross on his thigh with his back to goal and scored with an overhead kick.

    Liverpool, who had offered nothing in attack, profited from a rash challenge on Torres which enabled Gerrard to pull one back from the spot after 64 minutes.

    Another unnecessary foul six minutes later gave Liverpool a free kick on the edge of the box which Gerrard curled through a disintegrating wall for the most unexpected of equalisers.

    United won back the lead six minutes from time when Berbatov timed his jump perfectly to head home a John O’Shea cross and score his seventh goal in six games this season.

    “There was a lot of criticism of him last year but this season he’s started off in the right fashion and he’s carried it along but there has never been any doubt about the quality of the man,” Ferguson said of the Bulgarian.

    The win takes United to 11 points, within one of leaders Chelsea, who were at home to Blackpool later today.

    Liverpool remain in the doldrums with five points from five games under new manager Roy Hodgson.

    “I thought our second-half performance was good and we deserved to get back in the game,” Hodgson said.

    “To concede late on was tough, especially with all three goals from crosses. But I thought we made a really good effort in the second half to get back in it.” — Reuters

  • Tigeriban 10:47 am on September 1, 2010 Permalink | Reply

    UEFA ban vuvuzelas from European competition 

    BERNE, Sept 1 — Vuvuzelas have been kicked out of European competition after UEFA said that the plastic trumpets drowned out supporters and detracted from the emotion of the game.

    The plastic horns became a hallmark of the World Cup in South Africa, producing a monotonous droning sound which provided a backdrop for every match.

    But they will not be allowed in stadiums in UEFA competitions such as the Champions League, Europa League and Euro 2012 qualifiers after UEFA’s ruling on Wednesday.

    “European football’s governing body has informed its 53 member associations that it has taken the move for reasons related to Europe’s football culture and tradition, saying that the atmosphere at matches would be changed by the sound of the vuvuzela,” said UEFA in a statement.

    “The World Cup was characterised by the vuvuzela’s widespread and permanent use in the stands,” it added.

    “In the specific context of South Africa, the vuvuzela adds a touch of local flavour and folklore, but UEFA feels that the instrument’s widespread use would not be appropriate in Europe, where a continuous loud background noise would be emphasised.”

    The statement then continued with a clear criticism of the controversial instrument.

    “The magic of football consists of the two-way exchange of emotions between the pitch and the stands, where the public can transmit a full range of feelings to the players.

    “However, UEFA is of the view that the vuvuzelas would completely change the atmosphere, drowning supporter emotions and detracting from the experience of the game.

    “To avoid the risk of these negative effects in the stadiums where UEFA competitions are played and to protect the culture and tradition of football in Europe — singing, chanting etc. — UEFA has decided with immediate effect that vuvuzelas will not be allowed in the stadiums where UEFA competitions matches are played. — Reuters

  • Tigeriban 1:18 pm on August 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply

    United 3 West Ham 0 

    United were just too good. The Reds dominated right from the start and West Ham’s futile resistance only lasted until the 33rd minute when Wayne Rooney opened his account for the season from the penalty spot. Goals of unquestionable class from Nani and Dimitar Berbatov followed after the break, sealing as convincing and comfortable a 3-0 win as you are ever likely to witness.

    Avram Grant’s side arrived at Old Trafford bottom of the table and without a win in their first two games – defeats to Aston Villa and Bolton Wanderers, which on both occasions saw them concede three goals. Their narrow 1-0 midweek win over Oxford offered some respite, but the second round of the League Cup is a far cry from Old Trafford, and the gulf in class was brutally apparent.

    However, United too had a point to prove – which Sir Alex’s men would do emphatically – after dropping two against Fulham last weekend. Sir Alex made three changes to the team that drew 2-2 at Craven Cottage. Rooney, who missed the Fulham trip with a stomach bug, replaced Javier Hernandez up front alongside Berbatov. Nani was drafted in for Antonio Valencia, while Ryan Giggs replaced Ji-sung Park.

    The autumnal weather in Manchester – a seemingly random mix of wind, sun and rain – left a slick surface which, as well as encouraging a few late sliding tackles from West Ham’s feistier players, allowed United’s rapid passing to blossom.

    Rooney registered the first effort on goal after 10 minutes, shuffling across the edge of the box to fire a low, skidding effort into Robert Green’s arms. United’s attacking play was full of intent with Rooney, Berbatov and Nani at the centre of it. The latter two men combined on 20 minutes for a move that should have yielded the first goal. Vidic’s long, diagonal ball forward picked out Berbatov in space. The Bulgarian – nonchalantly as is his way – flicked the ball back into the path of Nani, whose thunderous effort crashed off the crossbar via a vital fingertip save from Green.

    West Ham, for their part, offered energy and industry but little genuine quality. And after 33 minutes United finally took the lead from the penalty spot. Paul Scholes’ sumptuous pass picked out Ryan Giggs on the left and he befuddled former Red Jonathan Spector and was subsequently clumsily fouled by the American. After Nani’s miss last week at Fulham, and with United’s talisman back in the team, there was no doubting who would take this penalty. Rooney stepped up confidently, arced his run and sent Green the wrong way to give United a deserved lead.

    Clearly in the ascendancy the Reds went searching for a second before the break. Darren Fletcher forced another fine save from Green, this time with a curling effort from 25 yards that West Ham’s shot-stopper turned around the post. Then Berbatov fired over from six yards with a difficult shot on the bounce, while Nani also shot over the bar with a lob that required a far more delicate touch to beat the onrushing Green. United went in at the interval with a slender 1-0 lead; fully dominant thought not completely ruthless in front of goal.

    But there was no profligacy from Nani five minutes into the second half. The Portuguese winger cut inside from his station on the right, had defenders back-tracking and falling over their own feet, then struck a vicious left-footed shot past Green from 18 yards to make it 2-0.

    United’s football at times was sublime, the neat trickery and interchanging play between Berbatov and Nani in particular catching the eye. Admittedly, West Ham looked lost defensively. Kieron Dyer hit the outside of the Edwin van der Sar’s post after 55 minutes, but it says it all that the Hammers fans almost didn’t notice, they were preoccupied with entertaining themselves with their repertoire of songs.

    The Reds’ third goal was the best of the lot and came after 69 minutes, unsurprisingly with Nani and Berbatov combining to score it. Nani pitched up a cross to the far post and Berbatov waited unmarked before scissor-kicking the ball past Green. Technically wonderful, with pin-sharp precision, summing up the Bulgarian’s input all afternoon.

    With the points wrapped up, Sir Alex made a triple substitution with fifteen minutes to go. Chris Smalling came on for his home debut, replacing Jonny Evans; Michael Owen made his first appearance at OT since suffering an injury in February, in place of Berbatov; while Michael Carrick came on for the, once again, impressive Scholes. The Hammers fans’ joked “we’re going to win 4-3” and even resorted to pretending they’d scored four goals to clinch victory. There was no chance of that, of course, United were a class above Avram Grant’s side. And while performances like this indicate that the Reds will be challenging at the top end of the table this term, so too it suggests that West Ham will be scrapping at the exact opposite end of the table.

  • Tigeriban 2:41 am on August 23, 2010 Permalink | Reply

    Fulham 2 United 2 

    Despite twice taking the lead, through Paul Scholes’ 150th club goal and a Brede Hangeland own-goal, United were held to a frustrating draw at Craven Cottage.

    A bright start from the Reds was rewarded with a powerful long-range strike from veteran midfielder Scholes, but Fulham manfully rode out the storm, clawed their way back into the game and equalised when Simon Davies converted Damien Duff’s low cross.

    In a breathless finish to the afternoon, Hangeland struck twice from corners in the space of five minutes; first deflecting home Nani’s centre to put United back into the lead, then powerfully heading in a 90th-minute leveller for the hosts. Irritatingly for the Reds, the Norwegian’s pair bookended a crucial penalty miss by Nani.

    As Wayne Rooney was left in Manchester to recover from a virus, Sir Alex Ferguson retained a 4-4-2 formation, and paired Chicharito – making his first league start – with Dimitar Berbatov. The only other change from the side which overcame Newcastle was the introduction of Ji-sung Park, who took the place of Nani on the left wing.

    Even without injured goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer in goal, Fulham’s line-up – also 4-4-2 – appeared capable of taking points off United for a third successive year at Craven Cottage.

    The hosts were on the back foot early on as United popped passes around with conviction, but struggled to find a route through the Cottagers’ well-drilled defence. Park’s poke was deflected wide after nine minutes, however, signalling the onset of greater penetration. Moments later, only a fine reaction save from David Stockdale kept out Berbatov’s acrobatic volley, but the stand-in stopper was helpless to prevent United taking the lead from the ensuing corner.

    Antonio Valencia swapped passes with Park and fizzed a low cross into Berbatov. The Bulgarian’s controlled layoff to Scholes was inch-perfect, as the onrushing veteran arced a powerful 25-yard effort through a cluster of bodies and beyond Stockdale. Following on from magnificent play-making displays against Chelsea and Newcastle, Scholes’ landmark – and trademark – goal was yet further evidence of his enduring excellence.

    Fulham’s response was one of defiance, as Simon Davies hooked a volley just over Edwin van der Sar’s crossbar and Jonny Evans had to be alert to cut out Clint Dempsey’s through-ball for Bobby Zamora, but United’s play still carried a menacing edge. Berbatov slipped below the hosts’ radar time and again, dropping deep to collect and spread the ball, while Darren Fletcher governed central midfield with an all-action display. Stockdale was twice called into action by the Bulgarian, tipping away one powerful near-post effort and clutching a stinging 20-yarder into his midriff.

    Still Fulham chipped away at United, however, and it took a breathtaking double save from van der Sar to preserve parity. Dempsey’s fine through-ball found Dickson Etuhu, whose first shot was parried out by the Dutchman, while his second was incredibly clawed over by the grounded stopper.

    Fulham continued to enjoy the greater momentum of the rest of the first half, and drew level shortly after half-time. Damien Duff’s fine wingplay should have provided an equaliser for Aaron Hughes, who could only head off target, but the Republic of Ireland international soon got his reward. Patrice Evra was left in Duff’s wake by a neat piece of trickery on the right flank, and the winger sped towards goal before feeding Zamora. The latter’s tantalising pull back into the middle of the area allowed Davies to slot home.

    The goal was fully merited for Fulham’s spirited, controlled display after a shaky start, and it was no surprise that both teams harboured hopes of victory in the remainder of the second half. It was United who came closest to doing so, as Chicharito fired over from 20 yards and a Berbatov header deflected off Scholes to Stockdale. Nani, Ryan Giggs and Michael Owen all entered the fray, replacing Park, Valencia and Chicharito, and Nani soon went close with a free-kick at the edge of the area.

    Nemanja Vidic headed Giggs’ corner narrowly wide as United cranked up the pressure, but a collective lapse in concentration allowed Zamora to fire wastefully wide when a square ball to Etuhu would have given the midfielder a simple conversion.

    Soon enough a white-clad player was on target, but at the wrong end. As the Reds turned the screw, Nani’s corner landed amid a cluster of bodies, struck Hangeland on the knee and ricocheted between Stockdale and substitute Jonathan Greening on the line.

    If Fulham’s sense of injustice was provoked by the slapstick nature of their concession, it was heightened further when, moments later, Duff was harshly penalised for handball. Handed the chance to wrap up an enthralling game, Nani stepped up but incredibly, Stockdale plunged to his right, palmed the penalty away and kept Fulham’s hopes alive. The importance of that passage of play materialised in the final minute of normal time. The Cottagers equalised for a second time, as Duff’s floated corner was emphatically headed home by Hangeland to cancel out his earlier mistake.

    Fulham’s spirit was worth a share of the spoils, but Sir Alex and his players will share seething frustration at having twice surrendered the lead, and passed up a glorious chance to seal the points.

    SM: Nasib baik tidak kalah…asal seri jak

  • Tigeriban 5:39 am on August 18, 2010 Permalink | Reply

    United 3 Newcastle 0 

    The Reds’ quest to regain the Barclays Premier League title began at Old Trafford on Monday night with a commanding win over newly-promoted Newcastle United.

    Goals from Dimitar Berbatov and Darren Fletcher gave the home side a deserved lead at the break before substitute Ryan Giggs volleyed home a third to underline United’s dominance. By then, though, it was all academic: the result never looked in doubt against a Magpies outfit that struggled to take flight, despite an encouraging opening 10 minutes.

    Before kick-off there was greater-than-usual anticipation in the pre-match television build-up, as fans waited to see what sort of side Sir Alex would name for this season opener. It soon transpired there was no room for the summer signings, as both Chris Smalling and Javier Hernandez started on the bench. Berbatov and Wayne Rooney were given the nod to lead the attack, while Patrice Evra, despite not featuring in any of United’s pre-season preparations, took up his familiar left-back position.

    Fletcher and Paul Scholes, the latter taking part in his 15th consecutive opening-day fixture, were charged with bossing the centre of midfield and in former Red Alan Smith and tough-tackling Joey Barton found themselves up against formidable and physical foes.

    The Magpies endured the expected early spell of sustained Reds pressure, but it was Chris Hughton’s side who fashioned the game’s first real opportunity. Andy Carroll had done well to win a corner off Vidic and it was the young centre-forward who rose highest to meet Joey Barton’s corner on 10 minutes; he’ll certainly feel he should have done better than head wide from six yards out.

    At the other end, Sir Alex’s men were restricted to speculative shots from distance. Smith bravely blocked from O’Shea while neither Nani nor Rooney could bend free-kicks around the Newcastle wall. Worryingly for the vocal visiting support, though, Newcastle’s stubborn defending appeared to be accompanied by a desire to self-destruct, as James Perch and Fabricio Coloccini both gifted possession to the Reds in dangerous areas of the pitch. But Sir Alex’s men did themselves no favours, either: Scholes, masterful for most of the night, uncharacteristically picked the wrong pass when United had the Magpies on the back foot before Rooney unwittingly nicked a volley off Berbatov’s toes and then blasted over from 12 yards.

    United’s perseverance and patience paid off on 33 minutes, though, when Berbatov latched onto Scholes’ pass to fire the Reds into the lead. Jose Enrique managed the merest of touches on Scholes’ defence-splitting ball but couldn’t divert it away from Berbatov, who finished low and hard into the far corner.

    The visitors hinted at an immediate equaliser but United soon took the reins again, monopolising possession and asserting dominance. And it wasn’t long before the second goal arrived. Good link-up play from Nani and Evra on the left flank released the Frenchman into the penalty area. From there, his drilled cross bounced off Rooney and up, tantalisingly, for Fletcher to hit on the spin and send the Reds into the break with a deserved two-goal cushion.

    The interval provided welcome respite for the visitors, but within minutes of the restart Sir Alex’s men were terrorising the Newcastle back four again. In fact, the hosts could easily have been four goals to the good by the hour mark. Scholes was denied what looked a decent shout for a penalty under a rash challenge by Coloccini before a delicious move involving five one-touch passes ended with Berbatov poking the ball just wide of Steve Harper’s left-hand upright.

    Rooney’s frustrating evening – little came off for the England striker, who’s still without a club goal since March – came to an end on 63 minutes when Sir Alex introduced Javier Hernandez for his Old Trafford bow. The 22-year-old’s every touch was cheered by the home crowd and Scholes and Nani wasted no time in playing balls in behind the Newcastle defence for the speedy Mexican to chase.

    Berbatov thrice produced clever skill close to goal that was exciting yet ultimately fruitless, while Newcastle substitute Shola Ameobi came closest for the visitors in the second half when he headed Barton’s corner well wide of the mark on 80 minutes.

    In truth, though, the contest had been over after 45 minutes. It was clear then where the three points were heading; Ryan Giggs’ superb third – a volley with the outside of the foot after he’d been picked out by Scholes (who else?) at the back post – was little more than icing on the cake.

    SM: Well done again Man Utd

  • Tigeriban 7:04 am on August 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply

    Good Start Man Utd 

    LONDON: Manchester United dominated a stuttering Chelsea to claim a deserved 3-1 victory over last season’s Premier League and FA Cup Double winners in a lively Community Shield season curtain-raiser at Wembley on Sunday.Goals from Antonio Valencia after 41 minutes and Javier Hernandez’s first for his new club after 76 minutes gave United control in the third Shield match between English football’s current “big two” in the last four seasons.

    Dimitar Berbatov, on as a late substitute, lobbed in United’s third in stoppage time after a clever ball from Nani which summed up United’s slicker passing and movement with the start of the new Premier League campaign six days away.

    Salomon Kalou had pulled one back for Chelsea six minutes from time when Edwin van der Sar, outstanding after a shaky start, could only parry a shot from Daniel Sturridge during a late rally by the champions who have now lost five of their seven pre-season games.

    The Community Shield is rarely a pointer to the battles to come over the next nine months but is always a game the competing managers want to win and Sunday’s victory gave United manager Alex Ferguson the 45th trophy of his managerial career — the 35th he has brought to United at the start of his 25th season as their manager.

    The other winners on the day were the Wembley groundstaff who appear to have solved the pitch problems that have dogged the stadium since it re-opened in 2007.

    Unusually neither team fielded any new signings at kick-off, with Chelsea’s main summer import Yossi Benayoun and United’s Mexican striker Hernandez both on the bench.

    While the players were all totally familiar to the fans, some were less popular than others and four of the England squad who flopped at the World Cup – Chelsea’s John Terry, Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard and United’s Wayne Rooney — were jeered and booed by opposing fans in the early stages.

    The booing subsided after a while — apart from those directed at the always unpopular Cole — because United’s fans began to have something to cheer about as Paul Scholes dominated in midfield and, along with Ji-Sung Park, helped United take control.

    Scholes should have done better with a skied shot after nine minutes and Rooney went close before setting up their opener after a superb pass from Scholes four minutes before the break.

    Valencia took the chance excellently but there was little joy for Michael Owen, back at Wembley for the first time since he seriously injured his hamstring there in the League Cup final in February.

    Ferguson replaced Owen and Rooney at halftime as promised, with United fans getting their first glimpse of Hernandez, the 22-year-old Mexican striker tipped as a United star of the future.

    He did not disappoint either, doubling the score with a bizarre finish as he met a low cross and sent it into the net via his foot and face.

    Chelsea rallied in the closing stages after Sturridge and Didier Drogba came on but the champions, who beat United on penalties to lift the Community Shield last season, failed to impress.

    Coach Carlo Ancelotti will want to see them sharpen up next week before they began the defence of their title against West Bromwich Albion. — Reuters

    Extract from Borneo Post 10.08.2010

    SM-Well done Man Utd!!! Good Job… I know you can beat Chelsea and gain first trophy in EPL. Bravo…Sorry Chelsea fan :p

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