Champions League

Brave Cluj stun Man United

2012-12-06 07:03
Luis Alberto, right (AFP)

Manchester - CFR Cluj's bid to become the first Romanian side to qualify for the Champions League knockout stages ended on Wednesday despite a famous 1-0 upset win over Premier League leaders Manchester United.

Brazilian Luis Alberto struck an unstoppable swerving shot after 56 minutes to condemn a second-string United to their first home loss in Europe's elite competition since 2009, but Galatasaray's 2-1 win at Braga put the Turkish side through.

Cluj finished Group H level on 10 points with Galatasaray, behind winners United on 12, but the Romanians lost out on head-to-head record and have the Europa League as consolation.

Steaua Bucharest, the 1986 winners, reached the final of Europe's elite club competition in 1989, but no Romanian club has reached the knockout stages of the Champions League since it was formed in the 1992-93 season.

Cluj, making their third Champions League appearance after group stage outings in 2010-11 and 2008-09, survived pressure from the home team in the first half when goalkeeper Mario Felgueiras denied Tom Cleverley and Wayne Rooney.

Felgueiras also repelled a Danny Welbeck header as United looked to grab the advantage.

However, it was Luis Alberto's moment of genius in the second half that stole the show for the visitors in a largely dour affair, inflicting a first home defeat on United since they lost to Besiktas in November 2009.

"It's a fantastic goal they scored to beat us," United manager Alex Ferguson told the club's website (www.manutd.com) of the superb strike past goalkeeper David de Gea.

"He bent it away from David, who had no chance with it. It was just one of those nights. We didn't take our chances," added Ferguson, unfazed by two straight Champions League defeats after his side were assured of qualification by winning their first four games.

"We qualified early and after that we experimented. That will hold us in good stead for the next phase," the Scot told Sky Sports, adding that midfielder Cleverley had picked up a calf injury at the end of the first half.

United's last-16 opponents will be known when the draw is made on Dec. 20, with Ferguson's men due to face one of the group runners-up.

Nine-times European champions Real Madrid, seven-times winners AC Milan, 1987 and 2004 champions Porto, twice finalists Valencia, 2009 UEFA Cup winners Shakhtar Donetsk or Scotland's Celtic await.

Cluj head into uncharted waters when they resume European competition in the Europa League last 32 in February, their first taste of continental action after Christmas, though coach Paulo Sergio said his team were upset not to have qualified.

"We played very, very well. Our game went as we had worked for and expected, and we did not allow Manchester United to impose their style of play," he told UEFA's website (www.uefa.com).

"The players are sad now, but they have to be proud, because it is not common to win at Old Trafford," added Sergio, who replaced Ioan Andone in October, midway through the Romanian champions' group-stage campaign.

Read more on:    champions league  |  soccer
NEXT ON SPORT24X

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Fixtures
18 October 2016
CSKA Moscow v Monaco, Arena CSKA 20:45
Bayer 04 Leverkusen v Tottenham Hotspur, BayArena 20:45
Sporting Lisbon v Borussia Dortmund, Estadio Jose Alvalade 20:45
Club Brugge v FC Porto, Jan Breydelstadion 20:45
Leicester City v FC København, King Power Stadium 20:45
Dinamo Zagreb v Sevilla, Maksimir 20:45
Lyon v Juventus, Parc OL 20:45
Real Madrid v Legia Warsaw, Santiago Bernabeu 20:45
19 October 2016
FC Bayern München v PSV, Allianz Arena 20:45
Barcelona v Manchester City, Camp Nou 20:45
Celtic v Borussia Mönchengladbach, Celtic Park 20:45
Arsenal v Ludogorets Razgrad, Emirates Stadium 20:45
Dynamo Kyiv v Benfica, Kiev Olympic Stadium 20:45
FC Rostov v Atlético de Madrid, Olimp-2 Stadium 20:45
Paris Saint-Germain v FC Basel, Parc des Princes 20:45
Napoli v Besiktas, San Paolo 20:45
01 November 2016
Besiktas v Napoli, Vodafone Arena 19:45
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Celtic, Borussia-Park 21:45
Benfica v Dynamo Kyiv, Estadio da Luz 21:45
Manchester City v Barcelona, Etihad Stadium 21:45
PSV v FC Bayern München, Philips Stadion 21:45
FC Basel v Paris Saint-Germain, St Jakob-Park 21:45
Ludogorets Razgrad v Arsenal, Vasil Levski National Stadium 21:45
Atlético de Madrid v FC Rostov, Vicente Calderon 21:45
02 November 2016
FC Porto v Club Brugge, Estadio do Dragao 21:45
Juventus v Lyon, Juventus Stadium 21:45
FC København v Leicester City, Parken Stadion 21:45
Legia Warsaw v Real Madrid, Pepsi Arena 21:45
Sevilla v Dinamo Zagreb, Ramon-Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v Sporting Lisbon, Signal Iduna Park 21:45
Monaco v CSKA Moscow, Stade Louis II 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Wembley 21:45
22 November 2016
CSKA Moscow v Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Arena CSKA 19:00
Sporting Lisbon v Real Madrid, Estadio Jose Alvalade 21:45
Leicester City v Club Brugge, King Power Stadium 21:45
Dinamo Zagreb v Lyon, Maksimir 21:45
FC København v FC Porto, Parken Stadion 21:45
Sevilla v Juventus, Ramon-Sanchez Pizjuan 21:45
Borussia Dortmund v Legia Warsaw, Signal Iduna Park 21:45
Monaco v Tottenham Hotspur, Stade Louis II 21:45
23 November 2016
FC Rostov v FC Bayern München, Olimp-2 Stadium 19:00
Besiktas v Benfica, Vodafone Arena 19:45
Borussia Mönchengladbach v Manchester City, Borussia-Park 21:45
Celtic v Barcelona, Celtic Park 21:45
Arsenal v Paris Saint-Germain, Emirates Stadium 21:45
Napoli v Dynamo Kyiv, San Paolo 21:45
Ludogorets Razgrad v FC Basel, Vasil Levski National Stadium 21:45
Atlético de Madrid v PSV, Vicente Calderon 21:45
Logs
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Who will be the 2015/16 Champions League top scorer?

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

Big month in the world of golf as the FedEx Cup concludes on the PGA Tour, the Race to Dubai gathers steam on the European Tour and the Sunshine Tour offers local golfers the chance to bank some cash. Oh, and not forgetting the USA v Europe Ryder Cup showdown at Hazeltine!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.