Champions League

United out to cement top spot

2012-11-06 18:26
Alex Ferguson (File)

Braga, Portugal - After exiting the Champions League in the group stage last season, Manchester United can secure a berth in the knockout stages with two games to spare when they take on Braga on Wednesday.

Alex Ferguson's team have three wins from three and are top of Group H. A win or even a draw in northern Portugal could be enough to put the Red Devils into the knockout stage.

"With nine points from the first three games we really should be kicking on and make sure we confirm the No 1 spot. That's the important thing," said Ferguson, who on Tuesday marked 26 years at the team's helm. "It's always good to win your group."

He believed United's improved run in Europe this season was down to wiser selections.

"After the experience of last season, we're showing that we're paying more attention to team selection in the sense that we've used a big proportion of experienced players," he said.

Braga have only one win and three points so far but will be no pushover. The Portuguese team took a 2-0 lead at Old Trafford before losing 3-2 in the last round. Braga also have a strong home record against English clubs, having in the past five years beaten Arsenal and Liverpool.

Recent wins over close rivals Chelsea and Arsenal have sent United to the top of the English Premier League, with summer signing Robin van Persie in sharp form in a partnership with Wayne Rooney that has brought him 10 goals in 13 games.

"He's been doing well for us, he's a natural-born goal-scorer and long may it continue that he keeps scoring the goals," Rio Ferdinand said of the former Arsenal striker.

United's defence, though, is weakened by injuries to Nemanja Vidic, Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, leaving Ferdinand, who turns 34 on match day, to anchor the back line.

That could be a tough task as Brazilian striker Alan, who netted both of Braga's goals at Old Trafford, is set to lead the home team's attack.

Leandro Salino, Ruben Micael, Eder and Ruben Amorim are also likely to return after being rested in Braga's 3-1 Portuguese win over Gil Vicente last weekend. Amorim is expected to be deployed on the left side of midfield to stop United right back Rafael pushing forward.

United are three-time European champions, while Braga are appearing in the competition for only the second time.

Cluj, who lie second in the group with four points, host bottom club Galatasaray in the other game. The Turkish club, who have one point, haven't won away in the competition for 10 years.

NEXT ON SPORT24X

Everton set to sign Besic

2014-07-24 21:38

 

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
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
  • SS3
    Thu, 24 Jul 2014 @
    04:00
  • SS4:
    Thu, 24 Jul 2014 @
    05:00
  • SS5:
    Thu, 24 Jul 2014 @
    06:00
  • Blitz
    Thu, 24 Jul 2014 @
    07:00
Sport Talk

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

Which team will win the 2013/14 Champions League title?

 
 
Featured Blog

Dave ask if you would like to meet your local sports heroes and stand the chance to win prizes to the value of over R40 000.

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

TV schedule Plan your couch time with our searchable sport TV guide

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

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