Champions League

Van Persie United's hero again

2012-10-02 22:55
Robin van Persie (AP)
Cluj-Napoca - Robin van Persie put the bite on Romanian minnows CFR Cluj in Transylvania as the Manchester United striker's double clinched a 2-1 win in Champions League Group H on Tuesday.

Alex Ferguson's side suffered an early fright in the region best known for providing the supposedly vampire-filled setting for Bram Stoker's Dracula.

But Pantelis Kapetanos's early goal for Cluj didn't suck the life out of United, who maintained their 100 percent start to this season's competition thanks to Van Persie's brace.

United were rarely at their best at the Dr Constantin Radulescu Stadium, but Cluj ultimately lacked the quality to take advantage and Ferguson should take heart from the way Van Persie and Wayne Rooney combined for both goals.

Ferguson's star strikers were starting together for the first time, with Javier Hernandez also included in an attacking line-up, as United looked to bounce back after Saturday's surprise 3-2 home defeat against Tottenham.

United's go for broke approach worked, but only after Cluj made a flying start.

The Romanian champions had won their opening game in Braga a fortnight ago thanks to two goals from Rafael Bastos and they showed no signs of being overawed by United in the early stages.

Ioan Andone's side gave a warning of their ability as Modou Sougou headed just wide from a Bastos corner.

United's defensive frailties have been clear for all to see this season, but it was still shocking to witness the ease with which Cluj
sliced through the visitors' rearguard to take the lead in the 14th minute.

When Bastos flighted a long pass over the head of Patrice Evra, the United left-back's lack of pace was brutally exposed as Sougou surged clear before drilling over a low cross.

Even then the danger could still have been averted but Jonny Evans had taken up a position too far from Kapetanos and the Greece forward took full advantage to sweep his shot past David de Gea.

Rooney led United's response and the England striker's snap-shot forced Cluj goalkeeper Mario Felgueras to concede a corner with a sprawling save.

Anderson flashed a powerful effort narrowly wide moments later and, with Cluj fading as an attacking threat after Sougou went off injured, United's pressure paid off with a 29th minute equaliser.

While United could claim their dominance at that point deserved a reward, the actual goal had more than a hint of good fortune about it as Van Persie mistimed his attempt to head goalwards from Rooney's free-kick, but still found the net as the
ball looped over Felgueras off the Dutch forward's shoulder.

Van Persie had a chance to strike again before the break but his shot was well blocked by Felgueras.

The former Arsenal star didn't have to wait long to notch his second of the night as United took the lead four minutes into the second half.

Van Persie's first had been a little fortuitous, but the second bore all the hallmarks of the Dutchman's sublime talent.

Rooney was the creator once more as his lofted pass picked out Van Persie's run and the United forward, noticing that Felgueras had advanced too far off his line, cleverly flicked the ball past the goalkeeper and into the unguarded net with the outside of his boot.

De Gea preserved United's advantage as he tipped over Cadu's powerful header from a Bastos cross.

Some Cluj fans took to directing green laser pens at United's players in a bid to distract them in the closing stages, but De Gea remained focused and produced an excellent stop to deny Bastos in stoppage-time.

Champions League results on Tuesday (Home teams listed first):

Group Stage

Group E

Juventus (Italy) 1, Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine) 1
Nordsjaelland (Denmark) 0, Chelsea (England) 4

Group F

Valencia (Spain) 2, Lille (France) 0
BATE Borisov (Belarus) 3, Bayern Munich (Germany) 1

Group G

Spartak Moscow (Russia) 2, Celtic (Scotland) 3
Benfica (Portugal) 0, Barcelona (Spain) 2

Group H

CFR Cluj (Romania) 1, Manchester United (England) 2
Galatasaray (Turkey) 0, Braga (Portugal) 2


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy 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
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

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
06 December 2016
FC Bayern München v Atlético de Madrid, Allianz Arena 21:45
Barcelona v Borussia Mönchengladbach, Camp Nou 21:45
Benfica v Napoli, Estadio da Luz 21:45
Manchester City v Celtic, Etihad Stadium 21:45
Dynamo Kyiv v Besiktas, Kiev Olympic Stadium 21:45
Paris Saint-Germain v Ludogorets Razgrad, Parc des Princes 21:45
PSV v FC Rostov, Philips Stadion 21:45
FC Basel v Arsenal, St Jakob-Park 21:45
07 December 2016
Bayer 04 Leverkusen v Monaco, BayArena 21:45
FC Porto v Leicester City, Estadio do Dragao 21:45
Club Brugge v FC København, Jan Breydelstadion 21:45
Juventus v Dinamo Zagreb, Juventus Stadium 21:45
Lyon v Sevilla, Parc OL 21:45
Legia Warsaw v Sporting Lisbon, Pepsi Arena 21:45
Real Madrid v Borussia Dortmund, Santiago Bernabeu 21:45
Tottenham Hotspur v CSKA Moscow, Wembley 21:45
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

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

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

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


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

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.