News24

Man United crash out of CL

2011-12-08 06:45

Basel - Manchester United crashed out of the Champions League at the group phase for only the third time in 16 years following a stunning 2-1 loss at Swiss champions Basel on Wednesday.

Six years to the day since they last bade farewell at the group stage, following a 2-1 loss at Benfica, last year's beaten finalists were undone by goals in each half from Marco Streller and Alexander Frei.

Despite needing just a point to go through from Group C, Sir Alex Ferguson's side fell to their first away defeat in the group phase in five years, but not before Phil Jones' late goal had given them a vain glimmer of hope.

"Of course we're disappointed, there's no other way you can feel," said a crestfallen Ferguson, whose side could now cross paths with arch-rivals Manchester City in the Europa League.

"It's part of football. You have to deal with the disappointment, and this club has used it as motivation many times.

"Our results in the last few years have been outstanding. It's a loss because it's the best tournament in the world. It's a marvellous tournament."

As United, who reached three of the last four finals, consider the unwelcome consolation of the Europa League Basel booked their place in the last 16 for the first time since 2002-03.

"It was a great campaign," beamed Basel coach Heiko Vogel, who only took over from Thorsten Fink in October. "Today(Thursday) was a final in itself, but we had to put in a lot of hard work to get there.

"It's a sensation, yes, because it's not every day you beat Manchester United. Altogether, it was wonderful."

The last time United wore white against a team sporting maroon and blue in European competition was in May's Champions League final defeat by Barcelona, but few can have predicted Wednesday's game would end with similar heartache.

Contrary to expectation, Ferguson chose to field Wayne Rooney as a lone striker and left Danny Welbeck on the bench, despite the absences through injury of both Javier Hernandez and Dimitar Berbatov.

Goalkeeper David de Gea also returned after being rested for the 1-0 win at Aston Villa, but his first contribution was an unconvincing punch and his second presented Basel with the opening goal.

A clash of heads between United defenders Nemanja Vidic and Chris Smalling left the latter on the turf, but play continued and when de Gea could only partially clear Xherdan Shaqiri's cross, Streller pounced to half-volley home.

United had started assertively but the goal cowed them and there were 20 aimless minutes until they fashioned a real chance, with Rooney and then Park Ji-Sung both unable to convert Nani's low cross from close range.

Rooney then shot straight at Yann Sommer from Ryan Giggs' intelligent reverse pass, before the 22-year-old goalkeeper saved bravely at the feet of Nani.

The visitors were building up a head of steam but shortly before half-time they received another setback when captain Vidic had to be stretchered off after his knee appeared to buckle in a challenge with Streller.

There was renewed purpose to the away side's play in the second half, however, and Rooney went close to an equaliser when he curled narrowly wide following another astute through-ball by Giggs.

Shaqiri gave a reminder of Basel's threat at the other end when he clipped a shot narrowly wide from the edge of the box and moments later de Gea had to produce a superb finger-tip save to keep out Frei's free-kick.

United roared back though and Marcus Steinhofer almost scored a famous own goal when he volleyed an attempted clearance against his own crossbar.

As the half wore on, Basel found it harder and harder to get out of their own half, with Rooney dragging wide after cutting in from the left and then bending the ball a couple of feet wide of the right-hand post.

The goal would not come, however, and with six minutes remaining, Frei dived to head home a cross from the excellent Shaqiri to send St Jakob-Park into raptures.

Jones scrambled in a consolation amid the game's dying embers, but it was too late to avert one of the most painful losses of the Ferguson era.

SAPA

Comments
  • Gunner - 2011-12-08 07:06

    Come on you Man U supporters, sing along.... SSMU, SSMU....SSMU AND THE REDS GO TUMBLING OUT....Good luck in the Europa league boys!!!

      Topsy - 2011-12-08 08:18

      i love how everyone was expecting the 'dream' city-united final. it will happen . . . in the europa league bwahahaha. the real dream final is barca madrid. cl final 2011, crystal palace, behind in the league, and gona get knocked out by city in fa cup-bacon face shouldv went out on a high couple seasons ago! cant wait for arsenal to draw barca again now haha. the top 2 teams in the epl knocked out proving that the epl sux! imagine if epl teams had zero foreign players, coaches and owners in their teams?

      HagenDan - 2011-12-08 09:38

      Um Topsy...where would Barcelona and Real Madrid be with zero foreign players and coaches? Know where Messi's from?

      Dhirshan - 2011-12-08 12:43

      @hagendan , 90% of players in barca + real are spanish. epl - 90% are foreign. barca coach is spanish too.

  • Shaun - 2011-12-08 07:10

    We will Rise and Sing Again....Its part of Football boys

  • juttunk - 2011-12-08 07:23

    If today Man U is out of the champion league its because of Alex Ferguson he should have take Sneider but he insist his young team can do well so now where is ur young team Mr Alex now hope u'll take him in January to win the Uefa and the premiership

      Brian - 2011-12-08 07:27

      You are dreaming. ManUre cannot win the premiership with teams like Man City which is technically vastly superior. I am not a ManUre fan, but I am beginning to like Funguson. He has lost it completely...still playing pensioners like Ferdinand and Giggs, and idiots like Evans, Carrick and Fletcher. He has great belief in the weakest team he has had in a decade! ManUre will not finish in the top 2 in the premiership!

  • Deon - 2011-12-08 07:24

    Sneider is cup tied!!

      Cyrus - 2011-12-08 15:23

      dont think it matters as Utd are out in anycase so he can play EPL.

  • Brent - 2011-12-08 07:29

    shame

  • phangolicious - 2011-12-08 07:51

    bathi "inxeba lenye indoda alihlekwa" kodwa this one I must really laugh at it ............ this marks the beginning of the down spiral Man U is about to experience for the rest of 2011/12 season .....

  • Tokollo - 2011-12-08 07:54

    Even champions have to experince defeats. Now we know our weakness and will bounce back, the league is a long way off....Manu United will raise again

  • motlogelwa - 2011-12-08 08:22

    things have not being goin ryt at old trafford in the last few weeks..i dnt realy knw wats goin on..if u look at yesterdy game we wre compeletely lost..just look at the highlights here http://tinyurl.com/6vrjzdu anyway man u 4 lyf

      Bob - 2011-12-08 10:29

      motlo the reason things have not been going right is purely down to your past it manager, he lost key class players like Scholes and Giggs and did nothing to replace them, the same in defence with Ferdinand, he needs to stay there and continue to mismanage so that my Gr8 Liverpool team will overtake them sooner rather than later.

  • Nathi - 2011-12-08 08:37

    Basel brush United aside-boom boom !!!!

  • m0ey1 - 2011-12-08 13:36

    what have become of man u?? the most well prepared unit of modern football looks to be crumbling. jus a few years back we hada Roy keane and paul scholes who dominated the midfied against any team now though we sucumb to seeing a teenage Phil Jones, a natuaral centre hback to fill that role, no offence jones has buckets of potential, but thiis just proves Sir Fergies desperation pull out your wallet, zip your mouth and buy us some quality!

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