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United find reasons to be cheerful as treble omens bode well
FA Cup replays are meant to clog the arteries but, all things considered, Manchester United left Teesside in apparently good heart on Saturday night. Sir Alex Ferguson’s team may have just witnessed the final participation of Henrik Larsson replica prada bags, and been grateful to a harsh-but-fair refereeing decision Authentic Prada Messenger Bag For Sale for Cristiano Ronaldo’s equalising penalty-kick, but United’s sudden burst of injuries may not be as serious as first thought. Besides, any team would take a replay Bicester Village Prada Store Number over a defeat, especially with a potential treble on the table.
The undoubted anticipation Authentic Prada Fairy Bag For Sale of Amazon Uk Prada Bags walking out at the new Wembley even infects the head of a supposed unromantic such as Ferguson, but there was another reason for the Scot to be cheerful as he left the Riverside. An extra fixture may be unwanted in the scheme of the season but as Ferguson calculates the need for a further 18-21 points to win a first Premiership in four years, the Middlesbrough replay next Monday means that Paul Scholes will return from suspension one match earlier in the league.
Scholes can now play against Blackburn Authentic Prada Bag For Sale Philippines Rovers at Old Trafford on the last day of the month. He will miss Saturday’s home game with Bolton Wanderers but the two Boro fixtures mean that Sam Allardyce’s side will be only 90 Premiership minutes without Scholes. That came on top of Friday’s news from Ferguson that the injuries to the strikers Louis Saha and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer were not as bad as feared and they, too, will be ready for Blackburn.
Their return will offset Larsson’s, to Helsingborg, and the knock-on effect is that there will not be an over-reliance on Alan Smith. Without a Premiership start for 13 months, Smith was beginning to assume a grand role in a United run-in that will take in 18 more matches if European and FA Cup finals are reached.
Now, however, Smith may be required to lead the line only against Bolton and then Boro. Even then Ferguson may plump for other options. Here, as against Lille, he had three men deployed behind Larsson, whose sheer work-rate led to him occupying the entire Middlesbrough back four in the first half.
Tactically United were one up, emotionally their players were seizing the moment. Ryan Giggs was playing in the middle and the simplicity of his exquisite first touch poses complications for any opposition. It was a pass from Giggs that fed Wayne Rooney to open the scoring on 23 minutes, though overall Rooney was again a subdued presence. Fortunately for United Ronaldo was Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Outlet Online not.
But this is a growing Boro side. Southgate admitted to his defence’s stand-offish behaviour, which facilitated United’s early dominance, but even then Stewart Downing and Yakubu Ayegbeni forced Tomasz Kuszczak into two fine saves.
Giggs struck a post in the 37th minute but the excellent Julio Arca won a brave header just before half-time after Kuszczak had clumped away a Downing cross. Lee Cattermole controlled Arca’s header, then speared a volley into Agata Ruiz De La Prada Shop On Line the top corner.
Less than two minutes after the interval the Riverside roared again, George Boateng peeling away unmarked at a Authentic Prada Handbags Canada corner to butt in Boro’s second. United’s treble was slowly shrinking to a double but then came Giggs’s 68th-minute corner, Rio Ferdinand’s headed flick and Boateng’s raised arms. Rob Styles’s whistle blew instantly and while Boateng’s action was accidental, you could understand Styles’s.
Ronaldo, whose eager tumble here in December brought a controversial penalty, Authentic Prada Handbags Outlet Uk drilled this one past Mark Schwarzer. There was still time for Stuart Parnaby to worry Authentic Prada Wallet For Sale Philippines Kuszczak with a snapshot and for Middlesbrough to reinforce the opinion that they could yet provide one of the highest hurdles for United – Boro also go to Old Trafford in the league.
“They had the momentum to come back and make it really hard,” said Michael Carrick. “But the spirit here is unbelievable. You don’t become a great team by playing pretty football and winning well every week. You have to grind out results and show character.”
It was a faint echo of a line from Ferguson’s autobiography: “Tactics are important but they don’t win football matches. Men win football matches.” It was a passage about the treble, which included a 33-game unbeaten run, climaxing in Barcelona in 1999 with the dramatic win against Bayern Munich, but starting after a defeat by Middlesbrough at Old Trafford.
Man of the match Julio Arca
The Argentinian has blossomed in his midfield role at Middlesbrough. He has great technique, vision and willingness. It is a winning combination.
Best Moment Could have been one of his dispossessing tackles on Ronaldo, but the eighth-minute pass to Downing, inside Gary Neville, was beautiful