Manchester United 2 - 1 Olympique Lyonnais
Tuesday 23 November
United maintained their good recent form with a good performance against french outfit Olympique Lyonnais. The victory at home came after a win at the weekend against Charlton, and may well be the start of a long run of good results for the Reds.
Qualification for the Champions League Knock-out stages was guaranteed, meaning that the torturous journey to the Turkish fortress at Fenerbache, in Istanbul, is meaningless.
The first goal came from an unlikely source, with Gary neville, who was later injured and substituted, running up into the box to smash home a volley after a scrappy goal-mouth scramble.
We could have been up inside the first four minutes, with Van Nistelrooy firing dangerously close, although just wide of the post.
Ronaldo was allowed space to dance down the touchline, and it was his vision, pace and trickery that set up the first - he was involved in the build up with a good one-two wth Smith before the ball was whipped into the dangerzone.
Fergie's 1000th game in charge was all going to plan, a goal after 18 minutes and some strong possessional play made it look as though the game was already dead and buried just a quarter of the way in.
Roy Carroll had other ideas, however. A speculative long shot from Diarra was pushed feebly into his own net by the disasterous Carroll, almost Taibi-esque. Carroll could shout at no-one as the French team celebrated their equaliser in front of the travelling fans.
Half-time came and went, with Rooney missing two good chances to regain the lead.
Fergie was getting tetchy, with Smith warming up on the sidelines, when the crucial goal came. Ferdinand, who had stayed up after a corner, crossed the ball towards the back-post, when Van Nistelrooy was waiting. His simple bullet-header from two-yards out beat the 'keeper and sent the fans wild - whilst he pointed over towards the bench, dedicatng the goal to his manager - the longest-serving in Europe.
The final whistle went, and United will be hoping for more games lke these to get them through to the European Cup Final.
Man Utd: Carroll, Gary Neville (Brown 45), Ferdinand, Silvestre, Heinze, Smith, Keane (Fortune 90), Scholes, Ronaldo, Rooney, van Nistelrooy (Fletcher 71).
Subs Not Used: Howard, Bellion, Djemba-Djemba, O'Shea.
Goals: Gary Neville 19, Van Nistelrooy 53.
Lyon: Puydebois, Reveillere, Diatta, Cris, Berthold, Diarra, Essien, Juninho, Govou (Wiltord 60), Frau (Bergougnoux 72), Nilmar (Malouda 72). Subs Not Used: Jaccard, Clement, Gomez, Hima.
Goals: Diarra 40.
Ref: Kim Nielsen (Denmark).