Manchester United 3 v 0 Dinamo Bucharest

Old Trafford, Manchester
25th August 2004

Manchester United showed majestic form as they swept Dinamo Bucharest away in the qualifying round of the Champions League. Their victory means that they are entered into the Champions League proper, and, given their record in the Champs League over the past ten years, United will be one of the top seeds for the draw!

Dinamo arrived at Old Trafford amid a club-crisis - the players were on strike just days before the big game, in protest against the lack of a summer (out of season) holiday they had been given. The chairman had just about managed to persuade them to play by slashing the amount he was fining them for not turning up to training! But if you fail to prepare against Manchester United, you will be easily defeated.

The game started slowly, and though United created many chances in the first half, there were no goals. Sir Alex had chosen to rest several key players, and had given starting spots to Kleberson and youngsters Johnathon Spector and Chris Eagles.

After a tense half-time break - and no doubt a good ticking-off from Sir Alex - United emerged a more clinical and potent side. Just two minutes after the break Ronaldo won a free-kick on the edge of the Dinamo area. Kleberson took the free-kick and lofted the ball into the box with pace and power. The ball somehow missed all the United players in the box, but hit off the leg of a Dinamo defender at the back post. The ball rebounded to the front post, where a grateful Alan Smith tapped the ball into the net. Smith was stood in an offside position, but since the ball had been played to him by a defender, he was not offside, and the goal stood.

Smith scored again just minutes later. This time a Gary Neville cross found the former-Leeds-United player ten yards out from goal. Smith saw the ball off by lashing it into the top corner of the net, and securing victory for United (and earning them £20m of revenue for qualifying for the Champs League.

Smith was taken off to a standing ovation once the game had been won. He has already found a place in the hearts of the United fans - he is a true superstar. His replacement was Bellion, who scored his second in as many games when he pounced onto a mis-controlled ball, and hammered it into the bottom corner of the Dinamo net.

Ronaldo put in another impeccable performance, with tricks anmd mesmerising runs galore. He played a key role in many of the goals, and has already struck up a great relationship with Smith - see the pictures below!

The team played the spirit of Manchester United, and got an excellent result.

Man Utd: Howard, Gary Neville (Phil Neville 55), Spector, Silvestre, O'Shea, Eagles, Kleberson, Djemba-Djemba, Fletcher, Ronaldo (Richardson 64), Smith (Bellion 63).

Subs Not Used: Saha, Giggs, Carroll, Scholes.

Booked: Eagles.

Goals: Smith 47, 50, Bellion 70.

Dinamo Bucharest: Cristian Munteanu, Irimia, Iordache, Galamaz, Semeghin, Petre (Balan 67), Margaritescu, Naidin, Grigorie (Pacurar 45), Danciulescu, Niculescu (Serban 80).
Subs Not Used: Hayeu, Ciobotariu, Baltoi, Goian.

Booked: Galamaz.

Att: 61,041

Ref: Markus Merk (Germany).