Saturday, 27 September 2008

Manchester United vs Bolton 2-0, EPL 2008, week 6

Ro and Roon Score for The Red Devil

Cristiano Ronaldo marked his return to the Manchester United first-team with a goal-scoring performance, although there were some doubts about the legitimacy of the awarded penalty kick that gave his side the lead.

Jlloyd Samuel appeared to play the ball as Ronaldo attacked him in the box, but the Portuguese fell under pressure from the Bolton defender.

Ronaldo dusted himself down and converted the kick to break stubborn Trotters resistence as Rob Styles made a debateable call from Bolton's perspective.

To that point, the guests' 4-5-1 had stifled United's quest for a goal, with the first half's best opportunity going to Fabrice Muamba of Bolton. The England under-21 international somehow fired of-target with the goal at his mercy.

Alex Ferguson's side enjoyed the lion's share of the chances in the opening period, but could not force the Bolton door down with Jussi Jaaskelainen in tremendous form in goal.

He saved smartly from Dimitar Berbatov, Ronaldo and Anderson in the first half to shut out the Champions, but was helpess to prevent the opener from the spot in the second.

Wayne Rooney, introduced as a substitute, put the result beyond reasonable doubt when he added a second goal to hand United a two-goal advantage.

Bolton will no doubt feel hard-done-by as a result of the contentious nature of the opener, but on weight of chances, United deserved the win - by hook or by crook.

First Half:

Cristiano Ronaldo made his first Premier League start of the season when Manchester United welcomed Bolton Wanderers to Old Trafford this afternoon.

Wayne Rooney was relegated to the bench as Carlos Tevez and Dimitar Berbatov started up front for the Red Devils.

Kevin Davies was shunted to the right side of a 4-5-1, as Johan Elmander was accommodated as the lone striker for the guests.

Bolton started strongly, with Ricardo Gardner and Kevin Nolan going close with long range strikes early on.

Kevin Davies then bought a corner from Patrice Evra, from which Elmander directed a header over the bar.

The visitors maintained the pressure through the opening stages; United however, managed to get their first meaningful effort of the encounter in the tenth minute through Cristiano Ronaldo, and forced a wasted corner.

The same player went close with a drive three minutes later after a combination between Anderson and Berbatov on the edge of the box, but Bolton held firm.

The hosts gradually found their way on top and ratcheted up the pressure on the Trotters with Jaaskelainen having to save smartly from a Berbatov header on the quarter hour mark.

Park Ji Sung should have put his side in the lead seconds later after Jaaskelainen spilled a Tevez shot. However, the Korean could only fire wide.

Patrice Evra was finding some space down the left flank but his crosses were invariably blocked out by the man-heavy Bolton backline.

Ronaldo went close again on the 25 minute mark with a free-kick from the edge of the area; however, his effort was well fielded by Jaaskelainen.

As Bolton sunk under the weight of United pressure, Anderson delivered a corner for Nemanja Vidic but United’s woes in front of goal continued as the Serbian could only head over.

The visitors threatened to take advantage of United’s poor shooting through Kevin Nolan on the half hour after Vidic’s header found only Garnder who prompted his captain to fire over the bar.

After Ronaldo wasted another free-kick, Anderson tested the impressive Jaaskelainen’s reflexes with a long-range drive that was tipped over.

Untied continued their strong showing as a Berbatov lay-off found Rio Ferdinand whose effort was repelled by the Finn again.

However, the best chance of the half fell to Fabrice Muamba of Wanderers. The midfielder had the goal at his mercy from eight yards but contrived to put the chance off target as the sides went in level.

Second Half:

The guests once again started brightly from the whistle, and Ricardo Gardner going close in the 48th minute. United replied through the menacing Ronaldo, whose low drive struck the post as Jaaskelainen was beaten.

The winger was in fine form, as he won a corner through a shot following a United breakout in the 55th minute.

Gretar Steinsson was to be the hero for Wanderers on the hour; Ronaldo’s drive was goal bound before the Icelandic international put himself in the way.

The game’s true turning point came just moments later with the award of Ronaldo’s penalty. Despite Jlloyd Samuel winning the ball in the box, Ronaldo went down under the slight weight of the challenge and earned a dubious spot-kick. He converted smartly to give his side a debateable lead.

Bolton responded positively initially, with Davie forcing a save from Edwin Van Der Sar as United were forced to keep the back-door shut.

After Ferdinand had a shot blocked down in the box, Sir Alex Ferguson introduced Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes from the bench, and the former had an instant effect.

After Ronaldo’s impudent back-heel, Rooney was left in the clear to cut inside and curl United into a decisive lead.

Despite a brave front, Bolton were left short-changed from this fixture as third United substitute Nani tried desperately to add his name to the score sheet during the closing stages, which would have left the result looking extremely flattering for the hosts.


Manchester United (4-4-2):
Van der Sar - Neville, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra - Ronaldo, Fletcher, Anderson, Park - Tevez, Berbatov
Subs: Amos, Rooney, Giggs, Nani, Scholes, O'Shea, Evans.

Bolton (4-5-1):
Jaaskelainen - Steinsson, Cahill, O'Brien, Samuel - Davies, Nolan, McCann, Muamba, Gardner - Elmander. Subs: Al Habsi, Taylor, Joey O'Brien, Smolarek, Riga, Vaz Te, Shittu.

Mendapat Penalty, Sir Alex malah Terkejut

Manchester United sukses mengalahkan Bolton 2-0 dengan salah satu golnya datang dari penalti Cristiano Ronaldo. Namun, Sir Alex Ferguson justru terkejut timnya diberikan penalti oleh wasit. Alasannya?

Manajer "Setan Merah" itu mengungkapkan bahwa ia sekilas melihat kaki bek Bolton, Jlloyd Samuel, lebih dulu mengenai bola sebelum membentur kaki Ronaldo. Jika akhirnya wasit Rob Styles memberikan timnya hadiah penalti, maka ia menyebut bahwa itu adalah sebuah keputusan yang mengejutkan.

"Saya sangat terkejut dengan keputusan itu," tandas manajer berkebangsaan Skotlandia itu kepada MUTV. "Saya belum melihat siaran ulangnya lagi. Tapi, saya melihat bahwa kaki pemain Bolton lebih dulu mengenai bola," imbuhnya.

Namun, pada akhirnya Fergie lebih memilih untuk membawa enteng masalah tersebut. Malahan, sambil sedikit berseloroh, ia menyebut penalti tersebut sebagai sebuah pembayaran utang Styles kepada The Red Devils. Sang wasit disebut Fergie telah banyak memberikan kerugian bagi timnya musim lalu.

"Rob Styles telah merugikan kami sebanyak empat atau lima kali musim lalu. Jadi, mungkin ini adalah balasannya. Masalahnya, ia masih berutang empat (keputusan) lagi kepada kami!" tukasnya.

Sementara itu pelatih Bolton, Gary Megson, jelas tidak puas dengan keputusan Styles tersebut. Dalam konferensi pers seusai laga, ia mengatakan bahwa penalti tersebut merupakan sebuah keputusan yang tak masuk akal.

"Itu adalah keputusan yang tak masuk akal. Setelah kita semua membicarakan teknologi untuk membantu wasit, lalu apa yang kita dapat pada musim panas ini? Sebuah kampanye untuk lebih menghormati wasit. Sangat ironis."

Manchester sendiri menang lewat goal Christiano Ronaldo menit ke 60 lewat penalty, dan Wayne Rooney di menit 77

Manchester United (4-4-2): Van der Sar - Neville, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra - Ronaldo, Fletcher, Anderson, Park - Tevez, Berbatov
Subs: Amos, Rooney, Giggs, Nani, Scholes, O'Shea, Evans.

Bolton (4-5-1):
Jaaskelainen - Steinsson, Cahill, O'Brien, Samuel - Davies, Nolan, McCann, Muamba, Gardner - Elmander. Subs: Al Habsi, Taylor, Joey O'Brien, Smolarek, Riga, Vaz Te, Shittu.

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