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Thread: Manchester United VII: Moscow Dream is ALIVE!!!

  1. #161
    Senior Member melvin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Manchester United VII: Moscow Dream is ALIVE!!!

    Papers: Messi's mission

    Leo: I'll mess up United
    Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has told Alex Ferguson and Manchester United: “I’m coming to knock you out of the Champions League.” Struggling Barca are desperately looking to their Messi-ah for inspiration in Wednesday’s clash with United after the Argy ace recovered from a five-week lay-off with a thigh problem. The winger played the second half of Barca’s goalless draw against Espanyol on Saturday and fired off a warning to rivals United. He said: “I am ready for United. I am well. The fans are waiting for me to show what I can do on Wednesday. I am calm and I’ve so much desire to be at my best and be able to offer my team the things I can bring on the pitch. I am certain I will be even more determined in the game against Manchester which has special significance.”
    Antony Kastrinakis, The Sun

    Carlos Tevez, United's hero at Ewood Park on Saturday, believes Messi is the biggest threat to United's Champions League dreams. "Barcelona are one team with Messi - but a completely different team without him," said the Argentine. "He is the main point of reference and key man in the whole Barca team."

    The Mirror claims United face an anxious to see if Wayne Rooney has shaken off the hip injury which forced him off in the final seconds at Blackburn. Sir Alex did say after the match that he felt Rooney would recover in time, but that is yet to be confirmed.

    Ahead of Saturday's title showdown at Stamford Bridge, Sir Alex wants to celebrate winning the championship crown by shattering Chelsea’s four-year unbeaten home league record. “Records are there to be broken and we’ll be going down there with a positive attitude to try and win the match," said the boss.

    Round up by Gemma Thompson

  2. #162
    Senior Member melvin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Manchester United VII: Moscow Dream is ALIVE!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Kahuna View Post
    A forgotten man...poor thing.....I guess he will miss his day in EPL when he comes back to OT next week

    Latest of the forgotten one!

    Henry misses Barca training

    Illness forced Thierry Henry to sit out training on Monday as Barcelona continued their preparations for Wednesday's Champions League semi-final clash with United.

    The former Arsenal striker was suffering from a fever and now faces a race against time to be fit for the first leg at the Nou Camp.

    Lilian Thuram also missed the morning session after being given time off by the club, but was due to train on Monday afternoon. Fellow defender Jose Edmilson has a slight back strain and spent time in the gym working on his fitness.

    Brazilian midfielder Ronaldinho and back-up goalkeeper Albert Jorquera are both injury absentees, while skipper Carlos Puyol is definitely out of the first leg as he serves a one-match suspension.

    However, defender Oleguer Presas has been given the all clear to return after recovering from a hand injury.

  3. #163
    Senior Member melvin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Manchester United VII: Moscow Dream is ALIVE!!!

    Barca held by local rivals

    Barcelona players were jeered off the pitch after Saturday's goalless draw with local rivals Espanyol at the Nou Camp.

    Coach Frank Rijkaard rested Lionel Messi and Andreas Iniesta, opting to use the influential pair as late substitutes as his side toiled against their struggling neighbours.

    An ill-tempered derby brought saw each side pick up six bookings, while Messi and Samuel Eto'o were thwarted by visiting goalkeeper Carlos Kameni in the latter stages.

    The result, allied to Real Madrid's 2-0 win at Racing Santander, saw Barca slip to 10 points behind Bernd Schuster's side at the top of La Liga.

    The Catalans have now registered just one win in their last eight league outings. Be warned, however, their European form is a different story - with eight wins and two draws from 10 Champions League matches this term.

    Uncannily, Barca's record is exactly the same as United's in the 2007/08 Champions League. Both are undefeated, have 100 percent home records, and have exactly the same goal difference.

    Nothing to choose
    2007/08 Champions League

    Manchester United
    Played: 10
    Won: 8
    Drawn 2
    Lost 0
    Scored: 18
    Conceded: 5

    Barcelona
    Played: 10
    Won: 8
    Drawn 2
    Lost 0
    Scored: 18
    Conceded: 5



  4. #164
    Senior Member melvin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Manchester United VII: Moscow Dream is ALIVE!!!

    Odds: Barca v United

    United go into Wednesday's first leg of the Champions League semi as 7/4 favourites to go on and lift the trophy, with the other three teams left in the competition 3/1 to win it.

    The Reds are 4/6 to reach the final in Moscow on May 21 and if you want to bet on who the opposition would be, Chelsea and Liverpool are both 21/10.

    As for the first game against Barca, United are 7/4 to gain an away win, with the hosts 11/8 and a draw 2/1.

    Both games ended 3-3 when the sides last met in the '98/99 group stage. The same scoreline on Wednesday is 50/1.

    Ronaldo is 5/1 favourite to net the first goal. Currently on 8 goals, he's 4/7 to finish as Champions League top scorer, while Rooney and Tevez (4 goals each) are 14/1 and 20/1 respectively.

    In the other semi, Liverpool are 11/10 to claim a first-leg advantage over Chelsea at Anfield, with the Blues at 9/4 and the draw 2/1. Both teams are 5/6 to qualify.

    Domestically, United are 1/10 to retain the title after drawing at Blackburn. Chelsea are 11/2 to win it, ahead of Saturday’s crunch match at Stamford Bridge.

  5. #165
    Senior Member melvin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Manchester United VII: Moscow Dream is ALIVE!!!

    Reds on the plane to Spain

    A full-strength United squad, minus the injured Louis Saha, flew out to Barcelona on Tuesday morning ahead of Wednesday night's Champions League semi-final first leg.

    The Reds will train at the collossal Nou Camp stadium on Tuesday night before taking on Frank Rijkaard's FC Barcelona the following evening (kick-off 19:45 BST).

    All those involved in the weekend's draw with Blackburn Rovers travelled, as did Edwin van der Sar, Anderson and Owen Hargreaves, who all sat out the Rovers game due to minor injuries. Sir Alex has said he expects all three to be fit to face Barcelona.

    Darren Fletcher, injured since late March, was among the 23-man party, as was club captain Gary Neville and youngster Danny Welbeck.

    United squad: Heaton, Kuszczak, van der Sar; Brown, Evra, Ferdinand, Neville, Pique, Silvestre, Vidic; Anderson, Carrick, Fletcher, Giggs, Hargreaves, Nani, O'Shea, Park, Ronaldo, Scholes; Rooney, Tevez, Welbeck.
    Wow ... the full team travel!

  6. #166
    Senior Member melvin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Manchester United VII: Moscow Dream is ALIVE!!!

    Raise the roof

    United fans were in full voice last weekend at Ewood Park. What’s more, the away end looked the part too, as Reds turned out in colours, swirling bar scarves aloft throughout the 90 minutes.

    After Carlos Tevez’s late equaliser, Michael Carrick admitted the fans had played a part in “sucking the ball into the net”.

    Now, with United’s Show Your Colours campaign gathering steam ahead of Barcelona’s visit to Old Trafford on Tuesday 29 April, we take a look at some of the best European atmospheres from down the years….

    The Command Performance
    Welcome to the first movement of the United European concerto: the utterly unexpected, almost absurd, dashing rout. Here we find Roma 2007, a superb side who’d taught us a bit of a lesson only days before, destroyed in a firestorm of Rooneyism. Ditto Porto in 1997’s quarter-finals. They were a formidable side, toting various unbeaten records, yet were picked apart within minutes, hammered 4-0 by Cantona and Giggs at their silky best.

    The White Knuckle Ride
    The flipside is a plunge into the pit of the polar opposite: the jaw-clenching, jugular-pulsing nerve-fest. Those games that aren’t going well, yet where everything remains at stake; and where the crowd is simultaneously seeking to support, criticise, howl in frustration, and vent spleens at smirking opposition. Hear us roar, hear us growl.

    Go back to the Partizan semi-final in 1966. Ten minutes to go, still a goal down on aggregate, Paddy Crerand gets sent off. Busby’s face turns sheet-white, while the Stretford End’s visages burn red with frustration. There’s out-and-out, purple-faced fury too, which does wonders for your volume settings. Think AC Milan in 1969’s semi-final:

    64,000 all on their feet, apoplectically raging as Paddy’s disallowed equaliser robs us of our crown.

    Or Juventus 1976/77, complete with Giovanni Trappatoni’s almost comically stereotypical Italian assassins, harangued throughout for their animal cunning and sheer hardness. It can sometimes, though, work well.

    Fast forward to Juventus again, but the 1999 vintage: we may have been outplayed for 70 minutes, but as long as OT was still ranting, grunting and bellowing, inspiration was there to be had. Ryan Giggs took it – and scored a critical, tie-turning equaliser.

    Bloodied, but unbowed
    Ah, the near-hopeless, yet exhilarating lost cause. And none better than Madrid 2003. Surely not even David Beckham, coming off the bench at his most manically committed to deliver two great goals, would truly have believed we were going to overturn a 3-1, first-leg deficit against the glittering royals. Yet all disbelief was suspended. Played like a ding-dong domestic cup tie, we gorged on a feast of seven goals, the original Ronaldo roused to his best and ovations for everyone, from everyone.

    Find here, too, the second leg against Porto in the 1977/78 Cup Winners’ Cup. An injury-wrecked United, who’d been beaten 4-0 in Portugal, rose again to play as if the impossible didn’t exist. Stevie Coppell, ever the crowd favourite, ran the Portuguese screwy, inducing two own goals.

    United won 5-2, and 51,000 supposedly money-wasting fools – kicking up a racket like a packed Maracana – just momentarily allowed themselves to believe. Eliminated yet elated: very United.

    Adrenaline rush
    We’ve long known that sheer emotion can take you to nirvana. And Milan were beaten thanks to a large dose of it in 1958’s semi-final, Paolo Maldini’s dad crumbling to concede that late, winning penalty. Sadly, the comedown was equally strong as Bubsy’s exhausted troops eventually succumbed in Italy. Simple ear-splitting volume is another mighty weapon; Ajax in round one of the 1976/77 UEFA Cup is a perfect case in point. Poor ‘Punchy Piet’ Shrievers in their goal had clearly never heard anything like the Strettie in full roar before, so loud it distorted the later TV broadcast.

    Escape To Victory
    The ultimate remains the supposedly impossible fightback, conducted with all-out offensive verve, against top-rank opposition, to a chorus of off-the-meter terrace meltdown. And there remain two daddies of ’em all.

    First up, Atletico Bilbao, European Cup quarter-final, 1956/57. United had lost 5-3 in appalling conditions in snowy Bilbao, having been 3-0 down-and-out at half-time. Billy Whelan’s late 40-yard snowdrift slalom and strike would prove critical.

    In the return, played on City’s turf, a Tommy Taylor inspired United won 3-0 against a packed Basque defence, amidst utter bedlam. Two posts hit, two ‘goals’ disallowed for offside, and a climactic Johnny Berry winner with five to go at a never-more-fevered Maine Road.

    The Daily Express, in those days quite a sober voice, gushed: "Women were shrieking, strong men wilted… hundreds in the crowd were patting their hearts… hats were recklessly thrown into the air."

    Bilbao is pipped for the title by an indelible OT memory, one you can still feel shaking your bones: the Barcelona Cup Winnners’ Cup quarter-final, 1984.

    A 2-0 defeat in the Nou Camp was the starting point. Scoring three against one of the most gifted, glamorous sides of the decade was near-impossible; any goal from the visitors would mean curtains.

    Take your pick from the witness descriptions offered of the atmosphere that night. "Like planes taking off," one source said. "A 90-minute earthquake," reported another. We like: "Like Led Zeppelin live, in your bedroom."

    The ground shook, literally: the Stretford End ‘shed’ felt in actual peril. The goals were perfectly timed to ratchet up the tension: Robbo’s 22nd-minute atonement for his Nou Camp errors gave us hope; his 50th-minute leveller took us to DEFCON 1; then to score a third within 100 seconds – how did we cope with it? Frank Stapleton’s strike came as we were still in full, goal-buzz throes: sheer sensory overload. And then we had just the mere 40 minutes to survive…

  7. #167
    Senior Member melvin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Manchester United VII: Moscow Dream is ALIVE!!!

    Rio bullish ahead of Barca test

    United have seen off the best of Italy and France in this season’s Champions League – and Rio Ferdinand is confident of doing the same to Barcelona in the semi-finals.

    The Reds defender is far from fazed by the Catalan giants’ wealth of attacking talent and even questioned their tag as the competition’s best team.

    “We are confident, definitely,” he told ManUtd.com. “People talk about them being the best side in the tournament but I don’t know.

    “We have already beaten Roma and Lyon, the best sides in Italy and France. Barcelona, if you look at the league table, aren’t the best team in Spain and weren’t last season either.

    “We know we’re playing a top side. People talk about ‘acid tests’ but I think each game is an acid test. Barcelona have great prestige and history, but whether they’re the best team around at the moment, we’ll have to wait and see.”

    Ferdinand is excited by the prospect of Wednesday’s first leg at the Nou Camp, and is seeking a defensive performance similar to that which the Reds produced in the Stadio Olimpico at the start of the month.

    The 29-year-old added: “I hope we defend as a team and are compact because if we are open, they have the players to punish us. So, fingers crossed, we’ll be a tight unit and will be able to hit them on the counter-attack like we did in Rome.

    “I’m looking forward to the game and the occasion – the Nou Camp is a prestigious arena with great traditions. The players on show are all illustrious names and talented footballers, so to be able to come up against them is a fantastic opportunity.”

    Ferdinand was speaking at the launch of United's National Curriculum Education Programme at Old Trafford.

  8. #168
    Senior Member melvin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Manchester United VII: Moscow Dream is ALIVE!!!

    Edwin: Ajax success spoilt me

    Edwin van der Sar admits he took success for granted as a young player in Holland because he was picking up so many trophies.

    United’s veteran goalkeeper tasted Champions League glory as a 24-year-old with Ajax in 1995, and also won the UEFA Cup and four league titles with the Dutch club, before leaving for less successful spells with Juventus and Fulham.

    Now, 13 years on from his last European triumph and nearing the end of his career, he is desperate to claim Europe’s elite club trophy once more with United.

    The 37-year-old said: “I’d love to get my hands on it again. It’s great to win the Champions League once, and a lot of people will do that, but to win it twice is a big incentive.

    “At Ajax I was starting to feel like it was normal to win trophies and play in finals! But then it dried out and when I was at Fulham I thought it was the end of me winning things.

    “Now I’m pleased to have a chance at United and perform on the highest level and achieve again those things I managed earlier in my career.”

    Van der Sar missed the 1-1 draw at Blackburn on Saturday but is set to return for the first leg of the semi-final against Barcelona in the Nou Camp.

    While domestic and European success is tantalisingly close, van der Sar has warned that the Reds cannot afford to become complacent.

    “It’s shaping up nicely but we haven’t won anything yet,” he said. "Some people say our name is already on the trophy, but that’s not true – we still have a tough tie against Barcelona and then Chelsea or Liverpool.

    “We can’t relax – the last month is going to be the most important of the campaign, so everybody will have to keep focusing and working hard and hopefully the rewards will come after that.”

    Van der Sar was speaking at the launch of United's National Curriculum Education Programme at Old Trafford.

  9. #169
    Senior Member melvin's Avatar
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    Barca seek Euro boost

    Barcelona playmaker Andres Iniesta insists overcoming United in the Champions League will compensate for the Catalans' domestic struggles.

    Frank Rijkaard's side have slipped to 10 points behind La Liga leaders Real Madrid, after a woeful run of just one league win in eight games. But, with Barca unbeaten in the Champions League since a 2-1 home defeat to Liverpool in February 2007, Iniesta is confident the Catalans will raise their game against United.

    "It's very important for us to get to the final, and we have 180 minutes ahead of us to do so," he said after Saturday's goalless draw with Espanyol.

    "We can do it, but we need to change our mindset for the two legs, and we can't afford to give anything away. The Champions League is another story. A good example is that after a terrible game in Seville against Betis, we were able to beat Schalke in Germany."

    The Spanish international concedes that United's attacking talent concerns him, but feels that the Reds will also be pondering how best to handle the Catalans' forward verve.

    "They have some great players who can change a game at any moment," he said. "I'm worried about them as a team, but not about any player in particular. They are a great side, and we'll have to be focused, but I think they will also be worried about us."

  10. #170
    Senior Member melvin's Avatar
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    Papers: Ron's double dream

    Ron: Double will make us best ever
    Cristiano Ronaldo has told his United pals: “We’ll only be the best ever if we win the Premier League and Champions League Double.” Sir Alex Ferguson hailed his current squad as the top United side in his 22 years as manager — even better than the 1999 Treble-winners. But, ahead of tomorrow’s Champions League showdown with Barcelona, Ronaldo insists that only winning silverware this season can prove Fergie right. “What he said about the team makes me feel great," he said. "Ferguson has been at the club for more than 20 years. He has signed great players, incredible goalscorers. I also think this is the most talented team Ferguson’s had - but you can only confirm that at the end of the season by seeing what the team has won. Only if we win the Champions League or the Premier League will we be able to give a definitive answer as to whether this is really the best United team of all time."
    Antony Kastrinakis, The Sun

    In other news, Ryan Giggs has hit back at his critics, insisting: As long as the manager picks me, I am good enough. He said: “Getting criticism is part of being a Manchester United player. It doesn’t bother me. But the one person I have to impress is the manager — and while he is picking me, I know I am good enough.”

    Barcelona star Deco has warned Sir Alex: “I’ll haunt you again.” The United boss has lost three out of four Champions League semi-finals. Four years ago, midfielder Deco masterminded eventual winners Porto’s second-round triumph over the Red Devils. And he said: “I hope the semi-final run continues for Ferguson. If he loses another semi-final it means we will be in the final."

    Carlos Tevez says he will repay the love from United fans with a trophy double.

    Round up by Gemma Thompson

  11. #171
    Senior Member melvin's Avatar
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    Boss: The time is now

    Forget Wembley in 1968 and ignore the Nou Camp in 1999. Sir Alex Ferguson delivered a rousing call to arms to his players ahead of Wednesday’s semi-final first leg clash against Barcelona: go out and write a new page in United’s history, in 2008.

    Up for grabs in this two-part semi-final clash – the first instalment of which takes place at the scene of the Reds’ Treble triumph nine years ago – is a place in the final in Moscow against Chelsea or Liverpool.

    United have reached the semi-final stage on nine previous occasions, including last season. But '99 and '68 aside, it's a hurdle that has proved one step too far.

    To return to the Nou Camp is a reminder of United’s last European success. However, despite several short holidays in the Catalan capital, Sir Alex says he has not been back to Barcelona’s stadium since that memorable occasion.

    And on Wednesday night, he will not stand for any nostalgic indulgence.

    "I don’t know what the older players, the ones who were here that night, have said to the younger players," he said from the team hotel. "That victory is not lost on anyone – it’s shown that many times on television or on videos.

    "Even more important is what this team can achieve themselves, making their own history. They are good enough to do that. This team is for today. They don't need to be reminded of the past or be worried about it."

    For all the serious talk, there was room for a lighter moment inside the grand conference room at the team’s Hesperia Tower hotel headquarters.

    The press conference's translator – also a Scot – reported Sir Alex’s comments in Catalan, Barcelona’s native tongue. When reporters from other regions of Spain requested the answers in Spanish, the United boss quipped: "I don't want to get involved in a civil war here!"

    It shows the United boss is relaxed ahead of what is a critical match in United's season. Another semi-final stumble would be difficult to swallow, especially when the prize at the end of it is near, and so achievable.

    Asked if this match should have been the final, Sir Alex reluctantly (not wanting to upset his English counterparts in the other semi-final) conceded: "It would be the most attractive final. But I think the winner of this tie stands a great chance of winning the tournament."

  12. #172
    Senior Member melvin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Manchester United VII: Moscow Dream is ALIVE!!!

    14 hours more to go!!!

    Reds return to the Nou Camp

    Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville enjoyed a nostalgic training session on Tuesday evening when they returned to the scene of their greatest night in a red shirt.

    The veteran duo - both European Cup winners at the Nou Camp in 1999 - were among 22 players put through their paces on the eve of the Champions League semi-final first leg against hosts Barcelona.

    If Neville plays on Wednesday, he'll complete a century of appearances in the Champions League proper, as will Paul Scholes - sadly an absentee from the '99 final through suspension. (Qualifying matches are excluded from UEFA's statistics).

    On the injuries front, it was good to see Anderson, Owen Hargreaves and Edwin van der Sar all fully involved in training after missing Saturday's draw with Blackburn. Wayne Rooney suggested he'll live up to Sir Alex's expectation and be fit to face Barca, despite receiving a knock at Ewood Park.

    Darren Fletcher trained separately from the main group, as did Wes Brown, with the only absentee being Nemanja Vidic. However, the Serbian centre-back said on Saturday that he was "ready for the next game" and nothing was said to the contrary at the pre-match press conference he attended with Sir Alex Ferguson on arrival in Spain.
    Oh no looks like we are going to field the few uncles!
    Last edited by melvin; 23rd April 2008 at 11:38 AM.

  13. #173
    Senior Member afbug's Avatar
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    Default Re: Manchester United VII: Moscow Dream is ALIVE!!!

    Wah lol, auntie riise must have received lots of free gift from Abramowich!

  14. #174
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    Default Re: Manchester United VII: Moscow Dream is ALIVE!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by afbug View Post
    Wah lol, auntie riise must have received lots of free gift from Abramowich!
    Kaoz the goal was spectacular, too bad on the wrong end..

  15. #175

    Default Re: Manchester United VII: Moscow Dream is ALIVE!!!

    yEAAAAA TODAY MAN U GAMEEE

  16. #176

    Default Re: Manchester United VII: Moscow Dream is ALIVE!!!

    2min Onlyy...!!! Penatly !!!

  17. #177

    Default Re: Manchester United VII: Moscow Dream is ALIVE!!!

    MISS!!

  18. #178
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    Default Re: Manchester United VII: Moscow Dream is ALIVE!!!

    The ref sucks! So damn inconsistent.

  19. #179

    Default Re: Manchester United VII: Moscow Dream is ALIVE!!!

    yeaaaa

  20. #180

    Default Re: Manchester United VII: Moscow Dream is ALIVE!!!

    now 1 attacking the rest defending..

    messi really make man u headache

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