LONDON - Wayne Rooney let his feet do the
talking as he capped a superb all-round display with the only
goal at Chelsea on Wednesday to give Manchester United the clear
advantage in their Champions League quarter-final.
Rooney faces a two-game domestic ban for swearing into a TV
camera after scoring against West Ham United on Saturday but he
was the consummate professional in the 1-0 United win at
He sidefooted past Petr Cech after 24 minutes following a
perfect pull-back by Ryan Giggs to send United confidently into
next Tuesday's return at Old Trafford, where they have been
formidable all season.
The goal was the icing on a particularly tasty cake for the
England striker, who looked sharp, committed and absolutely up
for the job in hand despite the latest off-field distraction.
"His performance was tremendous, he is now scoring more
regularly," United manager Sir Alex Ferguson told reporters after
the re-run of the 2008 final when his men were also victorious,
"Wayne was in tremendous form. Excellent, absolutely superb.
(His) work rate, desire to play is marvellous. He got a lot of
abuse tonight, he got a lot of late tackles on him but he got up
"It shows the courage of the player. He takes great credit."
Chelsea will feel aggrieved that they are not travelling
north level at 1-1 after the Spanish referee Alberto Undiano
Mallenco ignored a strong stoppage-time penalty claim when
Patrice Evra brought down Ramires.
"Everyone saw what happened - you can see it clearly on the
TV - but the most important person (the referee) didn't see
it," said Chelsea keeper Cech.
Chelsea should be more concerned with their own frailties,
however, as they struggled to impose themselves.
A scramble late in the first half when Didier Drogba hit a
post and Frank Lampard's rebound was cleared off the line was
the nearest they came to scoring. Squeezed for space in midfield
and around the United box they looked short of ideas.
Fernando Torres endured another torrid night as rarely looked
close to breaking his goal drought which now stretches to nine
games at his new club.
The desperate Spaniard's final contribution was to get
booked for diving in a vain bid to secure a penalty under a
challenge from Antonio Valencia.
United had arrived looking for their first win at Stamford
Bridge in 10 games stretching back to 2002 but they looked
sharper from the off.
Rio Ferdinand was back after an 11-game absence and his
reliable partnership with Nemanja Vidic swamped Torres and
forced Didier Drogba to hunt wide and deep for scraps of
Organised in defence and quick to break, United created an
excellent counter-attacking goal when Michael Carrick swept a
pass into the path of Giggs.
The Welsh winger killed the ball with his first touch, hit
the byline and pulled it back into the path of Rooney who
steered it past Cech via a post.
Torres's only notable contribution of the first half was to
miss Drogba's cross-shot, wrong-footing Edwin van der Sar and
allowing the ball to hit a post. An off-balance Lampard got a
piece of the rebound but Evra scrambled back in time to clear it
off the line.
Ancelotti spent most of the second half standing
hands-on-hips in his technical area while the Chelsea fans were
reduced to near-silence as their side huffed and puffed with
little obvious sign that they would break through.
The Italian eventually sent on Nicolas Anelka and Florent
Malouda for Drogba and Yuri Zhirkov but little changed.
Cech had to stay alert to twice deny substitute Nani while
Torres mistimed a header with his best chance of the night.
Ancelotti usually faces a routine post-match grilling on his
misfiring Spanish striker but this time it was the opposition
centre forward occupying his thoughts.
"He is a fantastic player, fantastic tryer and it's not just
today I am saying this," he said of Rooney.
"He worked very hard, he played very well and scored a
fantastic goal for his team."
Pardew to report to returning ex-manager
Sub scores to make it three World Cups in a row
Three-year jail sentence a possibility
Principality project faces legal wrangles over exceptional circumstances
Who would you rather have playing for your club?
12 months out, the stars look to the World Cup
Your questions answered by an A to Z of legends
75% of all TV is Bale
On the road to ruin
Adidas Nitrocharge for you
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010