|photo by Paolo Camera
United fans needed a tonic after a rough couple of days, and were thus hopeful of devouring some Turkish Delight in the form of Bursaspor in a Champions League match at Old Trafford tonight. The Red Devils' starting lineup had an unfamiliar look to it, with new boy Chris Smalling joined by Kiko Micheda, Anderson, Park Ji Sung, Michael Carrick, Tomas Kuszczak and Rafael, among others, all receiving rare starts this evening.
The crowd that greeted the team's entrance was loud and festive right from the start, answering Sir Alex's call to show a United front after a very rough week. Early on the Red Devils dominated the Turks in a manner not unlike Dracula at Tirgoviste (The Forest of the Impaled for those of you who are not Romanian or Turkish history buffs), pinning Bursaspor back deep in their own half, although it took a piece of pure quality off the left foot of Nani for United to grab a seventh minute lead. Cutting in from the right side, the Portuguese wingman unleashed a swerving ball bound for the left goalpost that evaded the diving Bulgarian in Bursaspor's net for a quick 1-nil lead.
Although the Turks managed to find their footing around the 20 minute mark, United continued to have the better of the possession in the first half as the crowd urged the team for more. The Reds were unable to comply due to inaccurate passing and the lack of a final, cutting edge, and went into the halftime break holding a precarious 1-nil lead, not much to show for dominating the evening to that point in the action.
The players from both sides came back after the break looking as if they'd spent the prior 15 minutes in a semi-catatonic state, appearing lethargic, dazed, and confused. It says something about the United offensive effort during this portion of the match to note that their most effective threats from came from noted goalscorers Evra and Vidic.
The scrappiness continued well into the final quarter of the evening as both sides seemed strangely content with the scoreline. Obertan and Chicharito were introduced for Park and Anderson, respectively, as the Reds went into a four corners offense to see the game out. Bursaspor finally managed their first shot on goal in the game's 90th minute, but in the end United did just enough on a cool night in the Champions League to hang on for a 1-nil snoozer.
Game Day Beer Review: Gordash Brewing Panic Attack (10.0% ABV). A Belgian Strong Dark Ale with typical candy sweet malts up front, and slight hints of dark, tangy fruit and cinnamon on the back end. Alcohol fairly noticeable and warming on the finish. Definitely a sipper, not sessionable in my opinion: B
Rooney wants out, and so do I; I'm farlieonfootie for October 21.