Manchester Utd 5 Nantes 1

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Man­chester Uni­ted 5 Nantes At­lantique 1, Old Traf­ford, UEFA Cham­pi­ons Lea­gue Group Sta­ge, Feb­ruary 26, 2002. Man­chester Uni­ted had no prob­lems in beat­ing French Pre­mier Lea­gue Cham­pi­ons Nantes At­lantique as a brace from Nor­we­gi­an in­ter­na­tion­al Ole Gun­nar Sol­skjaer and one goal each from Da­vid Beck­ham, Mi­kael Sil­vestre, and Ruud van Nistel­rooy car­ried the Old Traf­ford si­de to a 5-1 vic­tory af­ter The Ca­nar­ies had taken a shock lead. 

Man­chester Uni­ted had ma­naged a hard fou­ght 1-1 draw ag­ainst Nantes At­lantique at the St­ade Beau­joire in the fir­st leg the week be­fore, and the reign­ing Eng­lish Pre­mier Lea­gue Cham­pi­ons star­ted well in the re­turn mat­ch, but it was the plucky vis­it­ors who ma­naged to score the fir­st goal. In the 17th min­ute of the UEFA Cham­pi­ons Lea­gue fix­ture, Nantes gave Sir Al­ex Ferguson´s Man­chester Uni­ted an early scare when Cameroon­i­an wing back Jean-Hugues Bilayi Ateba bril­liantly cros­sed for for­ward think­ing mid­fielder Fre­der­ic Da Rocha who han­ded the vis­it­ing te­am a 1-0 ad­vant­age. One min­ute la­ter, how­ever, Man­chester Uni­ted and Eng­land mid­field ar­chi­tect Da­vid Beck­ham net­ted wi­th a well taken free-kick which left Nantes shot stop­per Mick­ael Landr­eau com­pletely help­less, and from that point on the red shirts dom­in­ated the pos­sess­sion of the ball for the re­mainder of the mat­ch. Af­ter thirty min­utes, Nor­we­gi­an marks­man Ole Gun­nar Sol­skjaer re­cor­ded Man­chester United´s sec­ond goal of the con­test be­fore a power­ful head­er from de­fender Mi­kael Sil­vestre made it 3-1 to The Red Dev­ils in the 38th min­ute of the fir­st pe­riod. The French­men came clo­se to scor­ing just four min­utes be­fore the sound of the ha­lf-time whistle, but Da Rocha´s shot hit the foot of the upright.

Fif­teen min­utes fol­low­ing the re­sump­tion of pro­ceed­ings, Man­chester Uni­ted al­most net­ted their fourth goal of the even­ing when rock­et-heeled flanker Ry­an Gig­gs hit the post from clo­se ran­ge. The Old Traf­ford club con­tin­ued to launch at­tacks and it was on­ly a mat­ter of time be­fore Ferguson´s men were to score ag­ain. Af­ter 64 min­utes of ac­tion, Neth­er­lands in­ter­na­tion­al stri­ker Ruud van Nistel­rooy was bro­ught down by So­uth Amer­ic­an Nantes de­fender Nestor Fab­bri in­side the eight­een-yard area, and the goal plun­der­er ex­traordin­aire stepped up to take the pen­alty him­self which he duly con­ver­ted. And wi­th twelve min­utes re­maining of nor­mal time, a free-kick by Beck­ham was met by the al­ways op­por­tun­ist­ic Sol­skjaer who head­ed the ball ho­me to make the fi­nal score 5-1 to The Man­chester Reds. Man­chester Uni­ted Te­am: Fa­bi­en Bar­thez, De­nis Ir­win, Ga­ry Ne­ville, Mi­kael Samy Sil­vestre, Ju­an Se­basti­an Ver­on, Lau­rent Blanc, Da­vid Beck­ham, Roy Ke­ane, Ry­an Gig­gs, Ole Gun­nar Sol­skjaer, Ruud van Nistel­rooy. Sub­stitutes: Diego For­lan, Ronny John­sen, Dwight Yorke, Nicky Butt, Paul Scho­les, Roy Car­roll. Nantes Te­am: Mick­ael Landr­eau, Nestor Fab­bri, Mauro Cetto, Yves Deroff, Sylvain Ar­mand, Math­ieu Ber­son, Stephane Zi­ani, Jean-Hugues Ateba Bilayi, Eric Djemba-Djemba, Pierre-Yves An­dre, Fre­der­ic Da Rocha. Sub­stitutes: Nic­olas Sav­in­aud, Marama Vahirua, Olivi­er Quint.


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