Dwight Yorke says floodlight failure and well-timed substitutions saved Man United in Braga on Wednesday night
Dwight Yorke says that floodlight failure and canny substitutions rescued Man United in Braga.
Last Updated: 08/11/12 3:43pm
Sir Alex Ferguson's men were trailing 1-0 in Braga on Wednesday night when, after 57 minutes, the Estádio AXA was plunged into darkness after the generator powering the floodlights stopped working.
However, after a short delay, United rallied and goals from 64th-minute substitute Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez sealed the Old Trafford giants' fourth straight group-stage win - and secured their place in the last 16.
"For 57 minutes Braga were the better team and Man United needed something to happen," Yorke told Sky Sports. "And I think the turning point in the game was when the floodlights went out.
"United seemed a much better team when van Persie and (right-back) Rafael came on and they went to 4-4-2. Ideally Sir Alex wouldn't have brought van Persie off the bench, but it's great to know you have the best player in the Premier League (in reserve).
"He only needed one chance and when United got the equaliser they threw the kitchen sink at Braga and, by the time the third goal went in, they were playing the fantastic football we expect.
"United need to improve but this is the time of the year when they usually come good and they have all these big guns who can improve the balance of the team. They did exactly what they needed to do, though, and got the result they required."
Ferguson made six changes to the side that conquered Arsenal on Saturday lunchtime for the trip to Portugal, with the likes of Ryan Giggs, Danny Welbeck and Hernandez handed a start, and defender Chris Smalling making his first appearance of the season after recovering from a broken metatarsal.
Yorke, who won the Champions League with Man United in 1999, thinks that may have been the reason why United side began sluggishly, but he says with an unassailable lead at the top of Group H, the Red Devils can now focus on domestic matters.
"United have a squad and are trying to use players and give them opportunities, while with the way van Persie and all these guys are playing on a regular basis they want to keep them fresh as possible," said the former Trinidad and Tobago forward.
"(The group) makes great reading for Man United and they have put themselves in a very commanding position with two games to spare, and now they can concentrate on the Premier League and really try to extend their lead in that, starting at Aston Villa on Saturday."
Braga sit bottom of Pool H on three points, one in arrears of Turkish team Galatasary and Romania's CFR Cluj, but Yorke reckons the Arsenalistas can still make it into the round of 16.
"Braga have got an outside chance," added the Sky Sports pundit. "They have got to play Galatasaray and that will be crucial, but they should take a lot of heart from (Wednesday's) game as they were on top for the best part of an hour. They also played terrifically at Old Trafford when racing into a two-goal lead, but just didn't have the experience to close it out."