Berba breaks duck in Utd win
Dimitar Berbatov struck his first goals for Manchester United as the holders won 3-0 at AaB Aalborg.
Last Updated: 30/09/08 10:30pm
Dimitar Berbatov struck his first goals for Manchester United as the UEFA Champions League holders won 3-0 at AaB Aalborg.
United, who lost Paul Scholes, Wayne Rooney and teenage full-back Rafael da Silva to injury, created a glut of chances en route to an opening group win after the 0-0 home draw with Villarreal a fortnight ago.
The recalled Rooney took one of those opportunities on 22 minutes when he swept home Ryan Giggs' slide-rule pass beyond Aalborg keeper Karim Zaza.
Bulgarian striker Berbatov then opened his account for United on 55 minutes as he capitalised on a woeful mistake from home captain Thomas Augustinussen to drill a crisp volley beyond the stranded Zaza.
Berbatov grabbed his second of the night on 79 minutes when he swivelled acrobatically to send Cristiano Ronaldo's cross spinning into the back of the net.
Wes Brown was on the bench as Rafael was given the nod to replace Gary Neville and he caught the eye with a couple of sizzling shots which might easily have ended up in the Aalborg net.
Berbatov had a chance to break his United duck after just six minutes when Cristiano Ronaldo half-blocked Zaza's clearance but the Bulgarian could not adjust his body quickly enough to turn the ball into an empty net.
Nemanja Vidic nodded Nani's corner onto Rio Ferdinand shortly afterwards but the defender's shot was saved by Zaza.
It was largely one-way traffic, although United's momentum was briefly halted by a worrying injury to Scholes, who seems set for a spell on the sidelines after damaging knee ligaments.
Giggs was brought on to replace Scholes and the evergreen Welshman created Rooney's opener on 22 minutes.
Nani flicked a pass into Giggs' path and he released Rooney, who darted past Michael Beauchamp and slotted home beyond Zaza.
With Rooney tormenting, Ronaldo teasing and Berbatov creating problems despite failing to find the net, Aalborg were fully stretched and only a last-ditch tackle from Steve Olfers prevented Rooney turning home Berbatov's near-post cross.
It was a big game for Berbatov in the sense that another appearance without a goal, especially against such limited opposition as this, would really turn the focus on Ferguson's latest big-money buy.
Fears for the Bulgarian were dispelled 10 minutes after the re-start when Augustinussen failed to control Olfers' square pass.
Berbatov was onto the loose ball in an instant, lashing it past Zaza as if his thunderous effort was merely routine.
From his central midfield station, Giggs was producing the kind of forceful bursts United have tended to rely on Scholes for.
One such surge took him deep into the Aalborg box but he could only turn his shot into the sidenetting.
Berbatov and Ronaldo, whose contribution for once was overshadowed, went close to increasing United's lead, as did Carlos Tevez, who was brought on for Rooney.
Rafael was also taken off with a knock before United completed the win on 79 minutes when Berbatov acrobatically volleyed home Ronaldo's cross from the by-line.
|Aalborg BK||Team Statistics||Manchester United|
|0||1st Half Goals||1|
|1||Shots on Target||10|
|6||Shots off Target||9|