Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Who throws a shoe? Honestly?

Besiktas/Manchester United - CL Matchday 1

The lineups were introduced and Besiktas’ consisted of a bunch of guys I’ve never heard of with a lot of accent marks and umlauts in their name. Man U started with Neville, Vidic, Evans and Evra in the back, two English speakers playing center midfield (Scholes and Carrick), two Portuguese speakers on the wings (Anderson and Nani), and Rooney and Valencia up front. New man, Antonio Valencia ended up playing a little behind and a little wider than Rooney, but 4-4-2 it is.

FSC’s coverage was not so good. Only one man in the booth? No crowd noise? C’mon Fox, you’re better than that. While they fixed the lack of crowd noise problem around 10 minutes into the match, they never get around to fixing the announcer problem. Tim White grew more frustrating as the game went on, announcing all of the scores for the other CL games being played. I understand that the game was not aired on television in the states until 10 pm EDT, but I imagine lots of viewers recorded a few of the Matchday 1 games and planned to watch them on delay. If you spent all day avoiding updates, it’s no good to have the announcer ruin it for you. Also, at one point in the second half he referred to Besiktas as “Fenerbahce”.

United controlled the play during the first half, but had nothing to show for their efforts. Valencia, while talented, seemed just a bit off throughout the opening half.

The Red Devils came out of halftime buzzing around the pitch, looking even more dangerous than before. Patrice Evra continued to make bombing raids down the left side. He really has quite a motor. Besiktas were dangerous in spurts, but both the defense and keeper Ben Foster continued to deny them a goal. Sir Alex removed Carrick for Berbatov in the 63rd minute, and shortly thereafter he called off Rooney for Owen. Rooney was none too happy to be replaced, shaking his head the whole way off the pitch. The camera caught Wayne gesturing to the crowd just above the visitor’s bench, and throwing his boots down in disgust.

United finally got their well deserved goal in the 77th minute after a nice set up by Nani and Valencia led to a Scholes header into the upper right corner. The Ginger Ninja was left without a marker, and buried the chance. Park came on for Valencia in the 84th, and helped close out the 1-0 win.

Denizli’s men will certainly rue losing at home, especially after keeping the game scoreless for over an hour. However, United proved to be too much last night, and the Turkish club’s Champions League chances are bleak considering Wolfsburg’s thrashing of the Muscovites.

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