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Berbatov hits brace to end Danish dreams

30 September 2008 23:15

AALBORG, Denmark (AFP) - Dimitar Berbatov dashed hopes of a Danish fairy tale with his first two goals for Manchester United as they cruised to a 3-0 victory over Danish champions Aalborg here on Tuesday in their Champions League clash.

Home manager Bruce Rioch had promised that an Aalborg win would trigger an "earthquake" in the 10,800-capacity Energi Nord Arena.

But a first-half strike from Wayne Rooney and Berbatov's second-half brace secured a comfortable victory that kick-starts the holders' Champions League campaign after a disappointing goalless draw in their opener against Villarreal.

The win was marred however by injuries to Paul Scholes, who suffered suspected knee ligament damage, and Rooney, who limped off with an ankle problem.

"We are happy to get three points but we missed a lot of chances and Paul Scholes could be out for about three weeks," United boss Sir Alex Ferguson said afterwards.

"Rooney and young Rafael got injured as well so maybe there was a price to pay for the victory but four points now is where we want to be."

Ferguson was also pleased to see 30-million-pound striker Berbatov open his United account.

"Two fantastic goals and that will help his confidence - always when you get transferred for that amount of money you want your first goal as quickly as possible."

Berbatov himself said he had not been worried about his failure to break his United duck in his three previous appearances.

"I knew they would come sooner or later but I'm happy it was today (Tuesday). I helped team to win and that is the most important thing."

United took charge of the game from the outset, nearly scoring twice within the first 10 minutes.

Rooney's back-heeled through-ball to Cristiano Ronaldo forced home 'keeper Karim Zaza into a hurried clearance which hit the Portuguese winger and ballooned into the air.

Berbatov was the first to react but sliced his volley wide.

Two minutes later Nani swung a dangerous corner into the penalty area which reached captain Rio Ferdinand unmarked at the far post.

The England defender caught his volley sweetly but found Zaza equal to the task once more, the linesman waving away suggestions that the ball had crossed the line.

Scholes was carried off after 11 minutes and the home fans were heartened by a dangerous incursion into the visitors' half.

AaB left-back Thomas Enevoldsen made an adventurous surge down the left wing before curling a wicked low ball across the six-yard area.

Polish striker Marek Saganowski failed narrowly to connect but the ball fell to winger Jeppe Curth, whose shot was blocked by an alert Patrice Evra.

The home fans' respite was brief and it was no surprise when United went ahead in the 22nd minute, with Rooney keeping a cool head to register his 12th goal in the Champions League proper.

Veteran winger Ryan Giggs, Scholes's replacement, slipped a cute pass inside defender Michael Beauchamp which Rooney collected before finishing neatly under Zaza.

The Danes responded immediately and would have scored had Ferdinand not produced a last-ditch tackle to deny right-back Kasper Bogelund.

Any thoughts of a giant-killing act were dashed 10 minutes after half-time when Berbatov showed why Ferguson had been prepared to break the club's record transfer fee to get him.

The former Bayer Leverkusen striker had defender Steve Olfers to thank after a suicidal pass across his own 18-yard line presented him with the ball, but his thunderous drive into the bottom corner of the goal was all his own work.

Rioch's men seemed resigned to their fate as United continued to create chances, Ronaldo and substitute Carlos Tevez both coming close to scoring a third before Berbatov claimed his second with a fine volley.

Ronaldo jinked his way down the right-wing before delivering a floated cross which the Bulgarian guided expertly into the goal.

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Info

Competition
UEFA Champions League
Date
30 September 2008
Kick-off
20:45
Half-time
0 - 1
Full-time
0 - 3

Goals

0 - 1
22' W. Rooney
 (assist by R. Giggs)
0 - 2
0 - 3
79' D. Berbatov
 (assist by Cristiano Ronaldo)

Lineups

Substitutes

# Player Bookings
18
7
20
27
30
32
24
# Player Bookings
11
32
6
8
13
23
40

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