Five Alive for Moyes as United progress to second round

Five Alive for Moyes as United progress to second round

Five Alive for Moyes as United progress to second round

David Moyes, He now has a record of his own; masterminding Manchester United’s biggest ever away win in the Champions League. Actually, the last time the Red Devils produced such a similar feat was in 1964 when they dispatched Borussia Dortmund 6-1 in the old Inter-Cities’ Fairs Cup.

Even the bespectacled smiling legendary gum-chewing Glaswegian predecessor, watching from the BayArena stands, couldn’t conjure such an accomplishment.

It seems incomprehensible, the manner of the victory that is. Bayer 04 Leverkusen lies second in the Bundesliga, sandwiching Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. Not only that, the Germans had been unbeaten in 14 matches on home soil, winning the last 8 group stage games

That the Red Devils, fresh from a near capitulating 2-2 draw at Cardiff City, could then venture into North Rhine-Westphalia and blast Sami Hyppia’s men into smithereens, thus cannot be taken for granted; even Bayern Munich could only go away with a draw. And the former Everton boss says “…expect some more.”

The 5-0 whitewash, the best performance from a Moyes side to date, left Leverkusen and their adoring fans singing the song ‘Speechless’. Antonio Valencia, Johnny Evans, Chris Smalling and Luis Nani’s names will be in the roll of honor, not forgetting Emir Spahic’s own goal. But that’s only half the story.

The men leading the orchestra were Wayne Rooney – involved in four of the goals, Ryan Giggs – still tearing them apart as he hits 40 years tomorrow, and Shinji Kagawa – mercurial in the No.10 position.

The first goal, from a devastating counterattack and seconds after Evans had cleared a goal scoring chance, brought back memories of the 3-1 victory over Arsenal at the Emirates back in 2009 Champions League, with Ji-sung Park and Rooney laying the platter for Cristiano Ronaldo.

This time round, Kagawa, Giggs and Rooney were the architects as Valencia ghosted to score the visitors’ first goal. The Mancunians would go a notch higher with an in swinging Rooney free-kick directed into the net by Spahic. Game over.

Hyppia couldn’t believe his eyes as to how Leverkusen crumbled in the second half. Three unanswered goals. The first from Johnny Evans, after the home defense was caught napping, came from Giggs’ corner, headed in by Patrice Evra to the feet of Rooney. The second was from a deft chip by Kagawa to Rooney, who lofted the ball to an unmarked Smalling.

The third goal of the half and the fifth of the game put the period in United’s statement of intent. Slick passing found the feet of Giggs, whose one time lob over the defense found Nani. The Portuguese controlled the ball with his chest, rounded keeper Bernd Leno and chipped the ball from a tight angle to ripple the empty net.

With Shahktar Donetsk winning 4-0 over Real Sociedad, Leverkusen have to defeat the Spaniards in the last fixture and hope Moyes can produce the same blueprint over Donetsk at Old Trafford, in order for Hyppia’s men to qualify.

Wednesday’s collated results

CSKA Moscow 1-3 Bayern Munich (Q)

Man City (Q) 4-2 Viktoria Plzen

Anderlecht 2-3 Benfica

PSG (Q) 2-1 Olympiakos

Bayer Leverkusen 0-5 Man United (Q)

Shakhtar Donetsk 4-0 Real Sociedad

Real Madrid (Q) 4-1 Galatasaray

Juventus 3-1 FC Copenhagen

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