Champions League: Man United 2 Marseille 1

Javier Hernandez scored twice to send Manchester United into the quarter-finals of the Champions League with a 2-1 victory over Marseille.

The Mexican striker, chosen ahead of top scorer Dimitar Berbatov, rewarded his manager’s faith with a smartly-taken, close-range finish in each half before Marseille replied through a Wes Brown own goal late on.

That was enough to clinch a 2-1 aggregate victory for United who had drawn the first leg 0-0 in France.

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson had promised his team would go all out for victory in this tie and he was true to his word as the home side took the lead after only five minutes.

Wayne Rooney volleyed a wonderful pass out to the wing, received the return ball from Ryan Giggs and crossed low for Hernandez to score from close range.

It was a classic United goal and they had plenty more chances in an entertaining first half, including a penalty claim when Hernandez appeared to be sent tumbling following a break-away move.

But Marseille were by no means bystanders and created a string of opportunities themselves.

Andre-Pierre Gignac wasted one wonderful chance when clean through, while Souleymane Diawara should have scored when he headed narrowly wide from a well-worked short-corner.

United had winger Nani back in action ahead of schedule after recovering from a cut in his shin but were without Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand in defence because of calf injuries.

Their defensive worries worsened, too, when substitute Rafael Da Silva was carried off in the second half and John O’Shea departed after only 37 minutes with a hamstring injury.

But fortunately United could still rely on goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar, who saved smartly from Cheyrou after 75 minutes to deny the French side an equaliser.

It proved crucial because seconds later United clinched the tie, Hernandez grabbing his second of the night after substitute Antonio Valencia set up Giggs to cross low into the box.

Hernandez’s calmly side-footed finish was typical of the striker who has now scored 16 goals this season.

Marseille gave the home team a nervy finale after Wes Brown headed a Gonzalez corner into his own net after 83 minutes, despite Paul Scholes’ attempts to clear it off the line.

But United eventually made it safely through and await Friday’s quarter-final draw with interest.

 


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