Every once in a while soccer offers big surprises like afairly unknown team new to the UEFA Champions League beats one of the favoritesor one of the title contenders fails to advance after the group stages. CFRCluj from Romania represents the former, Manchester Unites – the latter.
Such surprises rarely happen and it’s unlikely that, whenthese two teams meet on Oct. 2 at the Stadionul Dr. Constantin RădulescuStadium in Romania, there is going to be a surprise. Still, the Red Devils needto be careful given their last performances in the Premier League and in theChampions League last week.
CFR Cluj are outsiders in Group H. The expectations of themare not high and they play at home. These two conditions make them a team withnot much to lose and, therefore, dangerous. They are currently in first placeafter winning 2-0 against Braga. Manchester United is second beatingGalatasaray 1-0.
CFR Cluj may have started with a comfortable win but thematch wasn’t easy for them. They didn’t have possession of the ball throughoutmost of the game, only 35 percent actually, and had just four attempts ontarget compared to 23 for Braga.
Man United had more trouble keeping the one-goal leadagainst Galatasary. Nani missed a penalty and the game throughout was prettyeven. The problem is that they played at home and their start was, needless tosay, unconvincing. The Red Devils are in more trouble considering their captainNemanja Vidic will miss the next eight weeks recovering from a knee surgery.Man United manager Sir Alex Ferguson can now choose only between Ferdinand andJonny Evans as the center halves.
Wayne Rooney could return this week, RTE Sports reports.Even if he does, he probably won’t be at his 100 percent because he has notplayed for a month. Man United should not worry though as striker Robin vanPersie has impressed scoring five goals in five matches in the Premier League.Van Persie however is missing one thing Rooney isn’t – inspiration. Playingagainst Liverpool, Man United won but was not the better team on the pitch.They lacked motivation and focus. They didn’t control the game at any point.
Still, they are better than CFR Cluj in terms of talent. TheRomanian team plays smart tactically. They don’t take unnecessary risks andhave strong defense backed by the wingers. CFR Cluj will likely play patientlytrying to force Man United into making mistakes and count on counter attacks.
Neither CFR Cluj nor Manchester United have impressed withtheir game so far. I don’t expect a lot of goals unless the Red Devils havegone through some kind of transformation after the Liverpool lucky win. CFRCluj 1 (because they play at home), Manchester United 2.
The Author of this article is Hristina Tisheva
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