Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Moyes Heart Vid's Head Gives

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Moyes Heart Vid's Head Gives

Article excerpt

AS farewell presents go, Nemanja Vidic gave United one of the most valuable parting gifts as the valiant Reds defied the odds and the doubters to ensure they will go to Munich next week with hope.

Beforehand, a slaughter of epic Champions League proportions was being predicted for manager David Moyes and his side in some quarters, with the betting favouring the German juggernaut to crush United and make the quarter-final second leg a formality.

But captain Vidic, who is Inter Milan-bound, had designs on recreating some of the glory nights that he has been integral to in the past and shocked Pep Guardiola's dangerous mix of German efficiency and Spanish craft.

It was good old Serbian power that had United fans dreaming for a while at Old Trafford as he headed the Reds into a second-half lead.

Vidic scored his first European goal since he netted against his future employers in Italy on United's way to the 2009 final in Rome.

It revived hopes that, despite this wretched season in England, United could pull off mission impossible in Europe.

Bayern tempered that by replying through Bastian Schweinsteiger but the influential German won't be driving Bayern in the second leg after he was sent off for a second bookable foul on Wayne Rooney in the 90th minute.

United have been erratic of late but has it simply been a fact they are operating at a lesser level for the time being? If, and it is written reluctantly a but truthfully, City and Liverpool are the current yardsticks domestically then Bayern are without doubt the true barometer on both the European and global stage. As Moyes said, this was the ultimate test.

The problem was that just as beating West Brom comprehensively at the Hawthorns was no serious way to measure the Reds before they were taken apart by Liverpool, and beating West Ham at Upton Park was no kind of touchstone before being humiliated against the Blues, neither was the romp against Aston Villa a decent warm-up for facing Guardiola's allconquering machine. Could United finally buck that trend and prove they are actually closer to the elite than they have suggested this campaign? Or should we take a reality check and stop comparing them to United teams of yesteryear? There was certainly some black humour around as one official, who was moving a UEFA sign before the match, was informed that he might as well bin it now as it wouldn't be needed again for some time at Old Trafford.

It was against such a negative backdrop that United went about the task of ensuring they would fly to Munich next week with the tie still alive.

Old Trafford was defiant and raucous at kick-off and hid an air of trepidation. But it was certainly not the atmosphere of confident expectancy normally associated with huge European nights in M16.

Those kind of heady evenings were meat and drink to Rio Ferdinand and Vidic but the last time they were asked to recreate those good old days was on that bleak night at Olympiacos. …

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