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Played
October 23, 2012 7:45 PM BST
Old Trafford — Manchester
Referee:‬ M. Mažić‎
Attendance:‬ 73195‎
 
Top of the Match
Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez
Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez
Man Utd.
Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez
Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez
Man Utd.
Flop of the Match
Alexander Büttner
Alexander Büttner
Man Utd.
Alexander Büttner
Alexander Büttner
Man Utd.

Manchester United 3-2 Braga: Chicharito double completes magnificent turnaround

The Red Devils continued their bad habit of conceding early, Alan with two first-half strikes, but the Mexican forward inspired a recovery to maintain momentum in Group H

By George Ankers

UEFA Champions League : Javier Hernandez , Manchester United and Braga
Getty Images
A Chicharito-inspired Manchester United recovered from an early sucker-punch to beat Braga 3-2 in their Champions League clash at Old Trafford, extending their lead at the top of Group H to five clear points.

Alan scored in the second and 20th minutes to rock the Red Devils but the Mexican's double, either side of a Jonny Evans equaliser, rescued all three points.

Sir Alex Ferguson followed through on his pre-match talk of implementing a diamond, Wayne Rooney captaining the side from its forward point and Michael Carrick beating Scott Wootton to a start at centre-back.

The makeshift nature of the defence showed, however, when Alan profited from badly disorganised marking to rise and head home within just two minutes from Hugo Viana's cross.

The visitors had arrived fearless and they doubled their lead on 20 minutes, this time exploiting Carrick. Eder skinned the England man on the left touchline and darted inside to cut a pass back into the box, where Alan stabbed home for his second.

Braga's two-goal cushion lasted all of five minutes and it was thanks to a smart piece of refereeing that United got their riposte. Serbian official Milorad Mazic indicated an advantage when Robin van Persie was fouled on the left flank but Shinji Kagawa picked up the loose ball and dinked a cross for Chicharito, who was onside at the far post to head into the net.

Both teams pushed for more, Van Persie firing wide with his right foot at one end before Alan nearly exploited more uneasy defending by volleying just past the post. Kagawa's movement saw him break past the back line but, just as he rolled it to the unmarked Chicharito, the Japanese was harshly flagged for offside.

Needing to seize control of an open contest after half-time, United had to replace the injured Kagawa with Nani, flattening their diamond formation accordingly. Possession did indeed come more easily but penetration slightly less so as the Braga rearguard held their own.

The breakthrough came from a poorly cleared corner, however, which fell to Evans. The defender scuffed his first attempt but it bobbled back to him and a scruffy finish was enough to beat Beto and send the game level.

Buoyed, United pushed for more and, after setting Nani up for a saved stinger, the excellent Chicharito got further reward for a superb performance. The Mexican powerfully headed home from a pinpoint delivery by Tom Cleverley, another bright spark in the turnaround.

Braga had looked deflated ever since Evans' euqaliser and never really threatened to get back into proceedings, even when David de Gea's risky pass to Cleverley opened things up. Ruben Amorim's first touch deserted him, however, and the opportunity fell flat. In the end, Sir Alex's men were comfortable in their victory.


Man Utd.

1
David de Gea
Goalkeeper
3.00
2
Rafael
Defender
3.00
6
Jonny Evans
Defender
62′
2.50
28
1.50
16
Michael Carrick
Midfielder
2.50
23
Tom Cleverley
Midfielder
75′
3.00
24
Darren Fletcher
Midfielder
3.00
10
Wayne Rooney
Striker
3.50
20
3.00
26
Shinji Kagawa
Midfielder
25′ 46′
3.00

Sporting Braga

2.50
-
Beto
Goalkeeper
2.50
4
Nuno Coelho
Defender
2.50
21
3.00
6
Ruben Amorim
Midfielder
80′
3.00
17
Rubén Micael
Midfielder
88′
2.50
25
Leandro Salino
Midfielder
3.00
27
Custodio
Midfielder
2.50
45
Hugo Viana
Midfielder
2′
4.00
17
Éder
Striker
20′
4.00
30
Alan
Striker
2′ 20′ 86′

Substitutes

50
Sam Johnstone
Goalkeeper
 - 
5
 - 
8
Anderson
Midfielder
 - 
11
Ryan Giggs
Midfielder
79′
 - 
17
Nani
Midfielder
46′
3.00
18
Ashley Young
Midfielder
 - 
19
 - 

Substitutes

 - 
-
Quim
Goalkeeper
 - 
15
Baiano
Defender
 - 
48
 - 
8
Mossóro
Striker
86′
 - 
10
 - 
-
Michel
Striker
 - 
-
Zé Luís
Striker
88′

Coach/Manager

-
 - 

Coach/Manager

 - 
-
 
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  • Own Goal
  • Penalty
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  • Yellow Card
  • Assist
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  • Penalty Shootout Miss
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  • Red Card
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  • Substitution OUT
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  • Goal.com Flop of the Match
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  • Fans' Flop of the Match
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
C. Ronaldo C. Ronaldo
Striker
Real Madrid
14 1
Zlatan Ibrahimovic Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Striker
PSG
10 1
Messi Messi
Striker
Barcelona
8 2
Diego Costa Diego Costa
Striker
Atl. Madrid
7 0
Sergio Agüero Sergio Agüero
Striker
Manchester City
6 2