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UEFA Champions League
December 5, 2012
• Old Trafford, Manchester
Referee: D. Orsato
• Attendance: 71521
Luis Alberto 56'
It's not the ideal preparation for United ahead of their crunch game against rivals City, but it was a heavily depleted side put out by Sir Alex Ferguson, and their normal first team should be well-rested for Sunday.
And that's it, all over. United are beaten in their final game of the group stage thanks to an excellent strike from Luis Alberto. It is heartbreak for Cluj, though, who are knocked out despite their win at Old Trafford.
90' + 5'
Macheda nods the ball on for Chicharito, but a great block sees the ball fly out, and it's cleared against Jones for a goal kick.
90' + 4'
Buttner's cross is collected in by Felgueiras, and it's nearly all over...
90' + 3'
Yellow CardMário Felgueiras
90' + 3'
Felgueiras is shown a yellow card for time-wasting. A blot on his otherwise excellent night.
90' + 2'
90' + 2'
Scholes has an effort deflected, and Macheda attempts to turn it goalwards but it loops well-over.
Yellow CardPaul Scholes
Scholes clatters into Matias Aguirregaray and picks up his usual booking.
Cluj are defending doggedly here, and clearing everything that comes their way.United could probably do with pushing some defenders up, nothing to lose now.
United pushing with the addition of Darren Fletcher from the bench, but it's just not falling for them. Chicharito can't bring the ball down and it bobbles to Felgueiras, who has faced 20 shots, 10 of which have been on target.
Jones gets in behind, with Giggs chipping it in to him. Jones' ball across is well-cleared for a corner. The ball is whipped in by Giggs, but a foul is given for holding.
Scholes lines up a shot on the edge of the area before jinking past a challenge, but sees his through ball just cut out before it reaches Macheda.
The tempo has slowed considerably at Old Trafford. United are still pushing for a goal, but Felgueiras has claimed the past couple of crosses very well.
Another corner for United, but it's a poor delivery again, cleared at the front post. United hang onto the ball before spreading it wide, and with everyone on the edge of the area, Rooney fires in a shot from distance that is easily held by Felgueiras.
Giggs whips it in well, but no-one can get a header on it, and Felgueiras clears well again.
Phil Jones is cynically blocked off by Ionut Rada, and United have a free kick in a dangerous position.
United are now dominating, as you would expect, with every player bar David de Gea in the Cluj half.
Rooney threads a ball through for Federico Macheda, but the striker (recently on from the bench) cannot get to the pass before Felgueiras, who has had a very good game tonight.
United break well down the right, with Jones and Rooney combining. Jones attempts to chip a ball into the box but it is blocked behind by Felgueiras.
Scholes hits an effort from distance, but doesn't catch it properly and it flies high and wide.
Rui Pedro comes back on to a chorus of boos from the home crowd. He looked to have bumped into Giggs' elbow when attempting a spin, but perhaps his pride was more dented than his back after he lost the ball needlessly.
That could have been controversial. Rui Pedro goes down (as if he's been shot) when Giggs makes a standing tackle on him. United break, with Rooney firing in a cross that Giggs hits on the half-volley but it is blocked. Luis Alberto then remonstrates with the England striker for not putting the ball out of play.
United are looking a lot slower in the second half, and are definitely lacking width beyond Buttner on the left. Welbeck is offering a bit of impetus when he gets the ball, but Rooney is looking a little wasted on the right.
Powell clashes heads with Muresan, and is off the pitch receiving treatment again.
Luis Alberto seems to have let his goal go to his head. He tries to catch out De Gea from 45 yards, with his shot not getting over three feet in the air before arcing wide. Not a good effort.
Buttner does well to get a cross in from the left but Rooney's looping header lands on top of the net, though Felgueiras had it covered.
Welbeck rampages through the midfield towards the defence, and is given a shove in the back but nothing is given, much to his disbelief. The travelling supporters are now creating plenty of buzz in the corner.
GOAL! What a strike from Luis Alberto! United have had plenty of warnings about shots from distance, with Muresan seeing an effort dip just over moments before. For this one though, Alberto proceeds unchallenged in United's half before unleashing an effort from 30 yards that swings curls outwards and pings in off the post, giving De Gea absolutely no chance.
Powell bends the ball in towards the far post and just about makes it to Rooney, but he can't get any proper contact on the ball and it trickles to the keeper.
Wootton makes his first real mistake of the night, seeing Rui Pedro nick the ball past him, but it is eventually cleared by Jones.
It's now opening up a bit more for both teams. Scholes sees an effort from distance blocked, but it looks like it will be an entertaining second half, if a little short on quality.
Some sloppy play from United, giving the ball away twice in their own half, with Giggs nicking the ball back. It's not been very fluent from the hosts.
Powell is brought down on the edge of the box and it's a yellow card for Cadu, the Cluj defender. Rooney tries to bend a delicate free kick in but it is straight at the wall.
After some good interplay between Welbeck and Chicharito, the latter is brought down with a free kick from around 30 yards awarded to the hosts. It's rolled to Buttner, but he doesn't get a hold of his strike and it flies over.
United get us back underway at Old Trafford.
As it stands, Cluj are going through to the knockout phase with Braga beating Galatasaray 1-0 at the moment.
Half-time at Old Trafford, and both sides leave the field to a decidedly quiet atmosphere. Chances for both sides could have seen an opener, but a couple of misses for the visitors and a good tackle from Wootton ensured that De Gea wasn't tested too heavily, while some good saves from Felgueiras and a bad miss from Smalling means it is all square at the break.
45' + 2'
United's central midfield of Scholes and Giggs now has a combined age of 77, by the way.
45' + 1'
Rui Pedro has an effort from the edge of the box, but it is well over De Gea's crossbar.
Giggs draws a breath of excitement from the crowd with an inventive back heel, before Scholes is eventually brought on for Cleverley, who heads straight for the treatment room.
Paul Scholes is being readied to enter the fray before half-time, which would seem to be an injury problem for one of the midfield.
Rooney whips in a corner that Welbeck nods goalwards, and Felgueiras makes a great instinctive stop on his goal line. The keeper was off balance and popped it over. Rooney then tries to chip the keeper, and it is another great save, while Chicharito whips in a cross that Smalling manages to head wide from only four yards! The hosts should be ahead.
Chance for United. Welbeck finds Cleverley in space, with the midfielder playing it in for Chicharito, but the striker just can't get to it ahead of Felgueiras.
Camora's cross is cleared behind for a corner that he takes himself. It's a good delivery and Piccolo connects with a header but it's at De Gea and he makes a decent stop low down.
Bastos goes down in the box claiming a penalty, but Smalling was merely marshalling him as the ball went straight to De Gea.
Welbeck ghosts past a couple of players in midfield, using his pace to get past one and a nice spin on another before finding Rooney, but his cross from the right is easily cleared.
Muresan hits an effort from distance, but it goes a long way over. There is a slight delay with the keeper saying the ball is flat, before he receives a replacement.
Chance again for Sougou. Jones slips, allowing Camora in down the right, and he puts a great ball in at the front post, but Sougou can't direct his shot on target, and though he claims for a corner it isn't given.
Welbeck puts the defenders under pressure, wins the ball and Cleverley is through, but he takes a touch too much before Felgueiras is out to block! Rooney then whips in a ball that is knocked back in by Jones. Powell again scuffs an effort, and Smalling heads over from six yards, but is flagged offside anyway. A good couple of minutes for the hosts.
Powell cuts in from the left and takes a pop at goal, but it is a weak effort and drifts wide for a goal kick.
The corner is blocked back out, and driven in again brilliantly but Rooney is there to put it behind again from inside his own six yard box. This one is calmly caught by De Gea. Some nervy moments for the hosts though.
Huge chance for Cluj! Modou Sougou is put through on goal, and with most of United's defence claiming for offside, Scott Wootton gets in a vital challenge to block the shot behind for a corner.
Powell is now back on, and played a very nice pass to the Mexican striker. A chance then falls for the English midfielder, who scuffs his shot slightly and claims handball as it strikes a defender, but the referee waves it on.
Powell is up and about, but still looking pretty sore. He is now off the pitch receiving treatment.
Nick Powell is down on the ground after a heavy coming-together, and looks to be holding his ribs.
Cluj keeper Mario Felgueiras is closed down by Welbeck, and as the striker looks to tackle him, he feints and shows the England international a clean set of heels before clearing. Nice work.
Cluj look to be shooting whenever they get an opportunity to do so tonight. Rafael Bastos attempts to do that, but Ryan Giggs puts in a good sliding tackle. The Cluj player goes down, and the ball is put out until he recovers.
Tom Cleverley works the ball well from left-to-right before finding Wayne Rooney. The striker's cross from the wing is deflected back out to him, but he aims a wild shot with his left foot that flies over.
United have started at a bit of a pedestrian pace, as they so often have this season. Cluj are waiting until the hosts get to the halfway line to close them down, but are then doing so quite well.
United almost give away a goal very simply. Chris Smalling can't clear it and a cross is deflected goalwards by the defender, but David de Gea gets just enough on it to block it before Phil Jones heads behind for a corner that is well-cleared.
United earn a corner that is driven in to the near post by Giggs and Welbeck gets on the end of it but the angle is too tight to direct it on target.
It's whipped in low, but Danny Welbeck clears with ease.
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is in the stands tonight alongside David Gill, and has just seen his side give away a free kick in a dangerous space on their left flank.
United have started with Phil Jones in the right-back position, and Wayne Rooney on the right wing as expected. They're keeping the ball well at the moment, with Nick Powell in an advanced role on the left flank.
And Cluj get us underway.
We are just five minutes away from kick-off, and the teams are about to come out onto the pitch, with Ryan Giggs looking very relaxed as captain of the hosts.
And the Cluj side - Starting XI: Felgueiras; Pinto, Cadu, Piccolo, Rada; Alberto, Muresan; Sougou, Pedro, Camora; Bastos. Subs: Stancioiu, Sepsi, Kapetanos, Maftei, Bjelanovic, Godemeche, Aguirregaray.
Here is the Manchester United team for you: Starting XI: De Gea; Smalling, Jones, Wootton, Buttner; Cleverley, Powell, Giggs; Welbeck, Hernandez, Rooney. Subs: Lindegaard, Rafael, Young, Scholes, Fletcher, Vermijl, Macheda.
Hello, and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE! coverage of the Champions League clash between Manchester United and CFR Cluj at Old Trafford!
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