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Rovers 0 United 1


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It is easy to criticise the team, but it is worth remembering that it was not our first 11. We have a small squad and without the likes of Nelson, Reid, Savage we were bound to struggle against most teams, let alone United who are on a winning run.

Take away the fact that Rovers lost, it was exciting and entertaining with both teams playing their part, in poor weather conditions, especially the first half. On the whole the game was hard fought, without any armature dramatics by either side.

Whilst United may have taken all the points thanks to Saha’s goal just after the hour mark, it could easily have gone Rovers way earlier if Nonda’s deflected looping shot had dropped over Van der Sar or if Khizanishvili headed corner hadn’t gone wide.

The game could also have been out of sight for Rovers if Wayne Rooney had put away two glorious chances to score, in the first half. After getting breaking through the defence on 20 minutes, he hit the outside of a post, then on the half hour mark failed to get the final touch to a low Ronaldo cross with the goal at his mercy.

The inevitable United goal came in the 63 minute when O'Shea's right wing cross was turned back across the box by Giggs at the far post, to Saha who made no mistake from 6 yards out.

Rovers could have grabbed a share of the spoils late on when firstly Van der Sar had to punch the ball clear, to stop Benni McCarthy getting on the end of David Bentley's cross. Then in the closing minutes McCarthy fired a Tugay long range pass straight at Van der Sar.

Mark Hughes post match comment:

"No complaints about the result, but I thought we put in a good effort and created a problem for them.

"I think United will go very close this year. They have a lot of pace and power in their team and I think they are more dynamic this season.

"They have also got really good movement in forward areas and I think they will go close, but I was pleased with our performance and if we continue to play like that we will win more than we lose this season."

Rovers: Friedel, Emerton, Ooijer, Khizanishvili, Neill, Bentley (Peter 79), Mokoena, Tugay, Pedersen, Nonda (Jeffers 84), McCarthy.

Subs Not Used: Brown, Henchoz, Gray.

Booked: Mokoena, McCarthy, Khizanishvili, Peter.

United: Van der Sar, Neville (O'Shea 46), Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra (Silvestre 89), Ronaldo (Fletcher 90), Carrick, Scholes, Giggs, Rooney, Saha.

Subs Not Used: Kuszczak, Brown.

Booked: Vidic, Rooney, Evra.

Goal: Saha 64.

Att: 26,162.

Ref: M Riley

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