By Chris Wright
“See you next summer kiddo”
Watching last night’s Champions League semi-final in Gelsenkirchen raised but one questions to my mind: How in blue blazes have this Schalke side made it through to the last four – laying waste to the reigning champs en route?
Excuse my French, but they were piffle. Much has since been made of Manuel Neuer’s stirring performance, and quite rightly so, but the Schalke stopper was forced into last-ditch action far too many times by the shonky defence deployed in front of him – if they play that poorly at Old Trafford then I’d wager that we can probably expect a mauling.
United dominated the almost completely one-sided semi, emerging victorious by way of two uncontested goals from Ryan Giggs and Wayne Rooney but, in truth, could and perhaps should have won by a landslide – with lapse/unlucky finishing and an excellent, eye-catching outing from zeitgeisty ‘keeper Neuer (how Fergie would love to recruit him this summer) proving to be all that kept the away goal tally in check.
Any thoughts on the game peeps?
Manchester United line up for a team photo before kick-off
Raul hits the deck under pressure from Fabio
Jefferson Farfan sees one fly narrowly wide early in the game
A concerned Sir Alex Ferguson looks on as Wayne Rooney gets to his feet gingerly
Nemanja Vidic leads with his forearm in an aerial battle with Edu
Manuel Neuer stops Javier Hernandez by any means possible
Ji-Sung Park is felled by Kyriakos Papadopoulos’ challenge
Javier Hernandez sends a bristling shot goal-wards
Wayne Rooney is sent sprawling by Christoph Metzelder…
…then lets the German centre-back know all about it
Ji-Sung Park dispossesses Joel Matip with a sliding challenge
Manuel Neuer foils Javier Hernandez from close range
Ryan Giggs slides United in front with the opening goal of the tie…
…only to be mobbed by his teammates
Two minutes later, Wayne Rooney guides a shot past Manuel Neuer to double United’s advantage…
…and runs to celebrate with Javier Hernandez
Peer Kluge takes to the air in an attempt to stop Wayne Rooney in his tracks
Atsuto Uchida and Ryan Giggs battle for the ball in the air
Schalke coach Ralf Rangnick looks on from the sidelines
Christoph Metzelder and Ryan Giggs go shoulder to shoulder
Manuel Neuer saves at the feet of Ji-Sung Park
Dejected Schalke players sink to their haunches at the final whistle
Raul leaves the field wearing Ryan Giggs’ United shirt
Photos courtesy of the PA.