By Chris Wright
The secret’s out, the jib’s up. Inter Milan’s quarter-final side was obviously just a hotch-potch of ringers. Ringers bought in on day release from the local hospice for the elderly and infirm.
If not, then pray tell – how else did Schalke manage to destroy the reigning champions by a 7-2 margin over two legs? No doubt about it, they’re a decent enough side, but ‘latter stages of the Champions League’ quality? No way Jose.
United’s ‘B’ string barely had to break sweat last night (Christ, even Anderson managed to bag himself a brace!) to stave off their opponents and still put four past the lower-than-mid-ranking Bundesliga side, thus landing themselves with a yawning 6-1 aggregate victory.
Once again, Schalke didn’t do themselves justice – playing, ironically enough, like a side ranked 10th in the Bundesliga throughout, despite Manuel Jurado bagging the goal of the night, salvaging a smidgen of pride with a superbly struck consolation.
That said, United’s next game promises to be a little tougher; Barcelona, Wembley, May 28th.
Michael Carrick, Rio Ferdinand, Wayne Rooney and Owen Hargreaves take their seats in the stands
Darron Gibson receives treatment on the pitch after being thwacked in the ribs by Jefferson Farfan
Luis Valencia celebrates opening the scoring for United
Darron Gibson puts United two up, with Manuel Neuer dropping a bollock in his attempts to divert the Northern Irishman’s fierce shot
Edwin van der Sar celebrates Darron Gibson’s goal with gusto
Schalke fans light flares in the stands
Rafael and Raul battle for an aerial ball
Manuel Neuer intervenes as Nani attempts a spectacularly offside bicycle kick
Anderson spins and fires to score United’s third of the evening…
…then rolls home Dimitar Berbatov’s unselfish square-ball to cap the rout – duly doubling his goal-tally for United in the process
Raul trudges from the field after the final whistle…
…as United celebrate booking themselves a place alongside Barcelona in the Champions League final
Photos courtesy of the PA.