Manchester United 3-2 Braga: 4 Most Vital Performers in the Huge Win
Manchester United squeezed past Braga 3-2 in the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday.
After going 2-0 down Sir Alex Ferguson had to make some changes, but four huge performances made sure the Red Devils left Old Trafford with three points in the bag.
So who was responsible for preserving United's status atop Group H?
Robin van Persie
Robin van Persie didn't get on the scoresheet tonight, but his overall contribution to the game was nothing short of superb.
It was his dazzling turn that led to Shinji Kagawa's cross, headed in by Javier Hernandez, to give Manchester United a way back into this game.
It was also the Dutchman's brilliance which kept Sir Alex Ferguson's midfield diamond from stuttering to a halt due a lack of options in the first half.
His awareness, movement and teamwork skills are simply incredible.
Tom Cleverley put in yet another admirable shift in an everchanging environment.
He's asked to fulfill different roles every week—be it for Manchester United or the English national team—and tonight he featured centrally in both the 4-4-2 and the diamond midfield.
His work rate was absolutely first-class, running hard to cover the weak points in the diamond during the first half, then hard to play in a two-man midfield against a three-man midfield in the second.
No ball is a lost cause.
Nani's introduction to this game was pivotal—it signaled Manchester United's switch to a 4-4-2 system for width and gave the side added impetus.
Despite Javier Hernandez netting before the break in order to half the deficit, the Red Devils play was still flat and subdued.
When Nani came on, he gave his side a direct threat and had the crowd on their feet from the word go
Finally, we come to Javier Hernandez.
Considering he rarely gets playing time outside the UEFA Champions League, the attitude he shows when he finally gets onto the pitch is first-class.
His two goals this evening were of vital importance—the first allowed Manchester United to claw their way back into the contest, while his second allowed his side to take a long-awaited lead.
While he's renowned for his running of the channels, pace and finishing ability, both goals tonight were excellent headed efforts.
Please check out my other article on this game: Six things we learnt from United's win over Braga