UEFA Champions League: Manchester United Player Ratings Against Braga
United were given more than a scare on Tuesday night from a Braga side who coasted into a 2-0 lead after some dreadful defending from an unfamiliar back four with Rio Ferdinand and Patrice Evra both resting.
Nevertheless, this should have been a lot easier than the Reds made it. They were grateful to Javier Hernandez who showed just why he was one of the Premier League's hottest strikers two years ago.
But the result was eventually a good one, giving United maximum points from their opening two games and giving Sir Alex Ferguson's men firm control of Group H.
Here's how they rated:
David de Gea - 5
Couldn't do much about the two goals conceded but tried desperately to make it a third with a lazy short pass to Michael Carrick that could well have cost United two points. Ferguson's rotation policy clearly looks to have affected the Spaniard.
Rafael da Silva - 6.5
Probably the most improved player at United this season and rightly so. However, both goals came from his side. Still looks better going forward than at the back, and with Braga defending much deeper in the second half, it enabled the Brazilian to do what he does best.
Michael Carrick - 6
Not in his natural position but should have done better when Eder ghosted past him to set up Alan's second of the night. Provided the all-important flick-on for Jonny Evans' equaliser
Jonny Evans - 6.5
Could only watch Alan's second of the night from Eder's pullback and showed a distinct lack of cohesion with the makeshift back four. But scored the all-important equaliser and his first at Old Trafford, profiting from Carrick's flick-on.
Alexander Buttner - 5
Endured a nightmare start to his Champions League career by allowing Alan to get in front him and power a header home, leaving Old Trafford in silence. Looked a bit more composed in the second half and showed promise going forward but will not remember this game fondly.
Shinji Kagawa - 6
Lovely ball for Hernandez's goal but hasn't been the electric player he was at the start of the season. Linked up well with van Persie but subbed at halftime for Nani due to a knee injury with maybe with one eye on the weekend's clash with Chelsea.
Darren Fletcher - 6
Steady performance from Fletcher as he continues his rehabilitation from illness. Nothing flashy but covered plenty of ground and didn't give the ball away. Made some good runs down the flanks when United broke away in the second half.
Tom Cleverley - 8
Will United Win the Champions League this season?
United are better with him in the side. Calm and collected on the ball, Cleverley continues to make important contributions since his return from injury. Magnificent ball for Hernandez's second. The natural replacement for Paul Scholes, it will be interesting to see if he makes that starting lineup at the weekend.
Wayne Rooney - 6
Was a case of "after the Lord Mayor's show" for Rooney following his double against Stoke. Was a little off the pace throughout the game and didn't have the same cohesion with van Persie that he displayed over the last few weeks.
Javier Hernandez - 9
Looked like a man on a mission and took his first goal very well, although the keeper should have done better. Almost the forgotten man at Old Trafford but was far more direct on this occasion and reaped the rewards. Provided a beautiful ball to put Nani clear, but his shot was well-saved by Beto. Made no mistake for his second goal of the night with a well-timed header from Cleverley's pinpoint cross—Man of the Match
Robin van Persie - 6.5
Not van Persie's best night and looked a little jaded after his contributions over the weekend. Nevertheless was a constant target throughout and did brilliantly in the build up to United's first. Should have made it 4-2 late on but shot over after being found by Nani.
Nani (for Kagawa) - 8
Gave the side a much-needed injection of pace and width that was distinctly lacking in the first half. Wanted the ball and made important runs in dangerous areas. Was the catalyst for United's comeback and will certainly be pushing for a start at Chelsea.
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