LNTUP

Wonderstrike from the ‘Wonderkid’ silences the Ballaidos

Photo: Getty Images
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Celta de Vigo 0-1 Manchester United(Rashford 66′). Rashford’s freekick gives Mourinho’s men the vital away goal to take home from a thoroughly insipid encounter.

It was not the match to feed your eyes, it was not the match which could keep the Orientals awake till early morning, it was not the match on which a football-romantic could pen a poem down but it was the match which could prove to be a great learning experience for a future manager, it was the match from which an observer of the game might acquire inspiration to add just one more chapter to his book on football tactics, and finally it was the match which re-established the tactical genius of Jose Mourinho, perhaps!

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Looking back into the match, one wonders what exactly to write upon it as it was one of the least eventful ninety minutes of football you would ever see.

The match started with both sides having their fare share of touches and passes but none were innovative enough to push their movements into the opponent’s box.

The first notable move came on the nineteenth minute when Marcus Rashford took a long ranger which needed a Sergio Alvarez save to tip it over.

On the 36th minute, a golden opportunity fell before Jese Lingard as he had only the Celta custodian between him and the goal but he hit straight to the keeper much to the agony of the visiting fans. These are the nights when a boy becomes a man but the United academy product failed to justify his payscale, a trend that would prevail throughout the match.

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The first half ended goalless and the display forced both the managers to pressurise their vocal cords in the locker room during the break.

The start of the latter half was promising though. Both sets of players began the half on a fast note. Paul Pogba took a audacious shot on the 50th minute but it sailed above the bar much to the relief of the Ballaidos crowd who surprisingly also remained nervy throughout the match much like their eleven representatives on the field.

The next ten minutes saw the Galician side change their gear and test the Inter bound Argentine custodian of their guests.

The tricky backhead by Iago Aspas stopped the heartbeat of every United fan for a moment as it left Sergio Romero motionless to see the ball edge past his post luckily, letting him heave a sigh of relief. The former Liverpool man probably could not have done any better in that occasion.

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On the 58th minute, Sisto took a brilliant shot but Sergio Romero was athletic enough to fingerpoke the sphere as it went out kissing the bar much to the relief of the Portuguese sitting in the dugout. It was the closest that the Spanish side would come to score.

On the 65th minute, Marcus Rashford, the schoolkid from Manchester won a freekick just outside the box. Both Daley Blind and Rashford prepared themselves to take the shot confusing Sergio Alvarez on whether to make a wall for a left footer or a right footer. The plan worked properly as the positioning of neither the wall nor the goalkeeper was intelligent enough and Rashford did just what the doctor ordered ie. curve the ball into the far post and make the net reasonate! The boy just has passed one more level in his quest to become the man from a boy.

The celebrations in the United dugout spoke volumes of the magnitude of the strike and it was not more evident in anyone than the body-language of the former interpreter of Bobby Robson at Catalunya, the self proclaimed ‘Special one’!

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The remaining minutes saw what was expected from a Mourinho side. Instead of going for more glory, settling in for what you have and securing it.

No, there was not any bus parked, there was not many ‘unnecessary’ square passes but still they managed to keep the cleansheet and snatch the vital away goal in a ground from where even the mighty Barcelona side had to return empty-handed previously.

Yes, it could have been more beautiful, it could have been more creative, it could have been more imposing from Mourinho’s men. But such Venusian staffs are not what matters to Jose Mourinho, what matters to the Portuguese are the more Saturnic and Martial traits of perseverance and diligence.

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So, the football pundits may raise their voice and put forth their concerns on this not-so-impressive display by United but that one goal cushion will be enough for Mourinho to have a deep nap upon tonight. Amidst all the criticisms and concerns, the lovestory between ‘The special one’ and the ‘1-0 scoreline’ continues!