Class is class and it matters in football. Manchester United showed their heart and determination in a thrilling comeback victory against Portuguese side Braga after going behind 0-2 at Old Trafford.
The Red Devils have Javier Hernandez to thank, as the Mexican international came in and showed his true potential despite recently having found himself on the outskirts of the club and even rumored to be on the move in January. Chicharito has played only five matches in the Premier League this season and started just once. The other games he’s come in towards the end of the match as a substitute with little effect to his participation. However, Hernandez scored a brace and the match winner to bookend Johnny Evans’ equalizer.
Braga surprised Man United with an early goal in the second minute and were able to extend the lead in the 20th minute before Manchester United took the game into their own hands as they pressed to fight their way back into the match. The Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie pairing in attack was easy to predict and Braga took advantage of it until the Red Devils found their game. In the 25th minute Chicharito struck, scoring a header after a beautiful pass from Kagawa after Van Persie lost the ball whilst being fouled. After the first goal for United, the winning mentality was clear to see as the club eventually climbed back on to. As manager Sir Alex Ferguson said after the game, “comebacks were the story of their season.” They have come back from behind six times this season to achieve results and Braga didn’t seem to have that in mind as they started to play back mostly in their field attempting a game of keep away in the face of an opponent looking for any mistake to pounce on.
That strategy did not work in the second half as Manchester United reformed to a 4-4-2 adding wingers to once again pay homage to the heritage of the club and the legacy of Sir Alex Ferguson’s tactical reign at Old Trafford. Rooney went to play on the left while Nani, came in for Shinji Kagawa to play on the right. United’s defense was weak in the beginning and didn’t improve all that much throughout the game but the team’s strength in attack was enough to balance the match. As long as they could outscore the opponent, they were sure to get the three points. United had lost the ball easily in the beginning and didn’t seem to know where they were going. Both goals were a result of shocking defensive errors and the goalkeeper David De Gea proved his inexperience when he gave away a corner kick for Braga when it could have easily been avoided.
Braga had keeping the ball nicely in the first half but could not repeat the same performance in the second. Overcoming the sloppy organization in the beginning, Man United managed possession much more closely in the second half and the patience of Rooney on the pitch finally saw the forward find space and his touch begin to improve. Although Man United played as a team, Hernandez was clearly the standout on the squad. His finishing touch, eye for the ball, and awareness showed him to be be remarkable all over the pitch and it was only fair that he was named “Man of the Match.”
Manchester United are now on top of Group H with the maximum nine points from their opening three matches of the group stage and now look to lock down a position in the knockout stages with at least one more full point gaining result..
As BBC reports, Hernandez has now presented a dilemma for Ferguson. With the two goals he scored today, he is coming out of Rooney and Van Persie’s shadow this season. Ferguson now has to consider having the Mexican in the starting lineup for the match against Chelsea on Sunday at Stamford Bridge with the Blues set to be licking their wounds from a crushing 2-1 defeat at the hands of Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk.