Posts Tagged ‘Nani’

Report: Ronaldo sends United out of Champions League

“MANCHESTER — Cristiano Ronaldo scored the decisive goal as Real Madrid controversially came from behind to win 2-1 at Manchester United on Tuesday and reach the Champions League quarter-finals.”

My AFP match report on Manchester United’s contentious defeat by Real Madrid can be read here. You can also read a reaction piece: Dumbstruck United get Mourinho’s sympathy.

Report: Chelsea avenge United loss in League Cup goalfest

“LONDON — Chelsea claimed partial revenge for their stormy loss to Manchester United at the weekend by prevailing 5-4 when the teams resumed hostilities in an end-to-end fourth-round League Cup tie on Wednesday.”

My round-up of Wednesday’s Capital One Cup fourth-round matches, including an extraordinary encounter at Stamford Bridge, can be read here.

Valencia leads Nani down path to effectiveness

Prior to Sunday, if you typed ‘Nani Arsenal’ into YouTube, the chances are that you would have fallen upon footage of this outlandish piece of showboating during Manchester United’s 4-0 victory over Arsène Wenger’s side in the FA Cup fifth round just under two years ago:

YouTube Preview Image

It raised a huge cheer from the home fans, who always delight in inflicting misery upon their biggest domestic rivals in the style stakes, but in many ways it was typical Nani. The season finished with United winning the league, the Champions League and the Carling Cup but Nani remained on the periphery; a maddeningly inconsistent figure, prone to over-elaboration and more readily associated with exuberant party pieces – and the occasional spectacular goal – than match-winning performances.

There was hope that he would begin to follow the example of Cristiano Ronaldo, but if anything, Ronaldo’s presence on the pitch seemed to inhibit him. Forced to the left by his countryman’s top billing on the opposite flank, Nani was forever checking inside onto his right foot, running into trouble and ducking down blind-alleys. With the ball at his feet he was hesitant, seemingly aware that something special was expected of him but unsure as to what exactly that might be. Too often he went for the easy option, momentarily rousing the crowd with a step-over or a showy backheel, but there was nothing to compare to the rapier-like thrusts of Ronaldo on the other side of the pitch.

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