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United turn it on in style

india Updated: Jul 26, 2008 23:22 IST
Dhiman Sarkar
Dhiman Sarkar
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

The Ryan Giggs right foot is not football's most sought after article but it fetched one goal and almost got another at the Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria on Saturday. Ironically, before either of that happened, it almost led to an own goal.

For Giggs, partnering Wayne Rooney must have been as unusual as playing with Paul Scholes in central midfield. But as in the Vodacom Challenge opener at Newlands one week ago, Giggs showed why many years ago he got Alex Ferguson so excited that the coach called Bobby Charlton over to see a 'special talent'.

This may be the last time Manchester United's most capped player visits South Africa. The calm with which he put Martin Lee's ball away at the far post against Kaizer Chiefs will ensure that the Welshman takes good memories from the place.

Rooney's neat placement and a third by Tom Cleverley meant that even before Carlos Tevez came on, the trophy was on its way to England again after Tottenham Hotspurs won it last year. At a 2010 venue somewhat reminiscent of the Emirates Stadium, Frazier Campbell completed the 4-0 rout.

Before the second and third goals, Giggs could have got another early in the second half but the right hand of Itumeleng Khune, who at 21 is already the Chiefs and South Africa's No 1 goalie, came out just in time. Soon after, he found Craig Catchcart who blasted into the side-netting but this time the measured pass came off the famous left foot.

Giggs was also involved in the final's first build-up but Rooney's wicked chip off his ball from left just went over. When Rooney, sporting a goatee, returned the compliment, again from the left, Giggs played square for Darren Fletcher. That was perhaps the only time United skipper in this game showed hesitation in front of goal. When he came off following a double substitution in the 68th minute, Ferguson put an arm around one of his oldest fledglings.

Playing for the second time in three days and that too after a physical Soweto derby, the Chiefs looked tired but in their red shirts, finally, Manchester United turned it on after the breather in a way that would have made it difficult for the South African giants even if they were at their freshest. They forced a slew of corner-kicks early on and Nemanja Vidic had to clear off the line but you can't stop Manchester United in a province known as the 'Home of Champions', can you?