John O’Shea’s early goal put Manchester United in control of their Champions League semifinal against Arsenal with a 1-0 first-leg win at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
The holders scored in the 17th minute when Irish defender O’Shea rifled in a half-volley from eight yards after Michael Carrick had turned Anderson’s deep corner back across goal.
United dominated the match and can feel they should be travelling to next week’s second leg at the home of their Premier League rivals with a greater advantage. “From our first-half display we maybe should have had a couple more goals, but we have a lead and kept a clean sheet and we know we are capable of scoring a goal at the Emirates,” O’Shea said. “But it’s definitely not over.”
Arsenal’s only real opportunity of the opening period was a shot from Cesc Fabregas which was sliced well wide of goal.
Cristiano Ronaldo headed straight at Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia from a perfect cross by Carlos Tevez, who was handed a surprise start ahead of Dimitar Berbatov. United forward Wayne Rooney also went close after cutting in from the left flank and sending a curling shot just wide of Almunia’s goal.
United went close to doubling their lead when Ryan Giggs sent Ronaldo into space and the Portuguese’s shot from more than 25 yards bounced away off the crossbar.
The hosts were nearly made to pay for their failure to add a second goal when Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner headed wide from Fabregas’s free kick but Arsenal rarely threatened to get a vital away goal.