Red Devils dazzle
Manchester United will face Barcelona in a mouthwatering Champions League final later this month after they fielded a second-string side and still handed Schalke 04 a 4-1 thrashing on Wednesday.sports Updated: May 06, 2011 00:20 IST
Manchester United will face Barcelona in a mouthwatering Champions League final later this month after they fielded a second-string side and still handed Schalke 04 a 4-1 thrashing on Wednesday.
United reached their third European Cup final in four seasons thanks to a 6-1 aggregate demolition of the Germans with two second-half goals from Anderson after Antonio Valencia and Darron Gibson had already put the tie out of reach.
Holding a 2-0 first-leg lead, United made nine changes for the match at Old Trafford to rest players for Sunday's Premier League game with Chelsea and the deputies notched the highest aggregate win ever seen at this stage of the competition.
United manager Alex Ferguson said he expected a "fantastic final" against Barca on May 28 at Wembley where the two teams will be trying to lift their fourth European Cup at the stadium where they each won the trophy for the first time.
Schalke, outclassed for long periods, did get a consolation goal through Jose Manuel Jurado after 35 minutes but the contest felt more like an exhibition match with the German side's coach Ralf Rangnick admitting they were out of their depth.
The home crowd began chanting "We're going to Wem-ber-ley" midway through the first half when Gibson's inch-perfect long pass found Valencia who steered the ball past keeper Manuel Neuer and into the bottom left corner after 26 minutes.
The goal seemed to crush any lingering hope for the visitors and five minutes later they failed to deal with another United surge and only got the ball as far as Gibson who cracked a shot that slipped through the usually reliable Neuer's hands. Three-times winners United won their first European Cup at Wembley in 1968 as did Barcelona in 1992.