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Man United's Missed Opportunity
The Independent, November 27th, 2006 4:12PM
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It was a pulsating top-of-the-table clash, but ultimately, the stalemate that was Manchester United's 1-1 draw with Chelsea at Old Trafford will go down as a missed opportunity for the home team. "If I was in their position, I would be very frustrated," Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said. "Man United lost a big, big chance to make a six-point advantage." Sir Alex Ferguson agreed. "You've got to be consistent and beat teams if you want to win championships. This was a big opportunity for us to open up a six-point gap but we haven't done it and Chelsea are delighted with that," the United manager said, although he insisted that his side was better on the day. And it was, for the first hour at least. The first half was all United, and a fantastic piece of precision finishing by Louis Saha gave the Red Devils a deserved lead after 30 minutes. It was an important goal for the forward, particularly after the head-in-the-clouds kind of night he suffered against Celtic in midweek, when he badly missed a late penalty that would have sent United through to the next round of the Champions League. This time, the Frenchman composed himself, made a couple of fakes, and then curled the ball from 20 yards around Carlo Cudicini at the near post. Just after the break, United spurned two great chances to make it 2-0, and then Chelsea took control of the game. Frank Lampard lodged in a couple of near misses from distance and then on 69 minutes his corner kick found Ricardo Carvalho at the back post. The Portugal defender let fly a powerful header that came off Saha's attempted clearance, ultimately beating Edwin van der Sar, who looked poised to save Carvalho's effort but for the interference. As Mourinho noted, United's schedule from here on in looks more difficult, with away games at Everton, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea coming up in the second half of the season. Read the original story...


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