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Van Persie rescues United with hat trick
March 19th, 2014 7:35PM

TAGS:  manchester united, uefa champions league


[UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] All alone, Robin Van Persie may have saved Manchester United coach David Moyes' job, rescuing United from an embarrassing exit in the UEFA Champions League with a hat trick to lead it to a 3-0 win over Olympiakos that reversed a 2-0 loss in Piraeus and sent it along the tournament's other seven seeds into Friday's quarterfinal draw.

UCL, Final Eight
Atletico Madrid
Bayern Munich
Bor. Dortmund
Man. United
Paris SG
Real Madrid
Note: Draw will take place Friday at 7 a.m. ET.

Amid reports that management was considering replacing Moyes, its first-year coach, United came out and captured its biggest victory of the season. Van Persie scored from the penalty spot and off a pass from Wayne Rooney in the first half to even the series at 2-2 and put United in the lead with a free kick six minutes after the break that fooled the Olympiakos keeper Roberto.

"There were no passengers tonight, everyone fought their corner and we played some really good football," Moyes said after the win took some of the sting out of Sunday's 3-0 loss at home to Liverpool. "It's especially pleasing as we did not play well in the first leg in Greece but came back strongly tonight. We might not be favorites to win the Champions League this season but if we go into the quarterfinals as underdogs that's fine by me. With this squad this club can be more than a match for anyone."

Van Persie was injured late in the game, though, when he was hit behind the knee but Moyes said he was "hopeful it was not too bad".

Borussia Dortmund, last year's runner-up, moved into the final eight despite a 2-1 loss at home to Zenit St Petersburg. A 4-2 win in Russia was enough of a cushion to return to the final eight.

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