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United Snaps Champions League Away Slump

Believe it or not, last night's 1-0 win over Benfica at the Estadio da Luz in Lisbon was Manchester United's first away win in the Champions League since a Diego Forlan match-winner against Panathinaikos back in November 2003. That makes yesterday's victory doubly sweet, because not only has it been a long time since United actually won away from home in the Champions League, but it achieved the result against Benfica, the team that dumped Manchester United out of the competition in the first round last year. A fantastic strike from Louis Saha following a classic Manchester United counterattack was all that separated the teams last night, although both Darren Fletcher and Michael Carrick had point-blank shots saved by Benfica's Quim in the final minutes. Wins against FC Copenhagen in United's next two games there would leave United firmly at the top of Group F with 12 points, and almost assuredly into the next round. Sir Alex Ferguson was quick to heap praise on Saha, who had been alone up top for large stretches of the game, while Wayne Rooney, in another quixotic performance, toiled in midfield and at times, defense. Cristiano Ronaldo, on the other hand, had another fantastic match, providing the assist for Saha's 60th minute goal. Ronaldo played bravely despite the loud taunting of the Portuguese fans. Said Ferguson: "Ronaldo has been fantastic all season. The boy has had to endure a lot of public criticism and has risen above it with great courage. Next time Portugal play those people will be kissing his feet."

Read the whole story at The Independent »

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