Greetings and thanks for joining me on this live blog of today’s Champions League semifinal between Manchester United and Schalke.
I’ll be updating here on the blog with my thoughts throughout the game, and I encourage you all to join the conversation in the comments section of the blog. I can try to respond to questions or whatever else as the game goes on. Please also check out the photo gallery of the game.
FINAL: Manchester United 2 - Schalke 0. A deserved win for United, and you could say it should have been worse. Schalke didn’t have enough to handle United’s ability today, and now they face a huge uphill battle going back to Englad for the second leg.
Thanks for joining me on the blog today. Sorry again for the late technical difficulties.
82’ - Sorry guys have had some technical difficulties. Some subs have happened in the meantime. For Schalke: Escudero on for Sarpei and Draxler for Jurado. For United: Anderson for Hernandez, Scholes for Park and Nani for Rooney.
69’ - GOAL! It’s opened the floodgates. This time it’s Rooney finishing a pass touched too easily through by Hernandez to double the lead. 2-0 Manchester United.
67’ - GOAL! Manchester United finally gets a deserved goal. Rooney with a nice no-look pass threaded through the middle to Giggs, who makes no mistake this time and gives United the 1-0 lead.
63’ - Schalke with a chance here off a corner kick, Raul lofts cross toward far post to force another corner kick. Would be amazing if Schalke took a lead here because it’s been all United through the first hour-plus. Pressure cleared, though.
53’ - First substitution of the match and it’s Schalke: Peer Kluge, a defensive midfielder, on for Alexander Baumjohann.
51’ - A shot finally gets past Neuer, but Chicharito is offside. Still 0-0.
50’ - You have to wonder how long Manchester United can go along squandering chances before something happens against the run of play. Too many opportunities being squandered (Giggs’ right-footed shank of shot inside 18-yard box a few minutes ago is prime example).
47’ - Once again Neuer makes a save on a solid Manchester United chance, this time an Evra header off a free kick. Earns United a corner, but danger is cleared.
FIRST HALF after the jump...
45’ - An unbelievable save by Neuer on Giggs in the dying stages of the first half to keep it scoreless. One on one and Neuer gets his glove down to parry away shot. Manchester United 0 - Schalke 0 at halftime.
Red Devils have to be upset they didn’t bury at least one of their numerous chances. Will it come back to bite them in second half?
40’ - Just heard Raul’s name. First time all night. Indication of how little Schalke has put together going at goal.
36’ - Again, Manchester United pushing, pushing, pushing in front of Neuer’s goal but unable to punish Schalke. You can’t let a team hang in like this, United need to finish, but they are dictating the pace right now. A solid chance there for Chicharito, which bounced around and led to several rebounds, but still 0-0.
26’- No argument: Manchester United is well in control of this game so far. Generating a ton of chances through Rooney and Chicharito, with Chicharito’s most recent miss wide of the far post yet another example. If rhythm continues this way you have to believe it’s a matter of time for the young Mexican striker before he finishes one.
14’- Wow Chicharito with a golden chance as the flag stays down and rightly so. Neuer gets big and makes save, and it should be 1-0 Manchester United but remains scoreless.
13’- Yes, dimesmakedollars, I think the decision to leave the attacking-minded Nani on the bench has more to do with having some defensive cover in the away leg than anything. Park provides that.
6’- Great curling ball from Valencia gives Chicharito a chance, the second solid opportunity for Manchester United in the early goings. Rooney had a speculative shot in the third minute. Neuer saved both, and he could be the key to this semifinal. Man U showing that they’re not going to be hesitant to push forward.
1’ - The first semifinal is underway and we’ll see just how open this game is in the early goings. Many are predicting a scoring draw, maybe 1-1 or 2-2. An early giveaway leads to a shot from Baumjohann, no problem for Van der Sar...
Here are the lineups:
Schalke Starting XI: Neuer; Uchida, Matip, Metzelder, Sarpei; Farfan, Papadopoulos, Jurado, Baumjohann; Raul, Edu. Subs: Schober, Escudero, Plestan, Kluge, Charisteas, Karimi, Draxler
Manchester United Starting XI: Van der Sar; Fabio Da Silva, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Valencia, Carrick, Giggs, Park; Rooney, Hernandez. Subs: Kuszczak, Anderson, Smalling, Nani, Scholes, Rafael Da Silva, Evans.
Time, TV: 2:30 p.m. Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Deportes (tape at 5 on Fox Soccer Plus and at 5:45 p.m. on foxsoccer.tv on demand).
Look forward to our conversation and a great Champions League match.