Man Utd 0-1 CFR Cluj
Manchester United suffered their first home defeat in the Champions League for three years on a night of frustration for manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
It is the first time United have failed to score at Old Trafford since being held by Rangers in September 2010.
Luis Alberto's goal early in the second half proved the difference, the Spaniard beating United goalkeeper David de Gea with a 25-yard strike.
United had already qualified for the last 16 as winners of Group H.
This was an evening to forget for United, despite fielding a weakened side. With qualification assured, it was clear many at Old Trafford had already turned their thoughts to Sunday's top-of-the-table clash at Manchester City. But this was not the kind of preparation Ferguson would have wanted.
Only Wayne Rooney remained from Sunday's 4-3 win over Reading as Ferguson sought to hone his striker's sharpness, but it was at the other end of the field that United failed to convince once again.
This was the 15th time in 23 matches this season that United have fallen behind in a match. They have come back to win on 10 occasions but this proved a match too far.
Coming into this game, Ferguson warned his players to expect a repeat of last season's 6-1 humbling at the hands of City if they do not show a marked improvement from the "cartoon cavalcade" defending that has undermined their fine attacking play.
It took Cluj less than 10 minutes to find the chink in United's armour, as first Ryan Giggs and then Chris Smalling ceded possession in their own penalty area to allow Rafael Bastos to test De Gea, only for the Spaniard to scramble the deflected shot to safety.
With captain Nemanja Vidic missing - and far from certain to be involved at Etihad Stadium - United looked vulnerable.
Twice in the space of 10 minutes Cluj striker Modou Sougou had opportunities, with Scott Wootton twice on hand to block the Senegal striker's shot at the crucial moment. Rooney scrambled another effort away.
And yet United, as they have done all season, seemed poised to overcome the generosity of their defending as half-time approached. In the five minutes before the interval their forays grew in focus and three moves, more co-ordinated than anything they had managed until then, almost produced goals.
First, Cluj goalkeeper Mario Felgueiras clawed Rooney's delightful chip out from under the bar, then he produced an instinctive save to keep Danny Welbeck's header out from the resulting corner.
Arguably the best opportunity fell to Chris Smalling but he could only head wide from two yards after Paul Scholes's pin-point pass.
And yet the errors continued to creep in to United's game and, more often than not, they were self-inflicted. De Gea gave the ball away five minutes into the second half, allowing Cluj to create space for Sougou, who stuttered at the key moment. More accomplished teams may not have been as wasteful. As it happened neither were Cluj.
When the ball fell to Alberto just inside the United half, the hosts failed to spot the danger. The Spaniard ambled towards goal and, with no United defender prepared to challenge him, he steadied himself and unleashed a wicked, curling shot that fizzed beyond De Gea, flicking the right-hand upright on its way into the net.
Rooney, in response, continued to push and probe, creating a half-chance for Phil Jones that was snuffed out by the excellent Felgueiras. Ferguson introduced Federico Macheda for Nick Powell but Cluj stood firm as Giggs tested their goalkeeper from a free-kick and Rooney shot straight at the keeper from distance.
The expected United cavalry charge failed to materialise on a night when United simply failed to click. It was a famous night for Cluj but Galatasaray's victory over FC Braga meant it was not enough to take the Romanians into the knockout stages.
- 01 De Gea
- 04 Jones
- 12 Smalling
- 28 Buttner
- 31 Wootton
- 11 Giggs (Fletcher - 86' )
- 23 Cleverley (Scholes - 45' Booked )
- 25 Powell (Macheda - 73' )
- 10 Rooney
- 14 Hernandez
- 19 Welbeck
- 13 Lindegaard
- 02 Rafael
- 36 Vermijl
- 18 Young
- 22 Scholes
- 24 Fletcher
- 27 Macheda
CFR 1907 Cluj-Napoca
- 01 Felgueiras Booked
- 03 Ivo Pinto
- 06 Muresan
- 13 Piccolo
- 20 Cadu Booked
- 24 Rada
- 16 Bastos (Maftei - 78' )
- 25 Luis Alberto
- 30 Rui Pedro (Aguirregaray - 71' )
- 45 Camora
- 99 Sougou (Kapetanos - 90' )
- 44 Stancioiu
- 08 Sepsi
- 12 Maftei
- 23 Godemeche
- 31 Aguirregaray
- 09 Kapetanos
- 19 Bjelanovic
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The game is over, as the referee blows his whistle.90:00 +2:56
The ball is crossed by Alexander Buttner, save by Jorge Mario Felgueiras.90:00 +2:30 Booking
Booking Jorge Mario Felgueiras is shown a yellow card for time wasting.90:00 +1:06 Substitution
Substitution (CFR Cluj-Napoca) makes a substitution, with Pantelis Kapetanos coming on for Moudou Sougou.90:00 +1:06
Effort on goal by Federico Macheda from just inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.89:58
Gabriel Muresan restarts play with the free kick.89:58 Booking
Booking Caution for Paul Scholes.89:42
Matias Aguirregaray fouled by Paul Scholes, the ref awards a free kick.88:26
The ball is swung over by Alexander Buttner, save made by Jorge Mario Felgueiras. Phil Jones takes a shot. Blocked by Mario Camora.84:53
Direct free kick taken by Jorge Mario Felgueiras.84:53 Substitution
Substitution Darren Fletcher is brought on as a substitute for Ryan Giggs.84:53
Short corner taken by Ryan Giggs. Unfair challenge on Vasile Maftei by Scott Wootton results in a free kick.82:35
Wayne Rooney crosses the ball, Jorge Mario Felgueiras makes a comfortable save.81:59
The ball is delivered by Daniel Ivo Pinto, Phil Jones manages to make a clearance.81:07
Wayne Rooney takes a shot. Save by Jorge Mario Felgueiras.80:07
Ryan Giggs takes a inswinging corner to the near post, Moudou Sougou makes a clearance.79:31
Ionut Rada gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Wayne Rooney. Direct free kick taken by Wayne Rooney.78:39
Foul by Moudou Sougou on Wayne Rooney, free kick awarded. Wayne Rooney takes the free kick.77:11
Free kick crossed by Ryan Giggs, save by Jorge Mario Felgueiras.77:11 Substitution
Substitution Vasile Maftei is brought on as a substitute for Rafael Bastos.
Ionut Rada challenges Phil Jones unfairly and gives away a free kick.75:23
Unfair challenge on Moudou Sougou by Ryan Giggs results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Dos Santos Luis Alberto.73:35
The ball is delivered by Ryan Giggs.72:32
Corner taken by Ryan Giggs played to the near post, clearance by Rafael Bastos.72:32 Substitution
Substitution Federico Macheda comes on in place of Nick Powell.71:18
Scott Wootton challenges Moudou Sougou unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Gabriel Muresan.70:17 Substitution
Substitution (CFR Cluj-Napoca) makes a substitution, with Matias Aguirregaray coming on for Ramalho Rui Pedro.70:17
Paul Scholes takes a shot from deep inside the box clearing the bar.66:35
A cross is delivered by Phil Jones. Ryan Giggs has an effort at goal. Ricardo Cadu gets a block in.66:00
The referee blows for offside. Scott Wootton restarts play with the free kick.65:06
Free kick awarded for a foul by Alexander Buttner on Daniel Ivo Pinto. Jorge Mario Felgueiras restarts play with the free kick.61:02
Centre by Daniel Ivo Pinto, clearance made by Phil Jones.59:54
Alexander Buttner delivers the ball, Wayne Rooney produces a header from inside the area that goes over the bar.58:34
Corner taken left-footed by Mario Camora, clearance by Danny Welbeck.58:07
Scott Wootton concedes a free kick for a foul on Rafael Bastos. Ricardo Cadu takes the free kick.55:16 Goal scored
Goal! - Dos Santos Luis Alberto - Man Utd 0 - 1 Cluj-Nap'a Dos Santos Luis Alberto finds the net with a fantastic goal from long range to the top right corner of the goal. Man Utd 0-1 CFR Cluj-Napoca.54:38
Gabriel Muresan produces a right-footed shot from long range that goes harmlessly over the bar.50:46
Volleyed right-footed shot by Paul Scholes. Blocked by Gabriel Muresan.48:08
Wayne Rooney has an effort direct from the free kick.48:08 Booking
Booking Booking for Ricardo Cadu for unsporting behaviour.47:55
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Nick Powell by Ricardo Cadu.45:37
Ionut Rada challenges Javier Hernandez unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Ryan Giggs. Effort on goal by Alexander Buttner from outside the penalty box goes harmlessly over the bar.45:01
The game restarts for the second half.45:00 +2:10 Half time
Half Time The ref blows to end the first period.45:00 +1:49
Javier Hernandez fouled by Ricardo Cadu, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Alexander Buttner.44:27
Jorge Mario Felgueiras takes the indirect free kick. Shot from just outside the area by Ramalho Rui Pedro goes over the bar.44:27 Substitution
Substitution Paul Scholes comes on in place of Tom Cleverley.44:27
Javier Hernandez is caught offside.40:31
Chris Smalling has a header from close range and clears the crossbar.40:14
Wayne Rooney takes a shot. Save made by Jorge Mario Felgueiras.39:40
Javier Hernandez takes a shot. Ricardo Cadu gets a block in. Ryan Giggs decides to take a short corner.39:01
Inswinging corner taken by Wayne Rooney from the left by-line played to the near post, Danny Welbeck takes a shot. Save made by Jorge Mario Felgueiras.37:55
The assistant referee signals for offside against Javier Hernandez. Free kick taken by Jorge Mario Felgueiras.35:27
Corner taken left-footed by Mario Camora to the near post, Felice Piccolo takes a shot. Save by David De Gea.33:35
The offside flag is raised against Moudou Sougou. Indirect free kick taken by David De Gea.30:03
Effort from just outside the box by Gabriel Muresan goes over the bar.27:39
Rafael Bastos takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line played to the near post, Phil Jones makes a clearance. Centre by Rafael Bastos.26:48
Ramalho Rui Pedro challenges Nick Powell unfairly and gives away a free kick. David De Gea takes the free kick.26:12
Nick Powell takes a shot. The official flags Chris Smalling offside. Jorge Mario Felgueiras takes the indirect free kick.25:05
Tom Cleverley takes a shot. Save by Jorge Mario Felgueiras. Nick Powell fouled by Moudou Sougou, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Ryan Giggs.24:19
Nick Powell produces a right-footed shot from just outside the penalty box that goes wide left of the target.22:50
Mario Camora takes the inswinging corner, save made by David De Gea.22:02
Moudou Sougou takes a shot. Scott Wootton gets a block in. Mario Camora takes the inswinging corner, clearance by Phil Jones.20:31
Dos Santos Luis Alberto takes a shot. Scott Wootton gets a block in.19:48
The ball is delivered by Alexander Buttner. Centre by Phil Jones, Nick Powell takes a shot. Blocked by Ricardo Cadu.19:01
Felice Piccolo fouled by Javier Hernandez, the ref awards a free kick. Felice Piccolo takes the direct free kick.14:18
Nick Powell takes a shot. Blocked by Felice Piccolo. The offside flag is raised against Javier Hernandez. Jorge Mario Felgueiras restarts play with the free kick.13:43
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Tom Cleverley by Rafael Bastos. Ryan Giggs takes the direct free kick.11:10
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Alexander Buttner by Rafael Bastos. Scott Wootton takes the direct free kick.10:40
Wayne Rooney produces a left-footed shot from just outside the penalty area that goes harmlessly over the target.7:59
Rafael Bastos takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line to the near post, clearance made by Phil Jones. Rafael Bastos takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line played to the near post, clearance made by Phil Jones. Foul by Ramalho Rui Pedro on Javier Hernandez, free kick awarded. Phil Jones takes the free kick.5:09
Ryan Giggs takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line played to the near post, Header from close in by Danny Welbeck misses to the right of the goal.2:52
Daniel Ivo Pinto fouled by Alexander Buttner, the ref awards a free kick. The free kick is delivered left-footed by Mario Camora from right wing, clearance made by Danny Welbeck.0:15
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Danny Welbeck by Ricardo Cadu. Direct free kick taken by Ryan Giggs.0:00
The game kicks-off.
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