Can you feel too hard done by when you lose a game you deserve to lose? Not really. It is frustrating that we conceded when we did, in the last second of added on time, but based on the performance, losing 2-1 was fair.
Nani warranted his inclusion ahead of Antonio Valencia when his freekick found Wayne Rooney to put us ahead with just over a minute played. It was the perfect start and all the talk we’ve heard from the Bayern Munich camp about Rooney appeared to be totally justified. He got himself in to space and made his finish look easy, when many a player wouldn’t have been able to put their foot through a ball with that much pace on it and manage to keep it down.
That was our highlight though. Whilst Nemanja Vidic could have put us 2-0 up with his header that rattled the crossbar, with the delivery from a Ryan Giggs corner, we rarely threatened their keeper.
The first half was a more even affair, with the home side obviously perturbed at conceding an away goal so early on, but there wasn’t a lot in it.
The second half we were poor. Despite having what should have been a fairly creative midfield, with Paul Scholes and Michael Carrick, we opted for the long ball forward in the hope of finding Rooney.
The fact he limped off with what could be a long term injury is pretty disastrous. When it doubt lump the ball forward to Wazza, was the message we put across tonight. What will our plan B be against Chelsea this weekend? Dimitar Berbatov and Valencia offered little when they came on but in fairness to them, it wasn’t a great game to brought in to. Whilst I admire the attitude of our manager in trying to go for the kill, Bayern Munich could already smell blood and our players seemingly already had one eye on Chelsea.
To lose to a deflection and a last second goal is always going to infuriate you but on balance, Bayern Munich were far more creative and Edwin Van der Sar had already kept us in the game a few times up until that point. What Patrice Evra was thinking about when hesitating on the ball inside the box, I’ll never know, but it’s done now and we have to move on.
We now have a week ahead which could define our season. It is almost certain we will be playing Chelsea without Rooney leading the line, meaning the rest of our players will have to step up.
We have played three games in the league without Rooney this season and we have won all of them (Bolton 2-1 win at home, Wolves 1-0 win away and Bolton 4-0 win at home) but of course it’s not quite the same as facing our main title rivals without our best player. Despite the fact the referee owes us one against the rent boys, it is of course going to be a psychological blow as much as anything to know we’re going in to the game without him.
Four days after the Chelsea game, where a point would do us if we’re honest, we have the second leg of the Bayern game. Had we held on for a few more seconds we’d be in a much more favourable position, but hopefully the frustration of conceding so late on in such a sloppy manner will galvanise the lads. We’ve got the easier side of the draw here and that should serve as motivation enough to get past the Germans.
“We didn’t play well enough to be honest, we kept giving the ball away. We caused our own defeat,” Ferguson said after the game. “Bayern were the better team, we can’t complain about that, but we’re better than that in possession. We kept giving it away and that was our downfall. The first goal was a bit of luck with a deflection but the last goal, I don’t know how you describe it. The game was done and we gave a terrible goal away. Old Trafford will be a different game, obviously. We will be much better, no doubt about that, and hopefully we can recover. We have the away goal and we’ll go out to win the game.”
You can’t say fairer than that. It’s a frustrating evening and our worry could increase tomorrow when word on Rooney’s injury comes back, but right now we could be ten games away from winning the league and European Cup. I have faith in our lads to do the business because we have a team of winners, who will be tearing themselves up over tonight’s defeat, so will be more determined than ever to win our next two games.
We’ll never die.