Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 28th 2013 Contents A63
Thursday, November 28, 2013 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Wayne Rooney played a star-
ring role as Manchester United
recorded their biggest Euro-
pean away win since 1964 to
book themselves a place in the
Champions League knockout
stages with a game to spare.
Rooney might not have got
his name on the scoresheet in
the 5-0 win against Bayer Lev-
erkusen but the 28-year-old s
name was stamped all over a
classy display that must rank
amongst the best David Moyes
has enjoyed during his short
tenure so far.
Rooney collected the first four
assists and was off the pitch
when Nani scored United s fifth.
It was his cross that provided
Antonio Valencia with a first
half tap-in and Rooney who
then curled over the free-kick
that was headed into his own
net by Emir Spahic as United
took command before the break.
But the striker was not fin-
His close-range shot midway
through the second period was
too hot for Bernd Leno to hold,
allowing Jonny Evans to finish
off and then he lobbed a pass
to Chris Smalling.
Nani completed the rout as
United became the first English
side to score four in Germany
in this competition and record
their biggest away triumph in
Europe since a 6-1 demolition
of Borussia Dortmund in the old
It was a result that made a
mockery of Leverkusen s status
as second only to Bayern Munich
in the Bundesliga, the European
champions the single team to
escape the Bay Arena with so
much as a draw prior to this
Moyes can certainly be
pleased with himself, although
there is still a little bit of work
to do against Shakhtar Donetsk
at Old Trafford in a fortnight.
United will go into that game
needing a point to secure top
spot in Group A and avoid a
nasty encounter with one of the
competition s heavyweights in
the spring, with Real Madrid,
Barcelona, Bayern Munich,
Atletico Madrid and Paris St
Germain all lying in wait for an
Unbeaten and through
already, Moyes could not have
asked for much more.
And on this occasion his game
plan was carried out to perfec-
Moyes revealed before kick-
off United s intention was to
take the sting out of their hosts,
who had failed to win on home
soil only once this season.
With Shinji Kagawa revelling
in a rare outing in his favoured
position behind a main front-
man, in this instance Rooney,
and Ryan Giggs using all his
experience to push exactly the
right buttons when required just
two days short of his 40th birth-
day, the visitors sucked Bayer
in, then struck at rapid speed.
A decent block of Stefan
Kiessling s effort by Evans was
the prelude to United s opener.
David de Gea punched the
corner clear, allowing Kagawa
to carry the ball forward into a
The Japan man fed Giggs, who
in turn pushed possession on to
He dropped a marvellous
cross beyond the line of Lev-
erkusen defenders and Valencia,
arriving with perfect timing,
slotted home from barely a yard.
Leverkusen had not recovered
from their disappointment
before they fell further behind.
Kagawa won United a free-
kick close to the edge of the area,
which Rooney drafted into the
space defenders hate, knowing
if they do not make an attempt
to clear the ball is likely to creep
in at the far post.
Spahic jumped in the shadow
of Chris Smalling, made contact
but did not change the trajectory
and United were two up.
Nani nearly increased the
damage on the hour when he
exchanged passes with Rooney
but dragged his shot wide of
the far post.
Rooney then came close to
getting on the scoresheet him-
self when he skipped into space
20 yards out and curled a shot
His overall contribution
underlined why Moyes has no
intention of telling his talisman
to curb his aggressive instincts,
even though they will occa-
sionally get him into bother.
And pretty soon he had a
third assist to his name as it
was Rooney s close-range
effort, saved by Bernd Leno,
that rolled free for Evans to
gleefully tap home from barely
Moyes opted to give Alexan-
der Buttner a run out and save
Patrice Evra s legs.
PARIS---Under international pressure,
Qatar finally granted an exit visa to a
trapped French-Algerian football player
whose case became a cause celebre for crit-
ics of the 2022 World Cup host.
Mahdi Belounis said his brother Zahir
called him yesterday morning to say "he has
the exit visa in his hands."
"He s very happy. He has booked his
flight," the brother said in a telephone inter-
Zahir Belounis ordeal was becoming a
mounting embarrassment for the Gulf state.
Players union FIFPro this week called his
Belounis said he was stranded in Qatar
with his wife and their two daughters. He
was refused the exit visa he needed to leave
because of a legal dispute over unpaid wages
with Qatari side Al-Jaish, where he was
under contract until 2015.
Belounis will land in Paris on Thursday
evening, his brother said.
FIFPro and others lobbied for Belounis to
be allowed to leave.
"As the worldwide representative for pro-
fessional footballers, FIFPro will be able to
welcome back a long-lost family member,"
the union said in a statement.
Still, FIFPro is going ahead with its four-
day visit from Thursday to the Gulf state
"in a bid to help prevent future misery for
those who find themselves powerless under
the working conditions of Qatar s kafala
Mahdi Belounis said the pressure was vital
in convincing Qatari officials to let his brother
"They realized they were destroying their
image," Mahdi Belounis said. "The pressure
from FIFPro was the straw that broke the
camel s back. They said to themselves, We ve
got to put a stop to this and give him an
exit visa. "
Zahir Belounis claimed Qatari officials
withheld the visa to punish him for trying
to recover wages he said he was owed.
His case highlighted the "kafala" employ-
ment system in Qatar, which stops workers
from leaving without written permission
from employers. It also handed ammunition
to critics who accuse Qatar of not respecting
the rights of migrant workers.
"This system is slowly killing me and
many other people risk suffering in the same
way," Belounis wrote in an open letter, pub-
lished in The Guardian newspaper this month
and addressed to France great Zinedine
Zidane and Bayern Munich coach Pep
Guardiola in a plea to intervene on his behalf.
LONDON---Several teams have already ensured
their passage into the next round of the Europa
League, so now first place in the group is the target.
Spanish clubs continue to prosper in Europe even
when stumbling domestically. Valencia, Sevilla and
Real Betis are showing that in the Europa League.
With Atletico Madrid and Barcelona through to
the knockout stages of the Champions League,
Spain s continental pedigree continues to impress.
And European action couldn t have come sooner
for Valencia or Betis.
Valencia coach Miroslav Djukic has been under
pressure all season with the team s 11th-place Spanish
league start, with nothing but a victory against
Osasuna this weekend securing the Serbian coach s
job. Valencia has already secured a spot in the next
round heading to Group A opponent Swansea, so
it may experiment some with midfielder Ever Banega
questionable to play.
Betis, meanwhile, is at the top of Group I and on
the verge of a spot in the knockout stages heading
The away game comes after losing to Sevilla 4-
0. Sevilla, meanwhile, is a more respectable eighth
in Spain and at the top of Group H ahead of its
home game against Portuguese opponent Estoril.
Lazio coach Vladimir Petkovic takes his team to
face Legia Warsaw amid speculation in Italy that
he will be the next coach of Switzerland s national
team. Petkovic is among the candidates to succeed
Ottmar Hitzfeld when the veteran coach steps down
after the World Cup.
Lazio can clinch qualification with a game to
spare if it inflicts a fifth straight defeat on Legia
Warsaw. The Italian side will also qualify if Apollon
Limassol fails to win at Group J leader Trabzon-
And Lazio goalkeeper Federico Marchetti will be
in the spotlight, following a miserable start to the
season after slowly rebuilding his career following
a disastrous World Cup performance for Italy in
Marchetti and Lazio earned a reputation for their
invincibility last season. The goalkeeper hadn t con-
ceded for 516 minutes before Marco Sau s strike
ended that run at the start of the year.
That form earned the 30-year-old Marchetti a
recall to the Italy squad, three years after he let in
four goals from five shots on target in matches
against New Zealand and Slovakia in South Africa.
It is a different story this season. Marchetti has
conceded 24 goals in all competitions, including a
4-0 rout by Juventus in the Italian Super Cup ---
a game that was billed as a matchup between current
and future Italy goalkeepers.
He was also at fault for Armenia s second goal
in a 2-2 draw last month after being handed a rare
international start, with Italy already qualified for
the World Cup.
RESPITE IN EUROPE
Eintracht Frankfurt needs a point in Bordeaux to
advance to the knockout stage. Frankfurt is coming
off a 4-2 loss in Tel Aviv, its first in the group after
three straight wins. But Frankfurt has scored at least
two goals in each of its away games.
In the Bundesliga, however, Frankfurt is suffering.
The team is winless in eight consecutive games and
is hovering above the relegation zone.
The knockout round could feature a second-tier
team: FA Cup holder Wigan. Rubin Kazan has already
guaranteed a place in the last 32. If the Russian side
avoids defeat against Maribor, it will capture first
place in Group D, and Wigan will secure second
place by beating Zulte Waregem.
"We re the only second-tier team operating in
the Europa League and we have a fantastic chance
with two games to go to qualify for the knockout
stages, which would be an incredible achievement,"
Wigan manager Owen Coyle said.
Trapped player gets visa to leave Qatar
Rooney stars in
classy Man U win
Manchester United's Jonny Evans celebrates his side's third goal
during the Champions League group A soccer match between
Bayer Leverkusen and Manchester United in Leverkusen,
Germany, yesterday. AP PHOTO
look to top group
Leverkusen 0 Man Utd 5
Shak Donetsk 4 Sociedad 0
R Madrid 4 Galatasaray 1
Juventus 3 FC Cop'hagen 1
Anderlecht 2 Benfica 3
PSG 2 Olympiakos 1
CSKA Moscow 1 Bayern
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