Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 20th 2014 Contents MANCHESTER---Robin van Per-
sie scored a hat-trick as
Manchester United beat
Olympiakos 3-0 yesterday to
qualify for the quarterfinals of the Champions
League, overturning a 2-0 deficit from the
Borussia Dortmund also advanced to the
quarterfinals for the second consecutive season
despite losing 2-1 at home to Zenit.
Having won the away leg in St Petersburg
4-2, last season s runner-up advanced 5-4 on
Hulk scored in the 16th for Zenit and Sebas-
tian Kehl equalized in the 38th. Substitute Jose
Rondon scored with a diving header in the
73rd to seal Zenit s win.
Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller
turned away a late shot by Igor Smolnikov to
prevent an even bigger defeat.
But it was at Old Trafford that eyes were
focused as van Persie converted a penalty in
the 25th minute, side-footed home his second
goal in first-half injury time and curled in a
free kick in the 52nd, completing a stirring
second-leg comeback in the last 16.
It was a massive result for United manager
David Moyes, whose position had come under
scrutiny after the English champions humil-
iating 3-0 loss to Liverpool in the Premier
League on Sunday.
That left the team in seventh place in the
standings and with little chance of qualifying
for next season s Champions League through
its league position. However, a route back to
Europe s top competition is still available by
winning it this season.
It also left England with two teams in the
last eight after Chelsea s progress on Tuesday.
Moyes insisted on the eve of the match that
his position was not under threat, saying Unit-
ed s vision was "long term," the board was
still supportive and stressing that he is less
than 12 months into a six-year contract.
The season has been a major disappointment
but this result should keep the critics at bay,
for the time being at least. Only five teams
had previously overturned a two-goal deficit
from the first leg in a Champions League
But it was not all good news for Moyes, with
Van Persie carried off on a stretcher in the
final minutes after hurting his left leg in a
challenge. The Dutchman looked in real agony,
holding his face and slamming the ground
with his hand.
The banner reading "The Chosen One"---
a nickname given to Moyes---remained hung
up high in the Stretford End. The fans, at least
those inside Old Trafford, appeared to be behind
the manager as United got underway with vet-
erans Ryan Giggs and Rio Ferdinand recalled
to add some experience to the team.
The selection of Giggs, still going strong at
the age of 40, was inspired and he had a key
part in the first two goals. The midfield great
was a colossus throughout, despite having
played only 81 minutes since January 7.
Initially, United was gripped by panic---mis-
placing passes, diving into tackles and showing
no shape defensively. Hernan Perez skied over
the bar a great early chance for Olympiakos,
which clinched the Greek title with five matches
to spare on Saturday.
Moyes side settled, however, and after
Wayne Rooney headed against the post in the
17th, Van Persie tumbled after being barged
in the back by Jose Holebas after bringing
down a cross-field pass from Giggs. The Dutch-
man got up and converted his penalty unerr-
There was a major scare for United in the
40th when goalkeeper David de Gea was called
upon to pull off a brilliant double save from
David Fuster and Alejandro Dominguez. But
Olympiakos defending was not a patch on its
counter-attacking and the Greeks conceded
with the last kick of the half.
Rooney brought down another floated pass
from Giggs and, after briefly losing possession,
crossed for Van Persie to caress his finish under
goalkeeper Roberto s dive.
Moyes greeted the goal with repeated fist-
pumps and marched back to the dressing
rooms---breaking into a jog at one point---with
the aggregate score at 2-2.
Within six minutes of the second half, it
was 3-2 to United as Van Persie curled a free
kick from just outside the area into the bottom
corner, with Roberto earning the wrath of his
defenders for not trusting his wall and vacating
the area near where the ball crossed the line.
The nerves started to kick for United as
Perez, Dominguez and Fuster wasted oppor-
tunities for the visitors. "Attack, attack" roared
the home fans, while Dominguez brought
another point-blank save out of De Gea at the
All of Olympiakos attacks were coming
down the United s left, where full back Patrice
Evra was being overrun. However, some great,
last-ditch defending by centre backs Phil Jones
and Ferdinand persistently bailed the French-
Van Persie s late injury was the only cloud
on a memorable night for United and Moyes.
• Twitter: @GuardianTT • Web: guardian.co.tt
Football Association has
charged Chelsea manager Jose
Mourinho with improper con-
duct for going onto the pitch
and approaching the referee
during his team's 1-0 loss to
Aston Villa in the Premier
The incident occurred in the
final stages of the match at
Villa Park on Saturday.
Mourinho was upset after
his midfielder, Ramires, was
sent off, the Brazilian becoming
the second Chelsea player to
receive a red card in the game
Mourinho was ordered from
the touchline by referee Chris
The FA says in a statement
on Wednesday that Mourinho's
"behaviour in re-entering the
field of play and ... approaching
the match referee amounted to
Mourinho has until Monday
to respond to the charge.
English FA charges Mourinho with improper conduct
van Persie puts Man U into last 16
Manchester United's Robin van Persie centre right celebrates with teammate Wayne Rooney, after scoring his side's third goal and his hat-trick,
during the Champions League, Round of 16, second leg match against Olympiakos, at Old Trafford, Manchester, England, yesterday. AP PHOTO
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