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Manchester United have confirmed their place in the last 16 of this season's UEFA Champions League after a come-from-behind 3-1 victory over Braga on Wednesday. The Portuguese club were clearly the better team on the pitch and deservedly took the lead on 49 minutes when Alan converted a penalty after Custodio's collision with Evans inside the box.
Robin van Persie was the star of Man United's comeback, equalizing for the visitors on 80 minutes when he caught Beto out of position and curled the ball over the Braga stopper. Four minutes later, it was Rooney's penalty that put United ahead after the Englishman was brought down in the box when he went to collect Hernandez's rebound off Beto. Hernandez himself added a late third goal for the Red Devils with a close chip to down a spirited Braga side as United claimed all three points, sending Braga to the bottom of Group H. (read the full match report)
The Braga stopper barely had any work to do in late nightâ€™s game. However, it was his bad positioning that helped Van Persie score their first goal, paving the way for a remarkable comeback from the visitors.
Leandro Salino: 6/10
The midfielder deputed well at right-back and helped Alan deal with Evra on the left wing.
Nuno Coelho: 3/10
The centre-back lost the plot late in the game, bringing down Rooney in the 84th minute to award United their match-winning penalty kick.
The defender contained Welbeck and Hernandez with ease all night although Van Persie troubled him a lot more on the night.
Uwa Elderson: 5/10
The left-back performed fairly well in defence on the night although he also struggled against Van Persieâ€™s runs late in the game.
The midfielder was instrumental is continuing Bragaâ€™s attacks into Unitedâ€™s box and the playmaker did well to earn a penalty, colliding with Evans early in the second half.
Hugo Viana: 7/10
The Portuguese conducted play well in midfield, making a number of good passes to give the strikers a shot at goal.
Ruben Amorim: 6/10
The winger was particularly effective against Antonio Valencia and made quite a few good crosses into the box.
Ruben Micael: 7/10
The midfielder combined well with Eder and Alan and himself had a few decent long range efforts at De Geaâ€™s goal.
The forward constantly put pressure on Unitedâ€™s defence with his quick footwork and well-timed runs. He converted their second half penalty with a cool finish, capping off a fine night against United.
The striker troubled Unitedâ€™s defence all night and had quite a few attempts at goal, including a diving header that came off the post in the first half.
Helder Barbosa: 4/10
The forward replaced Amorim with 5 minutes to go and Bragaâ€™s attacking intent had fizzled out by then, having conceded 2 goals within 4 minutes.
Marcio Mossoro: 4/10
The midfielder came on in place of Viana after 86 minutes, but had to settle to defend as United ran rampant in the dying minutes of the game
Ze Luis: N/A
The striker came on in stoppage time before Unitedâ€™s third goal, replacing left-back Elderson as Peseiro hoped to find an equalizer before the whistle blew for full-time.
David De Gea: 7/10
The Spanish stopper was alert against Bragaâ€™s persistent attacks although he could do nothing about Alanâ€™s fiercely struck penalty.
Antonio Valencia: 6/10
The Ecuadorian found it difficult to cope with Bragaâ€™s orchestrated attacks, allowing the Portuguese side to work in several crosses. However, after Naniâ€™s withdrawal for Rafael late in the game, the winger was comfortable in his usual role and played a key role in mounting Unitedâ€™s attacks.
Jonny Evans: 4/10
The defender looked vulnerable against Eder and Alan and was unable to avoid a collision with Custodio to hand Braga a penalty.
Chris Smalling: 4/10
The centre-backâ€™s first game after returning from injury was rather average as he was slow and could not keep up with the pacy duo of Eder and Alan.
Patrice Evra: 3/10
The left-back was ineffective in his role and was unable to control Salino, who got past the Frenchman with ease on several occasions.
The Portugueseâ€™s form will be a cause of worry for Ferguson as the winger again failed to produce something special against Braga.
The Brazilian was exceptionally silent in midfield, losing the ball rather easily on several occasions.
Wayne Rooney: 7/10
The Englishman was Unitedâ€™s most lively player in attack but Welbeck and Hernandez failed to make good use of his passes. He took a slick penalty to hand United the lead on 84 minutes after finding an able attacking partner in Van Persie late in the game.
Ryan Giggs: 4/10
The United veteran was not at his usual best and got dispossessed rather easily by Bragaâ€™s midfielders.
Danny Welbeck: 4/10
The young striker was unable to replicate his best performances, failing to get into good positions in Bragaâ€™s box all night.
Javier Hernandez: 5/10
The Mexican could not repeat his earlier performance against Braga, barely testing Beto for most of the game. The striker was lucky to grab a stoppage-time goal to end the night on a high note.
Rio Ferdinand: 7/10
The defender silenced critics with a powerful performance in the last half hour of the game, having replaced Evans in central defence.
Robin van Persie: 8/10
The Dutchmanâ€™s arrival onto the pitch with 25 minutes to go paid rich dividends as he inspired Unitedâ€™s comeback with a superb goal.
The right-back did well in his role when brought on after 80 minutes, allowing Valencia to push forward to assist more with attacks.
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