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Man U win FIFA club world title
YOKOHAMA (Japan), DEC 21 (AFP):
Published on 22 Dec. 2008 12:39 AM IST
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Wayne Rooney came to the rescue as Manchester United beat South American champions Liga de Quito 1-0 on Sunday to win the Club World Cup and lift one of the few trophies to have eluded them. The England striker pounced in the 73rd minute after being set up by Cristiano Ronaldo, with United rallying to victory after Nemanja Vidic was needlessly sent off for a deliberate elbow early in the second half. His goal gave them an unprecedented treble this year, with the English and European champions now able to call themselves world champions, helping silence those who have criticised the long trip. Sir Alex Ferguson’s men also became the first British team to win the tournament, putting them alongside Italy’s AC Milan and Brazil’s International and Sao Paulo. Conscious that he needs fresh legs for Stoke City on Friday, Ferguson made a number of changes to the side that beat Gamba Osaka on Thursday, with Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Nani relegated to the bench. It was Liga who created the first chance, almost taking the lead on four minutes when Jairo Campos beat the offside trap from a freekick but fluffed his shot. United though soon found their feet and Rooney chested down a through ball from Vidic just inside the box on 10 minutes and unleashed a fierce shot that goalkeeper Jose Cevallos did well to punch away. He tested Cevallos again minutes later when he sent another powerful drive towards goal which the keeper deflected for a corner. Ronaldo, tipped by Ferguson to develop into a legend like Pele and Maradona, was putting on a show for the 68,000 fans, employing his full bag of tricks. And it was the Portuguese winger who whipped in a cross to Carlos Tevez on 19 minutes, with his shot forcing a spectacular save. Soon after, Rooney tried a cheeky lob as Cevallos rushed out, only to see the ball hit the top of the net. Park Ji-Sung should have put United one up but volleyed over from six yards and the two sides went to the break all square. United got off to the worst possible start in the second half when Vidic was given a straight red card at 49 minutes for elbowing Claudio Bieler. Despite being down to 10 men, United knuckled down, with Ronaldo troubling Cevallos with a long range strike and Rooney getting a header on target. With the game looking like it could go either way, Michael Carrick slipped the ball to Ronaldo who deftly laid it off to Rooney and the 23-year-old made no mistake, side-footing beyond Cevallos and into the right hand corner. The win earned United $5 million, with Liga taking home four million. In the third-place playoff, Japan’s Gamba Osaka beat Pachuca of Mexico 1-0.

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