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Bayern Munich overcome Man United to lift Audi Cup
Munich, Jul 31 (Agencies):
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Published on 31 Jul. 2009 11:30 PM IST
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Manchester United’s hopes of starting the new season with victory in the Audi Cup were dashed last night in a penalty shoot-out defeat. United lost 7-6 after a instantly forgettable game, hailed in the build-up as the “perfect final” by tournament sponsors Audi, finished goalless. The two sides failed to stage a repeat of their 1999 Champions League final epic after playing out a drab stalemate at Munich’s Allianz Arena. The showdown drew a capacity crowd of 69,000 but neither side were able to make a breakthrough and the game went to a sudden death shoot-out. Jonny Evans missed United’s eighth penalty and when ex-Manchester City defender Daniel van Buyten converted for Bayern, the trophy went to the home side. Not that United were too bothered at the outcome. With the shoot-out not finishing until 11pm local time, their main concern was making the 12.30am slot for their flight home. For the sixth game running, Sir Alex Ferguson refused to pair new signing Michael Owen with Wayne Rooney, the England strikers still to play together at club level. Mindful of the need to utilise his squad as much as possible in the build-up to the new season, Fergie made 11 changes from the previous day’s win over Boca Juniors. And such is the defensive crisis at United, with Nemanja Vidic, Wes Brown, Rafael Da Silva and Gary Neville injured, midfielder Darren Fletcher was forced to fill-in at right-back. It says everything for the remarkable longevity of Ryan Giggs that he was the only player on the pitch who played in the epic 1999 Champions League Final between the two sides. Bayern dominated the opening 45 minutes and should have made their superiority count by taking the lead. Thomas Muller found himself through on goal in the 27th minute with only Edwin van der Sar to beat, but prodded a meek shot straight at the United keeper. United lacked any kind of spark, the decision to pair veteran duo Giggs and Paul Scholes in central midfield exposing their lack of dynamism through the onset of age. It took United until the 38th minute to produce their first attempt on target, an acrobatic looping overhead kick from Dimitar Berbatov which struck a post. That was the highlight of a drab first-half from United, who badly missed the belligerent presence of Rooney, who can always be relied upon to lift his team. Owen was guilty of a glaring miss in the 61st minute, the kind of chance he used to dispatch through instinct at his peak with Liverpool and England. Scholes threaded an angled ball through to Owen, who only had Bayern keeper Michael Rensing to beat. But instead of lifting the ball over Rensing, Owen drilled it straight at him to squander United’s best opportunity to go ahead. Rooney was also guilty of a dreadful miss, blazing over with five minutes to go after Giggs had put him through on goal.

 
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