Manchester United commemorated 60th anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster on Tuesday. The services were held in Manchester, at Old Trafford, and in Munich. However, United’s youth team visited Belgrade, as they will be playing their UEFA Youth League match on Wednesday.
It was in Belgrade where seven Manchester United players played their last match, before dying in the crash. Manchester United played that match against Red Star Belgrade and the team, led by coach Nicky Butt, visited the ground where the match was held.
Yet, the match their biggest focus will be on is the one that will happen in Belgrade on Wednesday. Manchester United’s U19s will be playing champions of Serbia, Brodarac. The match will be played at the stadium of FK Vozdovac, which is actually a football pitch sitting on top of a shopping mall.
In this unique setting, Manchester United will try to reach the round of 16. Brodarac have been part of the ‘Domestic Champions Path’, as the holders of Serbian youth league. In first round, they defeated Maccabi Haifa of Israel. It was 2-1 over two legs, before playing tough matches against Georgia’s Saburtalo Tbilisi. Brodarac came through on away goals, which was enough to reach the play-offs.
Manchester United, on the other hand, had a similar path to the senior team. They were, of course, part of Group A in classic Champions League groups. Basel finished first on away goals, which meant they qualified for the round of 16 automatically. United finished second, so they will have to beat Brodarac to get there as well.
This will be a single match and if the score is tied after 90 minutes, the match will go to penalty shoot-out straight away.
Wayne Rooney On Monday Night Football
Former Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney was the guest on Monday Night Football on Sky Sports. The Everton player talked about Sir Alex Ferguson, leaving Merseyside for Manchester and players he had played with.
Talking about the legendary manager, Rooney said some of his team talks were rather simple.
“Sometimes he would say ‘Go and win the game. You 11 players are better than their 11, go and win the game and work it out for yourselves on the pitch.’ If we got a player sent off, the players would work out how we change the formation.”
Among other things, Rooney talked about Cristiano Ronaldo and his unwillingness to do more defensive work.
“We had a good compromise because me and Tevez would probably do a lot more defensive work than Cristiano but we knew in the big games and moments he would win them. With any other player we probably wouldn’t have done it but Cristiano was that good you have to accommodate that. I would gladly sacrifice goals any day of the week if he is going to help us win trophies”, Rooney explained.
Manchester United’s top goalscorer of all time also said how good of a finisher Ruud van Nistelrooy was, while also praising Sir Alex’s man-management skills.
“His man-management without a doubt was his biggest strength. He knew how to speak to players, how to get a reaction. He’s the only manager that could leave someone out and make them feel good about it. He was incredible.”