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Braga 1-3 Manchester Utd

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Van Persie: Bagged United's first goal

Van Persie: Bagged United's first goal

Manchester United qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League as group winners after hitting back to beat Braga 3-1 on Wednesday evening.

For much of the game Sir Alex Ferguson's side were second-best to a team that is currently third in the Portuguese League, but three goals in the closing stages maintained their 100 per cent winning record in this season's Champions League.

After a cagey start to the match, Braga began to get on top and they were very unfortunate not to take the lead in the 23rd minute when Eder's diving header beat David De Gea but came back off the base of the post.

Ruben Micael and Alan also went close to breaking the deadlock as lethargic United struggled to get into the match.

The second half followed in a similar vein and the home side deservedly took the lead in the 49th minute when Alan rifled his spot-kick into the roof of De Gea's net after Jonny Evans was adjudged to have blocked Custodio.

A floodlight failure then caused a ten-minute delay but United still struggled when the match resumed.

It seemed like a routine home win until, with ten minutes left substitute Robin Van Persie lobbed Braga goalkeeper Beto, who had inexplicably raced off his line, from 30 yards out.

United were fortunate to be level but it was to get even better for Ferguson's side as, five minutes later, Wayne Rooney slammed home a penalty after he had been upended.

To rub salt into Braga's wounds, Javier Hernandez forced the ball home after a goalmouth scramble in stoppage time to send United through to the knockout stages of the competition with two group matches still to play.

Posted: 07/11/12 22:11

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