By Lee Savery
Manchester United succumbed to a second loss in a row in the Champions League thanks to Luis Alberto’s fine strike.
The Brazilian’s shot from range flew into the right-hand corner that the returning David de Gea had no chance with after Paul Scholes had given the ball away in the centre of the pitch.
Despite dominating long periods of the match, the home side lack any real cutting edge in the final third despite starting with Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez. Rooney being the only survivor from the weekend win against Reading as 10 changes were made.
The closest United came to scoring all happened in the first half. Welbeck had a header terrifically saved by opposition goalkeeper Jorge Felgueiras right on the line with his left-hand. The keeper also stopped Rooney’s superb lob attempt with another top save. The ball fell to Hernandez whose cross found Chris Smalling in the six-yard-box who somehow headed the ball wide.
Cluj created very few chances before Luis Alberto’s stunner and were pretty comfortable defending against a lacklustre performance from their hosts. The Romanian side were only just denied a place in the next round as Galatasaray came from behind to beat SC Braga. They got a result their travelling fans will never forget but they were not to be the first Romanian side to reach the last sixteen of the Champions League, for this season at least.
An unremarkable dead rubber match for the Red Devils with the changed side showing no real positives in front of a flat crowd at Old Trafford. Phil Jones was one particular highlight, putting in an excellent performance at right-back. Tom Cleverley is an injury concern as he was taken off just before half time.
Manchester United will now await who they will play next in Europe when the draw takes place on 20th December.
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