United celebrated a 100th win in the Champions League, and a second successive victory of this season’s campaign, in Romania on Tuesday night after a Robin van Persie double secured a hard-fought 2-1 victory over CFR Cluj.
By this point last season, the Reds had mustered just a couple of points, now Sir Alex’s men, who sit top of Group H, have six and are well on their way towards qualification for the knock-out stages.
Things could not have started much worse for the visitors – something which has been a common theme this season – when Pantelis Kapetanos gave the home side a shock lead on 14 minutes with a close-range finish. Robin van Persie drew the Reds level just before the half-hour, albeit deservedly but somewhat fortunately in the manner he scored it via his shoulder, before the Dutchman poked home on the volley soon after the restart.
Sir Alex had promised he would field a strong team in the lead-up to the game and he stuck to his word with near enough his strongest XI available starting at the CFR Stadium. There were six changes from the side that lost out to Tottenham in the league at the weekend, although three of those were enforced with Ryan Giggs, Michael Carrick and Paul Scholes all feeling under the weather and missing the trip altogether. They were replaced by Anderson, Tom Cleverley and Darren Fletcher, while Wayne Rooney came in for Shinji Kagawa and Javier Hernandez replaced Nani. David De Gea took up the spot between the posts with Anders Lindegaard dropping to the bench.
The Reds made a bright start in terms of possession, but there was only really a half-chance for Anderson, which he dragged wide from the edge of the area on 10 minutes, to show for it. Much had been made about the poor starts United have made to a number of games this season in the pre-match press conference and, unfortunately, that unwelcome trend continued when Cluj