Manchester United win Club World Cup final thanks to Wayne Rooney winner

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Celebration: Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo embrace after Manchester United take the lead

Liga de Quito (0) 0 Manchester United (1) 1.

Even with 10 men, Manchester United were too good for the champions of South America.

Even with Cristiano Ronaldo cynically targeted by Liga de Quito’s less scrupulous players, the champions of England kept their nerve to be crowned champions of the world.

And one man made it possible: Wayne Rooney, who struck a goal worthy of winning the World Cup, let alone the World Club Cup.

Named player of the tournament, Rooney was given a car by the tournament sponsors Toyota which is unlikely to nudge the Bentleys and Aston Martins off his drive.

Terrific in the semi-final and the final, heaven knows how Rooney would have played without jet-lag.

The England striker was indomitable, outstanding through the middle in the first half, as against Gamba Osaka in the last-four meeting, and then a constant threat when pushed on to the left as Sir Alex Ferguson reconfigured his team following Nemanja Vidic’s red card for elbowing Claudio Bieler.

As the Argentinian had been guilty of one of the worst challenges on Ronaldo, there may have been a hint of retribution colouring the Serb’s moment of excess. But where there is Rooney, there is hope.

Constantly cutting in from the left, Rooney remained a real threat to the limited Ecuadoreans. In the 73rd minute, he settled the Club World Cup with a goal of real magnificence. It was a goal that spoke volumes for the technical quality and clever, speedy movement in Ferguson’s team.

When Michael Carrick slid the ball to the edge of the area, Ronaldo neatly found Rooney. Still so much needed to be done. A wall of Latin American bodies formed a formidable barrier, but Rooney loves a challenge and he bent the ball around and in, a sensational goal.

If Rooney deserves huge praise for his immense contribution, then Edwin van der Sar certainly merits mention in despatches for two stunning saves from Alejandro Manso, the one Liga de Quito player who showed some ambition. Too many of his team-mates seemed more intent on kicking Ronaldo.

United’s fears that their No 7 would be targeted were swiftly, and painfully borne out with the European Footballer of the Year enduring a clattering from Bieler, Neicer Reasco and William Araujo.

World beater: Wayne Rooney celebrates his winner for Manchester United

The Ecuadoreans appeared to be taking it in turns to bruise Ronaldo, who also had to cope with such tight marking at corners by Diego Calderon that the full-back was almost inside his shirt.

Ronaldo refused to be intimidated, picking himself up time and again, always showing for the ball regardless of the unremitting attempts to tattoo his ankles. At one point, Ronaldo lay prostrate on the pitch in front of a hoarding that read: "My Game Is Fair Play’’. Maybe Fifa should have written the request in Spanish.

Maybe United cannot complain too much after what Vidic did.

A strange atmosphere clung to the Nissan Stadium: the shrine-like quiet was broken by chants about "Eric Cantona’’ and whoops of local glee when Ronaldo went through his repertoire of feints and flicks. One dart through the middle sent the motor-drives in overdrive, flashes sparkling around the ground like a strobe-machine dropped inside a chandelier.

Substance could briefly found in Ronaldo’s style, a wonderful turn and cross perfectly finding Carlos Tevez, whose header was clutched by Jose Cevallos, but United’s No 7 began to get frustrated by the pernicious attentions of the supposed pride of South America.

Liga de Quito’s obsession with Ronaldo at least allowed Rooney to parade his talents - and what a game he had. The England international was fantastic throughout, all touch and movement, an all-action forward at the heart of all that was good about United.

As the final unfolded, twice Rooney let fly powerfully from range, twice startling Cevallos. He also began combining well with Tevez, the pair creating a chance for Park Ji-sung that Cevallos saved. The Korean then shot wastefully over as the half closed.

Liga lacked ambition in the first half, and only Manso, the busy little Argentinian striker, seemed prepared to run at United. Yet the European champions were still relieved that Jairo Campos somehow missed from close range.

After the break, the Ecuadoreans were given the perfect incentive to push forward when Vidic was dismissed. Ferguson withdrew Tevez, much to the Argentinian’s frustration, and sent on Johnny Evans. United went 4-2-3 with Rooney on the left, Ronaldo through the middle and Park down the right.

Depleted in resources if not determination, United still showed more adventure and Rooney, in particular, continued to take the game to Liga de Quito, heading straight at Cevallos on the hour.

Only Manso of Liga de Quito’s players seemed keen on testing Van der Sar, and shot from 35 yards which the Dutchman palmed away.

These were briefly difficult times for United, particularly as the crime-sheet for offences on Ronaldo continued to grow, Renan Calle and William Araujo going into the book for fouls.

Then Vidic departed, stacking the odds against United. Rooney had other ideas, scoring with that wonderful strike.

When Van der Sar saved brilliantly from Manso, United had their deserved reward: champions of the world, thanks to the player who took the World Club Cup most seriously - Wayne Rooney.

Match Details

Liga de Quito (4-4-2): Cevallos; Campos, Calle (Ambrosi, 77), N Araujo, Calderon; Reasco, W Araujo, Urrutia, Luis Bolanos; Bieler, Manso. Subs: Dominguez (g), Obregon, Delgado, E Vaca, D Vaca, Navia, Larrea, Chango, Viteri (g).
Booked: Bieler, Campos, Calle, W Araujo.

Manchester United (4-4-2): Van der Sar; Rafael Da Silva (Neville, 85, Ferdinand, Vidic, Evra; Park, Carrick, Anderson (Fletcher, 87), Ronaldo; Tevez (Evans, 51), Rooney. Subs: Kuszczak (g), Berbatov, Giggs, Nani, Scholes, Welbeck, O'Shea, Gibson, Amos (g).
Booked: Anderson. Off: Vidic.

Referee: R Irmatov (Uzbekistan).

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Manchester United win Club World Cup final thanks to Wayne Rooney winner Reviewed by admin Ucop on 6:29 AM Rating: 5

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