Champions League – Scholes off as United fall in Monaco
Zenit St Petersburg won the Eurpean Super Cup for the first time in their history after beating Manchester United 2-1 in Monaco.
Goals from Pavel Pogrebnyak and Danny Alves proved enough to claim the trophy but the Russian Champions had to hold on for the last twenty minutes as United laid siege to their goal.
Nemanja Vidic gave United hope and Paul Scholes looked to have drawn level only to be booked, and sent off, for handball.
Zenit’s first came on the stroke of half-time. A near post Igor Denisov flick looked to be going in, but Pogrebnyak made sure – charging in late to head home.
Danny added a second on 58 minutes. Picking the ball up a full forty yards out, Zenit’s record signing weaved his way past Vidic and Rio Ferdinand before sending Edwin Van der Sar the wrong way.
With 73 minutes gone, Vidic set up a tense finale after tucking away from close range. Carlos Tevez and Wayne Rooney combining well to tee him up following a near post Nani corner.
In a cagey start to the game the first real sight of goal fell to Zenit and Pavel Pogrebynak, a quick free-kick and intricate passing down United’s left found Aleksandr Anyukov in time and space to measure a cross. It deserved more than the miss that befell it.
Zenit’s support thought they had taken the lead on 24 minutes, Dominguez Alejandro’s free-kick hitting the stanchion before trickling along the back of the goal.
United’s approach play was on a par with Zenit’s but their final ball often left a lot to be desired. Nani, Gary Neville and Patrice Evra all culpable.
And even when Tevez broke well and played in Rooney, the England man got his feet all wrong and lost the ball for a second before firing straight at Viacheslav Malafeev.
Zenit were far more threatening and the only surprise was the goal took so long to come, Danny putting a header just over before seeing Van der Sar save well from Ivica Krizanac after another Dominguez free-kick.
United started the second half with designs on a come back, but soon found themselves 2-0 down after Danny’s superb solo goal.
Sir Alex Ferguson sent on Park Ji-Sung and John O’Shea and both had efforts blocked before Vidic’s strike set up a dramatic finish.
Zenit were fading badly, but did have one last chance to put the tie beyond United. Second half substitute Andrei Arshavin setting up Dannny who, with more time than he thought, lifted it over the bar.
United poured forward but it wasn’t to be. Tevez, Park and O’Shea all going close.
After adding the European Super Cup to their domestic Super Cup and Uefa Cup haul Zenit will now turn their attentions to retaining the Russian League title, while United will have the two week international break to reflect on what was a flat performance