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The BBC's Alan Green
"The match would have been more of a contest if they were playing the whole of Melbourne"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 11 January, 2000, 22:17 GMT
Fortune fails to save Man Utd

Cole back-heels the ball to Fortune for the first goal

Man Utd 2-0 South Melbourne

Two excellent goals from Quinton Fortune failed to disguise a dismal display from Manchester United, as their World Club Championship campaign came to an abrupt halt in Rio.

World Club Championship
United's experimental side stuttered to a below-par victory that summed up their whole participation in the inaugural competition in Brazil.

Sir Alex Ferguson's men - whose title hopes had been ended by the 3-1 defeat by Vasco de Gama - were then left sweating on the outcome of the game between Vasco and Necaxa.

Solskjaer is closed down by the Melbourne defence
Their only hope was for a Vasco victory by at least three goals that would have taken United to the third-place play-off on goal difference.

But with the Brazilians winning 2-1, United's misery was complete and they can now make a premature return to domestic action.

Ferguson selected an experimental line-up, with nine changes to the side that lost on Saturday.

And South African winger Fortune made the most of a rare first-team opportunity, hitting two excellent goals in the first 20 minutes.

Match facts
8: Quinton Fortune opens the scoring
20: Fortune's second proves the final goal
76: David Beckham makes a belated return to action
But that proved the end of the genuine action as the match degenerated into something like a training game in a sparsely-populated Maracana Stadium.

Indeed South Melbourne, who were already out of the tournament and were merely looking to enhance their reputation with an encouraging display on the world stage, came close to causing some late embarrassment for the English giants.

Quinton's crisp effort

United began at a stroll in the intense heat of the Brazilian afternoon.

David Beckham wins backing from some Brazilian fans
And Fortune opened the scoring after just eight minutes following the sort of wonderful move that would have made a Brazilian team proud.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made an excellent break down the right flank, cut into the area and slipped the ball into the path of Cole.

The captain weighed up his options, decided against shooting and instead produced an audacious back-heel that wrong-footed the whole of the Melbourne defence and allowed the unmarked Fortune to finish superbly in the top corner.

Fortune was excellent. He's got great speed, balance, is a good crosser of the ball and he showed tonight he can score goals.
Sir Alex Ferguson
Then with 20 minutes on the clock, Cole played a ball through the middle and Fortune sprinted free of his marker before flicking the ball over advancing keeper Chris Jones for his second.

Melbourne's back line looked increasingly suspect - but United failed to add to their tally before the break, Solskjaer volleying against the bar and Jordi Cruyff missing from point-blank range.

Agony for Aussies

With the temperature cooling, United stepped up the tempo at the start of the second half and Cole produced another telling pass for the on-rushing Solskjaer, whose flicked effort hit the outside of the near post.

Lozanovski slides in to halt goal hero Fortune
But gradually the Treble winners began to lose all their impetus. And with United bereft of ideas, Melbourne started to find their feet at last.

And the Australians came agonisingly close to pulling a goal back in the 72nd minute.

Vaughan Coveny ghosted into the area and beat Raimond Van Der Gouw with his shot - only to see the ball hit the post and roll all the way along the goal-line before striking the other upright and bouncing clear.

United new-boy Wilson challenges Iosifidis
Coveny then out-paced Henning Berg again and forced Van Der Gouw into a sharp save, with Michael Curcija unable to capitalise on the rebound.

Ferguson decided a top-class element was needed and introduced David Beckham for youngster Mark Wilson with 14 minutes left.

Beckham, who was banned for the Vasco game after his high-profile red card against Necaxa, helped United step up a gear and his long-range strike brought a fine save out of Jones.

The Melbourne keeper was then twice called upon to deny Solskjaer, as the Norwegian failed to make the most of great chances.


Man Utd: Van Der Gouw, P. Neville, Higginbotham, Berg, Wallwork, Cruyff, Wilson, Greening, Fortune, Solskjaer, Cole.
Subs: Bosnich, Rachubka, G. Neville, Irwin, Silvestre, Stam, Beckham, Butt, Giggs, Yorke, Keane.

South Melbourne: Jones, Iosifidis, De Amicis, Blatsis, Clarkson, Panopoulos, Trimboli, Curcija, Anastasiadis, Lozanovski, Liparoti.
Subs: Udvaracz, Roche, Coveny, Alagich, Cuzzupe, Magnacca, Goutzoulis, Tsekinis, Psonis, Mustafa, Culibrk.

Referee: Stefano Braschi (Italy)

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See also:
12 Jan 00 |  World Club Championship
Fergie 'quite happy' with Brazil
11 Jan 00 |  World Club Championship
Vasco move in on final
11 Jan 00 |  World Club Championship
Corinthians creep into final
10 Jan 00 |  World Club Championship
Surreal win for eight-man Real
09 Jan 00 |  World Club Championship
World Club Championship tables
05 Jan 00 |  World Club Championship
World Club Championship results
11 Jan 00 |  World Club Championship
Man Utd: Take us seriously
09 Jan 00 |  Manchester United
No regrets for Ferguson
08 Jan 00 |  Manchester United
Man Utd's world title bid demolished
09 Jan 00 |  Football
Necaxa stay on track

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