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The BBC's Simon Brotherton
"Manchester United deserved to win but they were well below their best"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 1 March, 2000, 22:30 GMT
Giggs inspires Man Utd victory

Giggs flicks home United's winner
Manchester United 2-0 Bordeaux

Man-of-the-match Ryan Giggs inspired Manchester United to a comfortable Champions League victory over Bordeaux.

Giggs scored with an impudent first-half flick and then supplied the cross for Teddy Sheringham to add a second seven minutes from time.

Match facts
41 mins: Giggs flicks in United's opener
83 mins: Sheringham heads home the second goal
The result leaves United second in Group B behind Fiorentina and almost certain of qualification to the quarter-finals.

But United will fancy their chances of winnng the group with a re-match against this weak-looking French opposition next week followed by a home tie against the Italians.

Wednesday night's match marked the beginning of a crucial month for United.

They play eight matches the outcome of which will decide whether they can hang onto two of the trio of trophies won last season.


Sheringham (r) began up front alongside Andy Cole
So the fact United were able to stroll to such a relatively comfortable victory without having to over-exert themselves will be a major bonus to Ferguson.

The United boss will be pleased he decided not to risk the recovering Dwight Yorke, opting instead to play Sheringham alongside top scorer Andy Cole.

Though Bordeaux played some attractive attacking football, their defensive weaknesses allowed United to acheive the desired result with the minimum of fuss.

There were glimpses of danger, Sylvain Wiltord missing an open goal 13 minutes after the interval.

Wiltord - French football's player of the year last season - seemed certain to score from Lilian Laslandes' slipped pass, but he sliced his left-footed shot wide of the open goal.


Lilian Laslandes wins the ball
That was Bordeaux's only chance and when they failed to take it, the shutters came down at Old Trafford.

United had been at their free-flowing best in the first half - Ryan Giggs seemingly roaming at will down the right flank and Beckham creating havoc with his swishing right foot.

Beckham was unlucky not to find the net with a 15th minute free-kick that rattled off the crossbar as United hit the Champions League ground running following the three-month break.

And when Giggs flicked home Beckham's rapier-like 42nd minute near-post cross for his sixth goal of the season, it seemed more would surely follow.

But their first-half rythym eluded United after the interval and the French suddenly became more of a match for United.

Glaring miss

Cole missed what was surely one of the easiest chances he will ever get to score when Giggs' 70th minute cross found him staring into the eyes of Ulrich Rame with the ball at his feet.

But he scuffed his shot weakly at the Bordeaux keeper who could scarcely believe his luck.

Skipper Roy Keane fired a simple chance straight at Rame and by the end of the match even Beckham was blasting his normally reliable crosses high into the crowd.

Ferguson response was to pull off Cole in place of defender Phil Neville and the switch produced immediate results.

Giggs' set off on yet another surging run down the left and his superbly flighted cut-back to the far post left Sheringham needing only to nod the ball home for United's second.

Teams:

Manchester United: Raimond Dan Der Gouw; Gary Neville, Jaap Stam, Mikael Silvestre, Denis Irwin; Nicky Butt, David Beckham, Roy Keane, Ryan Giggs; Teddy Sheringham, Andy Cole.

Bordeaux: Ulrich Rame; Francois Grenet, Corentin Martins, Kodjo Afanou, Herve Alicarte, Jerome Bonnissel; Michel Pavon, Lassina Diabate, Johan Micoud; Lilian Laslandes, Sylvain Wiltord.

Referee: Hartmut Strampe (Germany)
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Links to other Champions League stories are at the foot of the page.