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  Tuesday, 27 August, 2002, 21:54 GMT 22:54 UK
Rampant Reds on the march
Manchester United midfielder David Beckham with Juan Sebastian Veron in the background
Beckham was in magnificent form for Man Utd
Man Utd 5-0 Zalaegerszeg (Agg: 5-1)

Manchester United reached the promised land of the Champions League first round with a rousing victory over Zalaegerszeg.

Anyone expecting a repeat of the David and Goliath scenes a fortnight ago was swiftly disappointed as Sir Alex Ferguson's men overwhelmed the Hungarians.

Goals from Ruud van Nistelrooy, David Beckham and Paul Scholes within the first half hour set the tone for a breathtaking display of attacking football.

  Key incidents
6 mins: Ruud van Nistelrooy finishes a slick move
15 mins: David Beckham scores with a trademark free-kick
21mins: Paul Scholes nudges in United's third
76 mins: Van Nistelrooy scores from penalty spot
83 mins Ole Gunnar Solskjaer nets United's fifth

Van Nistelrooy doubled his tally after the break, winning a penalty following a reckless tackle by Sasa Ilic, which resulted in the former Charlton keeper being sent off.

Substitute Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was not to be denied either, scoring United's fifth with a sumptous finish.

United's movement was exquisite, their work-rate and desire unquestionable, and their insatiable appetite for success fully restored.

Rio Ferdinand, playing his first competitive match since his 30m move from Leeds, could not have wished for an easier return to action after an ankle injury.

However, Ferguson's joy was tempered by the sight of Scholes being stretchered off with what appeared to be a serious ankle injury.

The United manager again implemented the 4-4-1-1 formation he used in the Champions League last season, with Scholes, before his withdrawal, playing just behind Van Nistelrooy.

His tactic paid off handsomely and the money men at Old Trafford will be breathing a sigh of relief if not rubbing their hands at the 15m windfall coming their way thanks to qualification to the group stages of Europe's elite competition.

Juan Sebastian Veron was again given the chance to shine in the centre of midfield at the expense of the injured Nicky Butt.


This club's history is built on great European nights and now we can look forward to more
Sir Alex Ferguson
And the Argentine slotted seamlessly into a midfield in which Roy Keane and Beckham were outstanding.

The emphasis placed on attack by Ferguson before the match was clearly heeded by his charges as they started in quite blistering fashion.

An incisive four-man move involving Phil Neville, Keane, Scholes and Van Nistelrooy ended with the Dutchman firing a low shot past Ilic after the deftest of touches by Scholes.

United toyed with Zalaegerszeg and soon added a second on 15 minutes.

Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy scored twice
Van Nistelrooy tormented the Hungarians

Ryan Giggs was fouled on the edge of the area, paving the way for Beckham to attempt one of his trademark free-kicks.

The England captain duly obliged and unleashed an unstoppable strike into the top left-hand corner.

Beckham then turned provider, setting up Scholes who played a one-two with the Hungarian defence before putting the ball in the back of the net.

After the interval, the red tidal wave showed no signs of abating.

Ilic was sent off for a dreadful lunge on Van Nistelrooy, who converted the spot-kick with ruthless efficiency.

United were in no mood to be charitable to the side which had caused them so much embarrassment two weeks ago.

Diego Forlan could even afford a wry smile at seeing his late headed effort, which would have broken his United duck, ruled out.

With seven minutes remaining, Giggs threaded a beautiful reverse ball to the feet of Solskjaer and the Norwegian applied the finish.

The Hungarians can be left to cherish the memory of their famous win over United in Budapest, while the Reds stride forth towards another European adventure.


Man Utd: Carroll, Phil Neville, Ferdinand (O'Shea 68), Blanc, Silvestre, Beckham (Forlan 72), Keane, Veron, Scholes (Solskjaer 50), Giggs, Van Nistelrooy.
Subs Not Used: Williams, Chadwick, Stewart, Tierney.

Zalaegerszeg: Ilic, Csoka, Urban, Budisa, Szamosi, Babati (Turi 75), Darko Ljubojevic (Farago 59), Molnar, Vincze (Balogh 64), Kenesei, Egressy.
Subs Not Used: Sabo, Kral, Koplarovic, Joszi.

Sent Off: Ilic (74).
Booked: Molnar.

Attendance: 66,814

Referee: C Cortez Batista (Portugal).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Alan Green
"This time United dictated the tempo"
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson
"The first-half desire laid the foundation"
Manchester United's Ryan Giggs
"It was important we started well"

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See also:

26 Aug 02 | Man Utd
27 Aug 02 | Arsenal
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