Hernandez scores United's opener after great work by Rooney
By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer at Old Trafford
Manchester United survived a late scare against Marseille before advancing into the Champions League quarter-finals for the fifth season in succession.
Javier Hernandez cemented his growing reputation with two close-range finishes to put United in control - but a late own goal from Wes Brown forced an anxious finale as Marseille pressed for the equaliser that would have sent them through.
Sir Alex Ferguson looks to have unearthed a goal poacher in the mould of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in young Mexican Hernandez and he was on the spot inside five minutes to slide in Wayne Rooney's ball across the face of goal.
Marseille had the chance to snatch a crucial away goal but wastefully cast their best opportunities aside with Andre-Pierre Gignac and Souleymane Diawara the guilty men in the first half.
Rooney and the ageless Ryan Giggs were prominent for United, but they continued to live dangerously with former star Gabriel Heinze heading wide and Benoit Cheyrou making keeper Edwin van der Sar work with another effort.
Hernandez swooped again for United's second from Giggs' cross with 15 minutes left, but any hopes of a routine finish evaporated when Brown headed a corner from Lucho Gonzalez into his own net.
United held out in relative comfort, although a defence stripped of injured captain Nemanja Vidic was uncertain throughout and Ferguson will be relieved to have survived what was, at times, a hazardous assignment.
Victory came at a cost, however, as United's defensive injury list lengthened, with both John O'Shea and Rafael substituted after suffering hamstring injuries.
United were forced to pair Chris Smalling and Brown in central defence after Vidic was ruled out with a calf injury, but Ferguson had the bonus of being able to recall Nani ahead of schedule after his recovery from the shin injury he suffered at Liverpool.
Ferguson left leading scorer Dimitar Berbatov on the bench once more as he kept faith with Rooney and Hernandez in attack - a trust rewarded with an early opening goal.
After a superb pass out to Giggs, Rooney found space in the Marseille box and when he drove an effort across the face of goal Hernandez was waiting to pounce in the manner that is swiftly becoming his trademark.
Marseille went in search of the equaliser and an away goal and should have scored it in an immediate response to Hernandez's strike. Andre Ayew's flick sent the highly regarded Gignac clear but he sidefooted over with only Van der Sar to beat.
United's defence, already revamped as a result of Vidic's absence, suffered another blow when O'Shea pulled up clutching his hamstring on an attacking run into the area and was immediately replaced by Rafael.
Despite enjoying the greater share of possession, United escaped again when Taye Taiwo's corner was met by the head of Diawara who, to Old Trafford's great relief, failed to trouble Van der Sar as another opportunity for an equaliser was spurned.
Old Trafford appealed loudly for a penalty as the interval approached but Spanish official Carlos Velasco Hernandez ruled that it was simply a tangle between Taiwo and Hernandez and waved the protests away.
The lively Rooney had posed United's biggest threat and he was troubling Marseille again in the early stages of the second half, twice narrowly failing to play in Hernandez as he loitered with intent in the area.
Marseille, however, sensed they could play on Old Trafford's nerves and it was former United defender Heinze who provided the next moment of anxiety when he sent a header wide from Gonzalez's corner.
Brown was lucky to escape with a wild mis-kick in front of goal before United's injury curse struck once more as substitute Rafael was stretchered off with a hamstring injury, his brother Fabio replacing him.
Cheyrou then forced a smart save out of Van der Sar before the predatory Hernandez struck to double United's advantage with another close-range finish from a perfect cross by Giggs.
If United and Old Trafford thought they could relax with 15 minutes to go, they were soon thinking again as Marseille pulled a goal back as Brown diverted another Gonzalez corner into his own net with seven minutes left. Paul Scholes tried in vain to keep the ball out but it had clearly crossed the line.
As the clock ticked down, Marseille were unable to apply any serious pressure and United could celebrate safe passage into the last eight of the Champions League once more.
90:00+4:11 The referee blows his whistle to end the game.
90:00+2:51 Free kick taken by Edwin Van der Sar.
90:00+2:51 Booking Loic Remy goes into the referee's book.
90:00+2:41 Chris Smalling fouled by Loic Remy, the ref awards a free kick.
90:00+1:25 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Fabio Da Silva by Loic Remy. Chris Smalling restarts play with the free kick.
90:00+1:10 Rod Fanni produces a cross, Michael Carrick makes a clearance.
89:10 Foul by Benoit Cheyrou on Ryan Giggs, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Michael Carrick.
84:40 Wayne Rooney takes a shot. Save by Steve Mandanda.
82:49 Assist by Mathieu Valbuena.
82:49 GOAL - Wes Brown:Man Utd 2 - 1 Marseille Own goal by Wes Brown. Man Utd 2 (2)-(1) 1 Marseille.
81:01 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Mathieu Valbuena from the left by-line to the near post, Benoit Cheyrou takes a shot.
Blocked by Fabio Da Silva. Inswinging corner taken by Mathieu Valbuena.
79:27 Ryan Giggs takes a inswinging corner.
79:27 Substitution Stephane M'bia Etoundi leaves the field to be replaced by Jordan Ayew.
78:00 Rod Fanni takes a shot. Save made by Edwin Van der Sar.
77:20 Patrice Evra takes a shot. Save by Steve Mandanda.
74:48 Assist on the goal came from Ryan Giggs.
74:48 GOAL - Javier Hernandez:Man Utd 2 - 0 Marseille Javier Hernandez scores a goal from close in to the bottom left corner of the goal. Man Utd 2 (2)-(0) 0 Marseille.
73:54 Benoit Cheyrou takes a shot. Edwin Van der Sar makes a save.
73:05 Antonio Valencia delivers the ball.
72:51 The ball is crossed by Antonio Valencia, Souleymane Diawara manages to make a clearance.
71:53 Edwin Van der Sar takes the direct free kick.
71:53 Booking Mathieu Valbuena is given a yellow card.
71:44 Wes Brown fouled by Mathieu Valbuena, the ref awards a free kick.
67:55 Souleymane Diawara takes the free kick.
67:55 Substitution Rafael Da Silva goes off and Fabio Da Silva comes on.
67:55 Substitution Andre Pierre Gignac goes off and Mathieu Valbuena comes on.
67:55 The referee blows for offside against Wayne Rooney.
67:39 Loic Remy delivers the ball, Edwin Van der Sar makes a save.
67:15 Free kick awarded for a foul by Ryan Giggs on Andre Ayew. Direct free kick taken by Lucho Gonzalez.
66:09 Benoit Cheyrou concedes a free kick for a foul on Michael Carrick. Edwin Van der Sar takes the direct free kick.
63:12 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Michael Carrick by Benoit Cheyrou. Free kick taken by Paul Scholes.
62:06 Corner taken right-footed by Lucho Gonzalez from the right by-line, Headed effort from inside the area by Gabriel Heinze misses
to the right of the target.
60:36 Free kick taken by Gabriel Heinze.
60:36 Substitution Antonio Valencia on for Luis Nani.
60:36 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Andre Pierre Gignac by Chris Smalling.
60:06 Luis Nani concedes a free kick for a foul on Taye Taiwo. Steve Mandanda takes the direct free kick.
59:19 Loic Remy produces a cross.
54:27 The referee blows for offside. Souleymane Diawara takes the indirect free kick.
51:28 Free kick awarded for a foul by Lucho Gonzalez on Ryan Giggs. Patrice Evra takes the free kick.
50:49 Lucho Gonzalez takes a shot. Blocked by Wes Brown.
48:11 The assistant referee flags for offside against Andre Pierre Gignac. Indirect free kick taken by Chris Smalling.
47:40 Foul by Andre Pierre Gignac on Edwin Van der Sar, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Edwin Van der Sar.
46:45 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Loic Remy by Patrice Evra. Souleymane Diawara restarts play with the free kick.
45:12 Lucho Gonzalez gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Paul Scholes. Paul Scholes takes the free kick.
45:01 The second half begins.
45:00+1:05 It is the end of the first-half.
45:00+0:22 Rafael Da Silva gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Benoit Cheyrou. Benoit Cheyrou restarts play with the free
44:41 Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Benoit Cheyrou, save by Edwin Van der Sar.
43:18 Inswinging corner taken by Ryan Giggs from the right by-line, Chris Smalling has a header from deep inside the six-yard box
and clears the crossbar.
41:59 Effort on goal by Loic Remy from just inside the penalty box goes harmlessly over the target.
41:41 Rafael Da Silva gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Andre Ayew. Benoit Cheyrou takes the direct free kick.
41:13 Benoit Cheyrou takes a shot. Chris Smalling gets a block in.
40:01 Benoit Cheyrou takes a outswinging corner.
38:37 Effort from 30 yards by Benoit Cheyrou. Edwin Van der Sar makes a save.
35:55 Substitution John O'Shea goes off and Rafael Da Silva comes on.
35:16 Corner taken left-footed by Benoit Cheyrou. Taye Taiwo crosses the ball, Souleymane Diawara has a headed effort at goal from
close range which goes wide of the left-hand post.
33:54 Wes Brown fouled by Andre Pierre Gignac, the ref awards a free kick. Edwin Van der Sar takes the free kick.
32:38 Rod Fanni produces a cross, save by Edwin Van der Sar.
31:13 Foul by Chris Smalling on Andre Pierre Gignac, free kick awarded. Lucho Gonzalez delivers the ball from the free kick right-footed
from left by-line.
29:35 Lucho Gonzalez concedes a free kick for a foul on Paul Scholes. Paul Scholes restarts play with the free kick.
28:26 Luis Nani has an effort at goal from outside the penalty box missing to the wide right of the goal.
27:20 Andre Pierre Gignac concedes a free kick for a foul on Wes Brown. Edwin Van der Sar restarts play with the free kick.
25:52 The ball is sent over by Loic Remy, Paul Scholes manages to make a clearance.
24:58 Centre by Taye Taiwo, Paul Scholes manages to make a clearance.
23:34 Shot from outside the box by Lucho Gonzalez goes wide right of the target. The referee blows for offside. Edwin Van der Sar
takes the free kick.
22:55 Javier Hernandez takes a shot. Save by Steve Mandanda.
21:02 Luis Nani fouled by Gabriel Heinze, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Paul Scholes.
19:48 Gabriel Heinze takes the free kick.
19:48 Booking Javier Hernandez is booked.
19:42 Gabriel Heinze fouled by Javier Hernandez, the ref awards a free kick.
19:21 Javier Hernandez is caught offside. Gabriel Heinze restarts play with the free kick.
18:16 A cross is delivered by Ryan Giggs, save made by Steve Mandanda.
17:53 Outswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Ryan Giggs, clearance by Souleymane Diawara.
13:54 Patrice Evra challenges Lucho Gonzalez unfairly and gives away a free kick. Souleymane Diawara takes the free kick.
13:26 Unfair challenge on Chris Smalling by Andre Pierre Gignac results in a free kick. Edwin Van der Sar takes the direct free
12:24 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Taye Taiwo by Luis Nani. Direct free kick taken by Steve Mandanda.
12:14 Corner taken by Ryan Giggs.
10:59 Free kick awarded for a foul by Patrice Evra on Loic Remy. Free kick crossed left-footed by Benoit Cheyrou, save by Edwin
Van der Sar.
9:43 Ryan Giggs takes a short corner.
9:12 The referee penalises Rod Fanni for handball. Ryan Giggs takes the free kick.
8:40 Effort on goal by Andre Pierre Gignac from inside the penalty box misses to the right of the target.
8:07 The offside flag is raised against Javier Hernandez. Indirect free kick taken by Souleymane Diawara.
4:53 Assist on the goal came from Wayne Rooney.
4:53 GOAL - Javier Hernandez:Man Utd 1 - 0 Marseille Javier Hernandez finds the back of the net with a goal from close in low into the middle of the goal. Man Utd 1 (1)-(0) 0
4:27 Ryan Giggs takes a outswinging corner to the near post, Steve Mandanda makes a fantastic save.
1:02 John O'Shea challenges Andre Ayew unfairly and gives away a free kick. Taye Taiwo takes the free kick.
0:00 The referee starts the match.
Live text and data provided by The Press Association.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.