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Tuesday, 24 September, 2002, 20:38 GMT 21:38 UK
Man Utd hold off Leverkusen
Ruud van Nistelrooy scored twice for Man Utd at Leverkusen
Van Nistelrooy scores United's first goal
Bayer Leverkusen 1-2 Manchester United

Ruud van Nistelrooy scored twice as Manchester United recorded their first win in Germany for over 30 years.

Bayer Leverkusen - struggling both in Europe and at home this season - came back strongly in the second half after trailing 2-0 at the break.

  Key moments
31 mins: Van Nistelrooy scores
44 mins: Van Nistelrooy scores again
52 mins: Berbatov scores

Dimiter Berbatov's goal after 52 minutes encouraged the home team to push forward, but United held on to avenge last season's Champions League semi-final knock out.

Van Nistelrooy was particularly impressive for United before being withdrawn at half time with a tight hamstring.

Sir Alex Ferguson's team are now unbeaten in 14 Champions League matches and have one foot in the second phase after winning their two opening Group F matches.

Bayer Leverkusen began the game with a steely determination, running at United with purpose and aggression.

And their early thrust almost produced a goal but Oliver Neuville could only smash Marko Babic's teasing cross wide of Fabien Barthez's goal.

United contributed to their early problems with some sloppy passing and reckless challenges that invited their German opponents to attack.

But the visitors were dangerous on the counter attack and should have scored after 18 minutes.


We had some defending to do and we did it well
Sir Alex Ferguson
Van Nistelrooy turned brilliantly despite pressure from two Leverkusen defenders and laid the ball precisely into Beckham's path, but the midfielder missed the target from the edge of the area.

United's increasingly frequent forward forays were rewarded with a goal just after the half hour.

A move involving Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Juan Sebastian Veron culminated in a deep cross to the far post, which Van Nistelrooy controlled with his chest and smashed through Frank Juric's legs.

Leverkusen's Zivkovic hold his head in his hands after Man Utd's score their second
Zivkovic (left) despairs after Man Utd's second goal
Leverkusen tried to bounce straight back, but Barthez saved from Thomas Brdaric and Lucio, while Phil Neville headed off the line.

And United rounded off a successful half with a brilliant second goal that was the product of some superb passing and movement.

Phil Neville, Veron, Giggs and Butt all contributed to a smooth series of passes that unlocked the Leverkusen defence before Van Nistelrooy slotted home from short range.

Leverkusen forced their way back into the contest seven minutes into the second half.

Berbatov read Yildiray Basturk's angled pass and slipped the ball across Barthez to reduce the deficit.

Brdaric seemed poised to smash a dramatic equaliser for Leverkusen after 67 minutes but was foiled by a last-ditch tackle from Rio Ferdinand.

And Klaus Toppmoller's team were only denied an equaliser by the woodwork after Berbatov's glancing header had defeated Barthez.


Bayer Leverkusen: Juric, Zivkovic, Ramelow, Lucio, Balitsch (Franca 81), Babic, Ojigwe (Simak 64), Schneider, Basturk, Brdaric, Neuville (Berbatov 22).
Subs Not Used: Butt, Bierofka, Vranjes, Kleine.
Booked: Balitsch.

Man Utd: Barthez, O'Shea (Gary Neville 46), Ferdinand, Blanc, Silvestre, Beckham, Veron (Solskjaer 88), Phil Neville, Butt, Giggs, Van Nistelrooy (Forlan 46).
Subs Not Used: Ricardo, May, Stewart, Pugh.

Booked: Butt, Ferdinand.

Attendance: 22,500.

Referee: Jan Wegereef (Holland).

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Ian Brown
"Van Nistelrooy looked anything but rusty"
Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson
"A good night for Manchester United"
Man Utd defender Gary Neville
"On chances we deserved the result"

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