Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughNeur Say Never As United Overcome Schalke’s Hero - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Neur Say Never As United Overcome Schalke’s Hero - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Neur Say Never As United Overcome Schalke’s Hero

Tense is usually the word that sums up Champions League knockout games, especially semi-final ties where so much is riding on the line for the winning team. The same word also applies to the atmosphere at games and how fans feel when watching their team in such an important game.

After all, these games are often close-fought tense affairs that more often than not have a defensive undertone to them. Manchester United’s game in Germany against Schalke 04 on Tuesday was one of the exceptions to this so-called rule, as the game was so open it was almost at times scarcely believable.

Perhaps it was Schalke being underwhelmed on the night, perhaps after their marvellous and shocking win over Inter Milan in the previous round it all became abit too much for their players. On paper, it just appeared that United right from the first minute stamped their authority on the game and didn’t let their foot of the gas once.

That’s not a criticism of Ralf Rangnick’s team, but the facts are that the current Schalke team – despite their wins over Inter and Valencia previously in the knockout rounds – is far from a great one. It’s very easy to forget that only 3 days before the United game, Schalke lost 1-0 at home to mid-table Kaiserslautern so facing the current Premiership leaders was always going to be too much for them.

Having adopted the Gelsenkirchen club as my ‘German Team’ back in 2006, I know that they have had far better teams down the years than the current crop. In truth losing Kevin Kuranyi in the summer hurt the club, as he would have been a great partner to play alongside Raul. And as nice a guy as Klas-Jan Huntelaar is, he just isn’t good enough compared to the strength and power that Kuranyi had.

Raul to his credit has been brilliant and is on to get 20 goals for the club in all competitions which even giving his sensational career is some achievement, when this time last year he was barley playing for Madrid.

It was quite sad in a way that he barely got a kick in the game or even a chance to have a shot on goal, as Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand barley had to break sweat during the 90 minutes so comfortable was United’s performance.

The one obvious bright spark for Schalke though was Manuel Neur, who is almost 90% certain of joining Bayern Munich in the summer. He will be a fantastic signing for Bayern, who have had to make do with ‘stop-gap’ keepers since the retirement of the legendary Oliver Kahn in 2008.

Neur kept the score respectable for Schalke and confirmed his legacy as the best young goalkeeper in Europe. It’s very easy to see why he’s highly rated as along with making good saves, he has the right build and temperament to succeed and will only get better – which is a scary thing to consider.

It looks to be a shame for the likes of Arsene Wenger and Ferguson – who both despartley need a new first-choice keeper – that Neur looks likely to join Bayern, as he’d be a fantastic buy for either manager.

As a Manchester United fan, it appears that we’re likely to end up having David De Gea as our new number 1 goalkeeper next season. Although there’s no doubting De Gea’s ability, I do worry about his age as being only 20 he will have alot of pressure on his shoulders.

Then again De Gea to his credit did make his debut for Atlético Madrid at 18 and has dealt with the pressure of being their first choice goalie for the best part of 18 months, so perhaps he is ‘mentally’ up to it, so to speak.

Getting back to Tuesday’s game itself, United played very well and it was good to see Ji-Sung Park and Antonio Valenica shine down their flanks. Both are important members of our squad and both appear to be ‘big-game’ players who thrive on their role in such a big game.

One thing that caught my eye in particular was the spooky similarity between Ryan Gigg’s goal that finally beat Neur and the one that Giggsy scored to clinch the Premiership back in 2008 away to Wigan. Both came from brilliant reverse-passes from Wayne Rooney that complety caught out the opposition.

Almost as soon as Giggs scored againgst Schalke, I turned around to my dad and brother and told them of the similarity, which in my opinion is quite uncanny.

Take a look for yourself if you don’t believe me by looking at the 2 goals and look at the runs by both Giggs and Rooney that lead up to the goals.

It’s a credit to Giggs that at 37, that despite losing his lightning pace that he had the best part of 15 years ago, that he’s still churning out match-winning performances in the twilight of his career. No matter who United bring in to replace him, the club’s record apperance maker is irreplacable.

Fans will always remember great players like Giggs and getting back to Neur, I know that he is leaving Schalke with the uptmost respect of the fans as having been at the club since being 5, he has been a great player. Hopefully for his and Schalke’s sake he can end his time at the club with a winner’s medal in the German Cup final against second-division side Duisburg and go out in style.

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