FT: Manchester United 3 Braga 2

Thanks for all your comments today folks! Don't forget, you can always follow me on Twitter: @RazMirza to send me your views so speak to you all soon!

FULL-TIME: Another thriller at Old Trafford and Manchester United have to thank Javier Hernandez for keeping up their 100% start to this season's Champions League group stage. Despite Alan giving Braga a two goal lead, United hit back thanks to the Mexican before Jonny Evans' equaliser and Chicharito's winner with 15 minutes remaining.

The ball into the mixer is headed out for a United throw.

Robin van Persie tries to hold his run, but he's caught offside and here comes Braga's last throw of the dice.

Ze Luis picks up the ball and hits a rasping right-foot curler wide of the far post. That certainly had the home supporters gasping.

Three added minutes of stoppage time at Old Trafford.

Excellent work by Darren Fletcher as he keeps the ball down the Braga end and safely.

SUBSTITUTION: Ze Luis replaces Ruben Micael as Braga coach Jose Peseiro makes his final change.

Helder Barbosa whips over a lovely left-wing cross, which David De Gea does well to hold as the ball pitches up.

SUBSTITUTION: Mossoro comes on for goalscorer Alan as Braga make their second change.

Viana looks for Leandro Salino's run down the left, but he's offside.

Hugo Viana's free-kick is cleared by Ryan Giggs and the visitors are not giving up that easily with the clock ticking down.

Darren Fletcher pushes down his man in the middle of the park for a free-kick.

Meanwhile, David De Gea loses his concentration at one end and almost gifts Braga an equaliser, while Robin van Persie fires over the crossbar at the other end.

SUBSTITUTION: Meanwhile, Helder Barbosa replaces Ruben Amorim for the visitors.

SUBSTITUTION: Ryan Giggs replaces goalscorer Javier Hernandez for the hosts.

Meanwhile, Hugo Viana picks up the ball and fires a cracker just wide.

Sir Alex Ferguson takes the credit for a change in formation and a higher tempo at the start of the second half.

Braga won't get that point as things stand because Manchester United take the lead thanks to a wonderful goal. Tom Cleverley's delicious right-wing cross is gobbled up in the six-yard box by Chicharito for his second goal of the night.


Braga will be happy to settle for a point right now if you were to offer it to them.

From the corner, Beto is challenged by Rooney and Robin van Persie and he gets up only to throw the ball out because he's in need of some medical attention.

GOOD SAVE!! Hernandez finds Nani with a wonderful ball with the outside of his boot and the winger fires his effort straight down the throat of Beto, who palms the ball away for a corner.

Alan does well to skip past Darren Fletcher and find Eder, but United win the ball back and counter.

Rafael's cross from the right looks dangerous until Elderson gets in the way to make the all important block.

Alan gifts United a free-kick on halway and the men in red play it quickly, but Robin van Persie is soon penalised for running into his marker.

The one worry for Fergie is that his side are conceding too many soft goals and that will surely worry him.

Rooney and Nani have been very influencial at the start of this second half and the tempo has been excellent.

Now, we're level and you would think United will be favourites to go on and win this match now!?

United have restored parity at Old Trafford with a scruffy goal, but Sir Alex Ferguson won't care. Robin van Persie's inswinging corner is flicked on and although Evans miss-hits his initial shot, he swivels and uses his left-foot to slot the ball into the back of the net despite the presence of a number Braga defenders around him.


Goalkeeper Beto does well to anticipate Tom Cleverley's right wing cross and palm the ball away to safety.

CLOSE!! Wayne Rooney wins the ball back from Leandro Salino and his cross is inches away from being met by Robin van Persie.

Phil Hoole emails in to say: "I seem to remember last year we came unstuck by resting players for supposed 'bigger games'. I hope this doesn't backfire on us again this year. You would think Fergie should have had his wakeup call."

Jonny Evans intercepts the pass by Leandro Salino, but then Tom Cleverley is caught with his eye off the ball.

Braga coach Jose Peseiro looks a worried man on the sidelines.

Rooney's inswinging corner is headed high, wide and handsome by Nani.

Great challenge by Michael Carrick to cut Alan's ball out while the hosts win a corner at the other end.

However, the ball is coming back Braga's way now and United look much more comfortable with this formation.

Robin van Persie drills the free-kick in, but Braga hammer the ball clear.

YELLOW CARD: Rafael Da Silva is taken down after looking to play a one-two with Tom Cleverley and Elderson is booked by referee Milorad Mazic.

The Red Devils certainly look like a different side at the start of this second half. The tempo is much higher but Jonny Evans is caught in an offside position.

Can Braga hold on or will we see another famous comeback from Manchester United?

Nani wins his side an early second half corner after causing problems in the box, but Braga clear their lines.

YELLOW CARD: Custodio is booked for bringing Javier Hernandez down.

Looks like Sir Alex has given up on the diamond formation and has opted for a more recognisable 4-4-2 formation.

Wayne Rooney has moved over to the left with Nani backing him up, so a slight change in formation for Sir Alex Ferguson's side.

SUBSTITUTION: Nani replaces the injured Shinji Kagawa for United at the start of the second half. Will he offer them some width?

Mtariq47 Tweets: "‏4-4-2 diamond in a Champions League game is too bold and not a good idea...Young and Nani on to make it wider..."

Vuk Milicevic emails: "So much for my 3-0 prediction Raz. I guess that's the risk you run of playing a midfielder in defense. Makes you realize how hard it is when the majority of your defenders are injured. Can't get over why we've been conceding early throughout the season so far. Fergie's hairdryer treatment in full effect as we speak I think. 3-2 United hopefully now." 7/2 with Skybet Vuk...get on it!

Gavin Bantges Tweets: "Fergie needs to change the formation to a 4-2-3-1, bring on Ferdinand and Giggs and take off Carrick and Hernadez. Sorted."

Salaar Shamsi says: "I'd just like to point out, it's absolutely preposterous for United fans to blame Carrick for these defensive problems. You can't put a midfielder there and expect him to perform everytime. You want to rest Ferdinand? Fair enough. Put in, Scotty Wootton, perfect time to test out the young lad, atleast he's naturally suited to the position."

Meanwhile Mike has emailed me an essay on United's defence. He says: "Fergie saying that Carrick is a perfect fit at CB in this game is basically him saying he isn't confident in his youngsters yet and doesn't have any other options. He fared ok last season at CB but this year it's just not working. I'd almost prefer to see Fletcher paired up with Evans. If I was a gambling man, I'd say the prospect of Man U shopping for a defender in the January transfer window is easy money. Ferdinand is past it, Evra is inconsistent, Jones/Smalling/Vidic appear to be injury liabilities now... for all of their offensive prowess, it amounts to nothing if Man U concedes in the first ten minutes of every blinkin game, let alone can't keep a clean sheet."

Keith Hulse emails in to say: "If Carrick is the key to England's future then our future is looking bleak....he he has never reached the World Class standard even as a midfield player. And now he's the new Franz Beckenbauer??"

Don't forget, if you'd like to air your views during the second half, email Raz...that's me! at razwan.mirza@bskyb.com or Tweet me: @RazMirza and I'll publish as many as I can.

Manchester United are now 13/8 to claim victory with @Skybet, who make Braga 6/4 and the draw 9/4. Before tonight's match I went for a 3-1 win to the home side, but now that's out the window how about a 3-2 victory for United at 7/2. Head now to SkyBet to place your bets on this match.

HALF-TIME: Manchester United were two goals down inside 20 minutes to Braga as Alan struck for the visitors, but Javier Hernandez gave Sir Alex Ferguson's side some hope when he pulled a goal back soon after. Will the manager bring back his wide boys and dispense with his diamond formation for the second half?

Former Newcastle man Hugo Viana picks up the ball about 30-yards out before lashing it towards goal, but it doesn't trouble David De Gea.

United had a bit of an opportunity moments earlier as Rafael Da Silva's cross was attacked by a number of United players in the box, but Braga stayed calm before clearing their lines.

Is this the same Michael Carrick that Xavi Alonso said is the key to England's future?

Williams Fiveash: "Maybe they should build a roller coaster at Old Trafford and call it TheCarrick Coaster due to his constant up-down performance..."

Remember fans, Braga have won four and lost none of their last five matches against English sides, keeping four clean sheets and conceding just one goal.

Jonny Evans is felled and her come United through Robin van Persie down the right, but his cross is headed away with ease.

Ferguson said before the game he felt Carrick would be perfect for this type of game Robin.

Robin Worrall emails in to say: "Carrick proving he isn't a defender sadly. You can't just put a Midfielder into the heart of defense and assume he'll play well especially at this level. Sorry but need to bring on Ferdinand and try to salvage this game before its totally out of reach!"

Rafael Da Silva cuts inside before sending over an attempted through ball, but nobody else was on the Brazilian's wave length.

NO GOAL!! United have the ball in the back of the net, but the assistant's flag is up for an offside call against Shinji Kagawa. Replays show that he was actually onside from Robin van Persie's through ball.

Well Beth, that goal by Chicharito has given your team some hope and they are playing some better stuff right now.

Beth Taylor ‏Tweets: "Not liking the look of our defense right now, complete shambles right now! Maybe have to think about some early substitutions?"

CLOSE AGAIN!! Now it's United turn to come forward and Robin van Persie's left-foot cross is inches away from being turned into the back of the net by Javier Hernandez.

At the other end, Braga win a corner and Tom Cleverley is caught in a two against one situation as the cross is sent in and Custodio volleys wide with a fine effort.

CLOSE!! Wayne Rooney picks out Robin van Persie who drags his right-foot effort wide of the near post.

Suddenly, the game has changed and it's the men in red who are looking dangerous going forward once again.

Referee Milorad Mazic allows play to continue after Robin van Persie produces a fine piece of skill down the right on the edge of the area before being brought down, but the ball runs to Shinji Kagawa who dinks the ball into the box for Javier Hernandez to head home from close-range.


Questions will be asked about whay Carrick was out of position on the near touchline when he should be playing at centre-back. Any ideas?

Unbelieveable stuff from Braga at Old Trafford. They've hit United with another sucker punch! Eder easily slips the ball past Michael Carrick down the byline before picking out Alan to slot the ball past David De Gea from six-yards. Easy as you like and Fergie will be fuming right now.


Michael Carrick looks for Robin van Persie, who makes a nice run, but Beto is out to hold on tight and immediately distributes the ball.

Nice possession play from the men in green tonight but United quickly win the ball back.

Braga are very organised and will be happy to sit on this lead and let United come on to them as Hugo Viana sweeps over a wonderful crossfield pass.

They will have to be wary of the counter-attack of course as Ruben Micael steals the ball off Rooney in a promising position too.

I think Old Trafford is slightly in a state of shock after that opening to the game, but the Red Devils are pressing the Portuguese side back more and more now.

The crowd are urging the home side forward as Alex Buttner looses the ball and Braga earn a goalkick.

The United backline back off in numbers allowing Ruben Micael to get his shot away, which has De Gea worried, even though it's wide.

Tom Cleverley picks out Javier Hernandez with a lovely pass, but the Mexican is run off the ball and Braga counter-attack.

Higher tempo stuff from United now as they go on the attack.

Paulo Vinicius risies above Robin van Persie, and the hosts win a free-kick on halfway.

United are keeping possession and looking to try and create a bit of width through Buttner.

The hosts try and get forward in numbers and Jonny Evans tries to restore parity with a header, but it loops over the crossbar.

Oh dear, United have started slowly yet again in the Champions League. Poor defending from United to allow Hugo Viana to send over his left-foot cross and Alan gets above his marker Alexander Buttner to head the ball past a statuesque David De Gea.


Alan's corner is hammered clear by Robin van Persie for a throw.

We're underway then and Braga - wearing green shirts and black shorts and socks - are on the attack immediately. They win an early corner.

The teams are ready. The pitch is in fine condition and Old Trafford is packed.

Don't forget, if you'd like to air your views during the match, email Raz...that's me! at razwan.mirza@bskyb.com or Tweet me: @RazMirza and I'll publish the best.

Three players to look out for in the Braga line-up - Ruben Micael, Eder and Alan folks.

The United front six of Shinji Kagawa, Darren Fletcher, Tom Cleverley, Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez, Robin van Persie is something else isn't it? Talk about attacking line-up. If we don't get any goals, I'll be shocked!

Gavin Bantges Tweets: "I don't know what Fergie is doing not even having Wootton on the bench, but using Carrick again is risky, still 3-1 to United."

Robin Worrall: "Shame not to see Wootton on the team sheet; even if only as a Sub. He's been really impressive when he's played."

Dan Walker: Hi raz, not sure what all the complaining about the diamond formation is; it is the best formation of United's at current, and utilises Rooney at his best. Admittedly, having Carrick start in the centre of defence isn't ideal but with Fletcher in front of him, and the much improved Evans and Rafael either side, I would not be unduly worried about his position."

Lara Newton: "I don't like that Carrick is at center-back he is a midfielder. I think United will win 2-0 with Rooney and van the man on the score sheet."

That's a good point Vuk because Scott Wootton is only a youngster and might be better to start him in a League Cup tie perhaps? Another interesting note...19-year-old goalkeeper Sam Johnstone is on the bench for United. Let's hope David de Gea doesn't get an injury or get sent-off as that would make an interesting situation.

Vuk Milicevic emails me to say: "No problems with the United side from my point of view. I'm fine with Carrick starting as I feel young Wootton might have found the game a little overwhelming. Hopefully we can get going right from the first whistle and rest up some of the starters for Chelsea. 3-0 United. Also glad to see a Serbian ref as I'm emailing from Belgrade!"

Meanwhile, Bibek Shrestha Ć¾Tweets: "I don't understand why Wotton is not even in the bench. But its good we're playing diamond 2 day..its 3-1..roo n chicha to score."

Beth Taylor Tweets me to say: "It will be interesting to see how this Diamond formation works! I'm thinking 2-1 Man U."

Manchester United are 4/11 to claim victory with @Skybet, who make Braga 15/2 and the draw 15/4. If you fancy a Scorecast Boost, why not try Robin Van Persie to score first and Manchester Utd to win 1-0 @14/1 which is attracting money or a Double Chance with Shinji Kagawa to score first and either Manchester Utd to win 1-0 or Manchester Utd to win 2-1 @18/1. Wayne Rooney is 16/1 to bag a hat-trick while Nani is 12/5 to score in 90 minutes while Ryan Giggs is 12/1 to score first. He has already scored in a record 16 different Champions League seasons. Punters are piling into Wayne Rooney to net the opener and he's now 100/30. Meanwhile, Braga's main striker Eder, who has already scored four times this season after a summer move from Academica, is 10/1 to score first. United have never lost at home to Portuguese opponents but Braga are on a seven-match unbeaten run on their travels in Europe, and are unbeaten in five games against English clubs, but I'm hedging my bets and going for a home win tonight - 3-1, which is priced at a tantalising 10/1. Head now to SkyBet to place your bets on this match.

Keeep the comments coming in fans. Some good stuff so far with a few unhappy with the position of Carrick and that diamond formation in midfield. Email Raz...that's me! at razwan.mirza@bskyb.com or Tweet me: @RazMirza and I'll publish as many as I can.

Meanwhile, David Wooldridge Tweets: "Good luck Braga!"

Daniel Appleby is not happy with the role of Carrick tonight. He says: "I really don't understand why Carrick is starting at center back, I know we need to rest Rio for Chelsea, but why not bring in young Scotty Wooten who is a centre back."

Cian Hughes says: "Heya. I think this will be a tough game tonight! Braga are a really good team and the way Utd are playing in the league I dont think they'll win tonight! 2-1 Braga."

Mike (from Montreal) says: "I think Braga will be tough opponents tonight. They're buoyed by their win against Galatasaray, and I'm sure Fergie will rest a bunch of first-teamers with Chelsea coming up on Sunday. As a United fan I hope they use this as an opportunity for up-and-coming defenders like Buttner and Wooton to prove their worth. I'm going to say 3-1 to United, with Cleverly, Anderson and Hernandez on the score sheet."

Ian Parris is first to email me tonight and he says: "I reckon a hard fought 2-1 victory for united tonight with Rooney and RVP getting the goals."

Rio Ferdinand is named on the bench for Manchester United. But Sir Alex Ferguson did confirm yesterday that Ferdinand would not start, but that it was nothing to do with his weekend T-shirt spat. Michael Carrick is instead named in central defence with Alex Buttner replacing Patrice Evra and Wayne Rooney chosen as captain, as United look to maintain their 100 per cent record against a Braga team that includes former Newcastle man Hugo Viana.

MAN UTD: De Gea, Da Silva, Carrick, Evans, Buttner, Kagawa, Fletcher, Cleverley, Rooney, Hernandez, van Persie.

SUBSTITUTES: Johnstone, Ferdinand, Anderson, Giggs, Nani, Young, Welbeck.

BRAGA: Beto, Leandro Salino, Nuno Andre, Paulo Vinicius, Elderson, Custodio, Hugo Viana, Ruben Amorim, Alan, Ruben Micael, Eder.

SUBSTITUTES: Quim, Mossoro, Helder Barbosa, da Solva, Baiano, Ze Luis, Anibal.

REFREE: Milorad Mazic (Serbia).

Here come the teams...

Braga coach Jose Peseiro will be happy his side bounced back well from their surprise defeat by Cluj to overcome Galatasaray in Istanbul three weeks ago. Braga are way off the form that secured the team third place in the Portuguese league last season. They needed two hours last weekend to beat second-division club Leixoes in a Portuguese Cup game, eventually winning 3-0 after extra time. Eder, one of the scorers in that match, has scored four goals in six Portuguese league games this season and is the man most likely to threaten a United defense that has appeared shaky at times this campaign. especially at home.

Manchester United will look to make it three Group H wins from three. And manager Sir Alex Ferguson is ready to dispense with his wingers and get his side playing in a diamond midfield instead. "If it turns out we play the diamond consistently, it would be revolutionary because it is going against our history," said Ferguson in his pre-match press conference yesterday. "But the level of the game in England and Europe now is so high that making yourself unpredictable is going to be a strength. Teams will have to think if we are going to use two out wide or the diamond, because we have players capable of doing both things. (Shinji) Kagawa and (Tom) Cleverley can play really well in the type of game that a diamond offers, whilst in Nani, Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia we have very good wide players." Alex Buttner is certain to make his Champions League debut at left-back, and Ferguson is giving serious consideration to selecting rookie Scott Wootton - who has impressed in the limited chances he has had so far - alongside Jonny Evans at centre-half.

Manchester United are unbeaten in their last eight Champions League games against Portuguese opposition (W5 D3 L0), but have drawn three of the last four, including the last two at Old Trafford heading into this clash. What do you think Utd fans...easy home win or another tough European encounter tonight? Send me your views.

If you'd like to air your views before or during the match, email Raz...that's me! at razwan.mirza@bskyb.com or Tweet me: @RazMirza and I'll publish as many as I can.

Hello and welcome to our live minute-by-minute text commentary of this UEFA Champions League clash between Manchester United and Braga at Old Trafford.

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