by Darren Walsh

Hmm, this one brings back a few memories, a Champion’s league qualifier in 1993 to be precise.  The first leg of that at Old Trafford finished 3-3; I’d take a score like that for tonight.

Watching this on RTE with a panel that is missing the usual member in Eamon Dunphy tonight, but has added young’un Richie Sadlier, who wound up Liam Brady last week and has the opportunity to do so again tonight.  Though we probably won’t see the same passion as there was during the Ireland game.

Stonewall penalty appeal for Gala, not given.  As usual, the official beside the goalpost does nothing.  That could have set the game up nicely.

Carrick breaks into the box after a one two and scores; haven’t seen him that far forward since he fell over Huerelho Gomes (yep, still bitter about that).  He actually gets properly fouled here, but recovers and scores.  Good job it wasn’t Welbeck or Young in the same position; we’d be watching a boring game with Utd against 10 men.

Amrabat hits the bar with a curler; maybe the game hasn’t already been killed off already.

Eboue shows the defensive skill that made him such a legend at Arsenal; he goes to let the ball run out of play but lets it hit him first.

This ref doesn’t want to see any spot kicks tonight; Kagawa could have had one there.

Hamit Altintop tries a Teddy Sheringham routine as he receives a free kick from out wide; however, unlike in the 2002 League Cup semi-final, this one hits the outside of the post.  Utd look pretty unreactive defensively.

Just seen Oscar’s second goal for Chelsea in their game against Juventus.  I will say that it is not an unamazing strike.

Start of the second half, and it turns out that we will see a penalty tonight after all.  No doubt about the foul on Rafael, but Nani is the surprise taker and misses horribly, much like Hernandez against Wigan on Saturday.  Commentator George Hamilton sounds almost personally offended that he was the taker, even complaining about it before the kick.

Stoppage in play as a ball can’t be found.  No truth to the rumour that the ballboys got annoyed and took them home with them.

Hamilton still seems incredulous that Nani was allowed to take the penalty.  He’s an attacking player who’s used to striking the ball; it’s not that mad that he took it.

Great counter attack from Gala, and De Gea makes a double save.  Nani should have had a penalty just before that.  The camera shot includes the fifth official looking on, who may as well be sitting in the stand for all the use he is.

Another penalty appeal, this time Valencia gets his ankle caught and almost falls into the fifth official.  No action by him, or the referee.

Utd are stumbling over the line, could have given away a penalty when Evans dallies on the ball.  There seriously could have been five spot kicks tonight.

Well that’ll do.  It wasn’t a great performance but they won, which is an improvement on what happened last season.