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Iain Mackintosh
Sunday, Apr 13, 2014

Sports

Luckless, Clueless, Hopeless

The New Paper | Iain Mackintosh | Sunday, Apr 13, 2014

With Bayern Munich so rampant in Germany and Moyes' men so limp in the Premier League, most people thought this tie would be effectively over before full time in the first leg.

QUARTER-FINAL, 2ND LEG

BAYERN MUNICH 3

(Mario Mandzukic 59, Thomas Mueller 68, Arjen Robben 76)

MAN UNITED 1

(Patrice Evra 57)

UK - Bayern qualify 4-2 on aggregate.

It wasn't a humiliation. That's all David Moyes can cling to as he faces up to the grim reality that Manchester United's season has ended before Easter.

With Bayern Munich so rampant in Germany and Moyes' men so limp in the Premier League, most people thought this tie would be effectively over before full time in the first leg.

The fact that they were still competitive with 15 minutes to go is a victory of sorts.

It could have been an incredible night. It must have felt that way 12 minutes into the second half when Patrice Evra thundered a shot in off the crossbar.

But for poor Moyes, the darkest hour always seems to come after the dawn.

In the same way that apparently resurgent league runs are always followed by calamitous home defeats, United's apparently pivotal goals always seem to be teasers for a heart-breaking response.

Remember their last-minute "winner" against Fulham and the way it was followed by an injury-time equaliser?

This was in a similar vein. Poor Moyes. Poor, poor Moyes.

Within 70 seconds of Evra's goal, Bayern were level again through Mario Mandzukic.

Nine minutes later, they were losing thanks to the extraordinary movement of Thomas Mueller.

And then, with 14 minutes left, Arjen Robben cut in from the right and smashed a third goal home with his left, a thoroughly predictable method for a thoroughly predictable conclusion.

But for all the pluck, discipline and rotten ill fortune, there were very real reasons for concern.

It was a justified gamble to field Wayne Rooney, even with his injury.

But to leave him on until the final whistle was an extraordinary decision, or perhaps "indecision".

Rooney was clearly out of sorts.

In the first half, he was presented with the ball in the penalty area but proceeded to dawdle and wander with such waywardness that he looked like an indecisive picnicker looking for somewhere to lay his blanket.

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