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www.red11.org DAILY NEWS
Date: Wed 24 Nov 1999 00:53 GMT
Mail: barry@www.red11.org

This Issue:
1. Fiorentina TV report by Terry
2. Full report Sporting Life
5. MICKAEL SILVESTRE - speak to Eric Cantona? "No, he doesn't talk very much to anyone!"
6. Royle could offer Kidd lifeline at City



Barry Comment:
This time we were beaten by our own "giveaways"
56% of posession and we still lost 0-2.
Italy seems to continue as our black spot in Europe!


If I Die In The Stretford End - scoreboardpaddock@manutd.com
 Alex Hulme/Manchester/England 
Made by a Manc for Mancs "If I Die In The Stretford End" is for Match Going REDS. 

Taken from The Worldwide Manchester United Fans Webring - 400+ RED sites!

The BBC will broadcast live coverage of Manchester United's World Team
Championship challenge in Brazil.

Manchester United FC Champions League Squad List
 1 Mark John Bosnich      2 Gary Alexander Neville 3 Dennis Joseph Irwin
 4 David May              6 Jakob Stam             7 David Robert J Beckham
 8 Nicholas Butt          9 Andrew Alex. Cole      10 Edward Sheringham
11 Ryan Joseph Giggs     12 Philip Neville         14 Johan Jordi Cruyff
15 Lars Jesper Blomqvist 16 Roy Keane           17 Raimond RJH Van der Gouw
18 Paul Scholes          19 Dwight Yorke           20 Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
21 Henning Berg          23 Michael Jamie Clegg    25 José Quinton Fortune
26 Massimo Taibi         31 Nicholas James Culkin  33 Mark Antony Wilson
34 Jonathan Greening

FINAL Group D          P W D L  F A  PTS
Manchester United FC   6 4 1 1  9  4  13 
Olympique de Marseille 6 3 1 2 10  8  10 
SK Sturm Graz          6 2 0 4  5 12   6 
NK Croatia Zagreb      6 1 2 3  7  7   5 

Second stage Euro Draw  GROUP B
Manchester United Valencia Bordeaux Fiorentina
Tues Nov 23 
Group B: Fiorentina v Manchester United 
Group B: Valencia v Girondins Bordeaux 
Wed Dec 8 
Group B: Girondins Bordeaux v Fiorentina 
Group B: Manchester United v Valencia 
Wed Mar 1 
Group B: Manchester United v Girondins Bordeaux 
Group B: Fiorentina v Valencia 
Tues Mar 7  
Group B: Girondins Bordeaux v Manchester United 
Group B: Valencia v Fiorentina 
Wed Mar 15 
Group B: Manchester United v Fiorentina 
Group B: Girondins Bordeaux v Valencia 
Tuesday, March 21 
Group B: Fiorentina v Girondins Bordeaux 
Group B: Valencia v Manchester United 

Real Audio - Last weeks Daily News Sound Archive:
Click on INDEX at http://www.red11.org/sound


99/2000 fixtures/match reports are at

Mark Bosnich's Personal Details 



Previous News:
 BSKYB Takeover news/pics at http://www.red11.org/mufc/bskyb.htm
  Brian Kidd Press conference, pic, real audio
 Peter Schmeichel's last Season at United!

             Arsenal   5-1   Middlesbrough         38,082
        Derby County   1-2   Manchester United     33,370
             Everton   1-1   Chelsea               38,225
        Leeds United   2-1   Bradford City         39,937
      Leicester City   2-1   Wimbledon             18,255
         Southampton   0-1   Tottenham Hotspur     15,248
          Sunderland   0-2   Liverpool             42,015
             Watford   1-1   Newcastle United      19,539

     West Ham United   4-3   Sheffield Wednesday   23,015
       Coventry City   2-1   Aston Villa           20,184


Pos Team                  P   W   D   L   F   A   GD  Pts
 1  Manchester United    15  10   3   2  35  20   15   33
 2  Leeds United         15  10   2   3  28  19    9   32
 3  Arsenal              15   9   2   4  26  15   11   29
 4  Sunderland           15   8   4   3  24  14   10   28
 5  Liverpool            15   8   3   4  20  12    8   27
 6  Tottenham Hotspur    14   8   2   4  24  18    6   26
 7  Leicester City       15   8   2   5  25  20    5   26
 8  Middlesbrough        15   7   1   7  20  23   -3   22
 9  Chelsea              13   6   3   4  19  11    8   21
10  West Ham United      14   6   3   5  16  14    2   21
11  Coventry City        15   5   5   5  23  17    6   20
12  Everton              15   5   5   5  24  22    2   20
13  Aston Villa          15   5   3   7  14  18   -4   18
14  Southampton          14   4   4   6  20  24   -4   16
15  Wimbledon            15   3   7   5  22  29   -7   16
16  Newcastle United     15   3   4   8  25  29   -4   13
17  Bradford City        14   3   3   8  12  23  -11   12
18  Derby County         15   3   3   9  14  26  -12   12
19  Watford              15   3   2  10  11  25  -14   11
20  Sheffield Wednesday  15   1   3  11  13  36  -23    6

*** FIXTURES ON 27/11/99 ***
       Coventry City  v  Leicester City
             Everton  v  Aston Villa
       Middlesbrough  v  Wimbledon
             Watford  v  Sunderland
     West Ham United  v  Liverpool

*** FIXTURES ON 28/11/99 ***
             Arsenal  v  Derby County
             Chelsea  v  Bradford City
        Leeds United  v  Southampton
    Newcastle United  v  Tottenham Hotspur


HIGHEST HOME ATTENDANCE: 25/09/99 - Southampton (55,249)
LOWEST HOME ATTENDANCE:  11/08/99 - Sheffield Wednesday (54,941)
BEST WIN:     11/08/99 - Sheffield Wednesday (4-0)
              30/08/99 - Newcastle United (5-1)
HEAVIEST DEFEAT:         03/10/99 - Chelsea (0-5)
BEST HOME WIN:           11/08/99 - Sheffield Wednesday (4-0)
                         30/08/99 - Newcastle United (5-1)
BEST AWAY WIN:           22/08/99 - Arsenal (2-1)
                         25/08/99 - Coventry City (2-1)
                         11/09/99 - Liverpool (3-2)
                         20/11/99 - Derby County (2-1)
HEAVIEST AWAY DEFEAT:    03/10/99 - Chelsea (0-5)

30-NOV-1999 [10:00] Manchester Utd. vs Palmeiras  (Inter Continental Cup, AWAY)
04-DEC-1999 [15:00] Manchester Utd. vs Everton  (FA Premier League, HOME)
08-DEC-1999 [19:45] Manchester Utd. vs Valencia  (UEFA Champions League, HOME)

Current Injuries
 Jesper Blomqvist        ankle           Dec 4 
 Ronny Johnsen           knee            January
 Wes Brown               knee            August


UNITED Stats v All teams:
ALL FIXTURES at: http://www.red11.org/mufc/fix992000.htm
First Team Fixtures 1999/2000
All dates/times subject to change
Dates of possible cup ties also shown

Date        Opposition                        Score   Pos.   Attend.
15/07/99    Melbourne Australia   pre-season  W  2-0     -    60,000
18/07/99    Sydney    Australia   pre-season  W  1-0     -    78,000
21/07/99    Shanghai  Shenhua     pre-season  W  2-0     -    80,000
24/07/99    Hong Kong South China pre-season  W  2-0     -    40,000

 1/08/99    Arsenal   Wembley Charity Shield  L  1-2     -    70,185
 3/08/99    Omagh Town Omagh Bomb Fund        W  9-0     -     7,000
 4/08/99    Wigan Athletic friendly           W  2-0     -    15,000 
08/08/99    Everton                  Away PL  D  1-1    10    39,141
11/08/99    Sheffield Wednesday      Home PL  W  4-0     3    54,941
14/08/99    Leeds United             Home PL  W  2-0     1    55,187
22/08/99    Arsenal                  Away PL  W  2-1     1    38,147
25/08/99    Coventry City            Away PL  W  2-1     1    22,024 
27/08/99    Monaco - Lazio               ESC  L  0-1     -    15,223
30/08/99    Newcastle United         Home     W  5-1     1    55,190
11/09/99    Liverpool                Away     W  3-2     1    44,929
14/09/99    Croatia Zagreb           Home EC  D  0-0     -    53,250
18/09/99    Wimbledon                Home     D  1-1     1    55,189
22/09/99    Sturm Graz               Away EC  W  3-0     -    16,480
25/09/99    Southampton              Home     D  3-3     1    55,249
29/09/99    Marseille                Home EC  W  2-1     -    54,276
 3/10/99    Chelsea                  Away PL  L  0-5     2    34,909
11/10/99    Sir Alex Testimonial     Home F   L  2-4  LEGENDS 54,842      
13/10/99    Aston Villa              Away WC3 L  0-3     -    33,815
16/10/99    Watford                  Home PL  W  4-1     2    55,188
19/10/99    Marseille                Away EC  L  0-1     -    57,745 
23/10/99    Tottenham Hotspur        Away     L  1-3     3    36,072
27/10/99    Croatia Zagreb           Away EC  W  2-1     -    30,000
30/10/99    Aston Villa              Home PL  W  3-0     2    55,211
 2/11/99    Sturm Graz               Home EC  W  2-1     -    53,745 
 6/11/99    Leicester City           Home PL  W  2-0     1    55,191
20/11/99    Derby County             Away     W  2-1     1    33,370
23/11/99    AC Fiorentina            Away EC  L  0-2     -    ?  

pp 27/11/99 ? Sheffield Wednesday  Away PL *No new date yet

30/11/99    Tokyo  Palmeiras         WCC       20.00
 4/12/99    Everton                  Home PL   15.00
 8/12/99    Valencia CF              Home EC   19.45
18/12/99    West Ham United          Away PL   15.00
26/12/99    Bradford City            Home PL   15.00
28/12/99    Sunderland               Away PL   20.00  "live on sky"
 3/01/2000  Middlesborough           Home PL   20.00
 JAN 05-14  Brazil WTC [3-4 games]
06/01/2000  Necaxa (Mexico)          Neut WTC  16.00
08/01/2000  Vasco da Gama (Brazil)   Away WTC  16.00
11/01/2000  South Melbourne (Australia) N WTC  16.00
22/01/2000  Arsenal                  Home PL   15.00
 5/02/2000  Coventry City            Home PL   15.00
12/02/2000  Newcastle United         Away PL   15.00
26/02/2000  Wimbledon                Away PL   15.00
 1/03/2000  FC Girondins de Bordeaux Home EC   19.45 
 4/03/2000  Liverpool                Home PL   15.00
 7/03/2000  FC Girondins de Bordeaux Away EC   19.45 
11/03/2000  Derby County             Home PL   15.00
15/03/2000  AC Fiorentina            Home EC   19.45
18/03/2000  Leicester City           Away PL   15.00
21/03/2000  Valencia CF              Away EC   19.45 
25/03/2000  Bradford City            Away PL   15.00
 1/04/2000  West Ham United          Home PL   15.00
 5/04/2000  ?   EC qf i
 8/04/2000  Middlesborough           Away PL   15.00
15/04/2000  Sunderland               Home PL   15.00
19/04/2000  ?   EC qf ii
22/04/2000  Southampton              Away PL   15.00
24/04/2000  Chelsea                  Home PL   15.00
29/04/2000  West Ham United          Away PL   15.00
 3/05/2000  ?   EC sf i
 6/05/2000  Tottenham Hotspur        Home PL   15.00
10/05/2000  ?   EC sf ii
14/05/2000  Aston Villa              Away PL   15.00
24/05/2000  ?   EC Final


Click On pic - for latest interviews from OT
Fiorentina TV report by Terry Before the game, Fergie, referring to the Marseilles match and, at the same time, stating the obvious, said that at this level a single error can cost the game. Well, we had two beauties tonight. Keane (of all people!) committed the first when, after a superb tackle, he simply rolled the ball gently into the path of a marauding Batistuta (of all people!) and that was that as the goal poacher curved the ball round Bosnich. That was on 24 minutes and came after United had been playing a controlled passing game that looked pretty even if it didn't produce much of a threat. The second error, more predictably, came from Berg. After his gift to Marseilles at OT in the last round, one wonders how much longer Fergie will persist with him this time round. From the touchline, he appeared to be attempting a high looping backpass to Bosnich (of all people!) when the superb Batistuta blocked the pass, ran, and fed Balbo to hammer it past Bosnich. At this point, I was reminded of what Batistuta had said before the game about luck. We had more than our fair share of it last year and, sadly, it seems to be running out. In fairness to Keano, he still played an excellent game after his error and Berg wasn't that bad, either, but the damage had been done. If anyone was a disappointment on the night, it has to be Giggsy. Bloody hell, it was the 45th minute before he actually got past his man down the left and his crosses into the middle were poor. No wonder Cole and Yorke hardly got a look-in despite United dominating possession 56% to 44%. But it ain't of course having the ball that matters; it's what you do with it. What made Giggsy's performance even more disappointing was the fact that he was given oceans of space. I've never seen him so alone with his marker Toricelli (who looked like he'd just come from playing Jesus of Nazereth) allowing him space to get and control the ball before expertly shutting him down. In fact, now that I think of it, Becks too had lots more space than is usual to cross the ball. Were Fiorentina defensively naive or just supremely confident that they could nullify anything Giggs and Becks had to offer. (In Giggsy's case, they were dead right.) So Fiorentina were content to let us come at them for long periods of the game, but, as soon as they got the ball, they were much quicker going forward than we were. They did little, but the better chances were all theirs. Becks had a fine first half and must have impressed the drooling Italians with their fat wallets. In the second half, he seemed to be more involved but was strangely less effective. He was booked of course, and appeared to lose his rag again towards the end. But I think he just does that to give the gutter press a headline for tomorrow's news ('Petulant Beckham involved in mass murder' sort of thing.) Actually, I suppose you have to admire the way he got stuck in. He knows he's up for the World Player of the Year award but he wasn't going to suck up to anyone by playing the mild-mannered Clark Kent. So I suppose we should now extend our congratulations to Rivaldo, a goody-goody who certainly wouldn't tarnish his glossy image if it meant losing a shiny piece of silver. Another one whose market value may have declined tonight (happily for us) is Keano after his first-half blunder. He played a solid game but it'll be that image of his crappy back pass that will have the wise old heads in the boardrooms of Inter, Juve and Lazio muttering darkly about 'lack of concentration'. So, you ain't going anywhere, Keano. Well done, lad. A word about Bosnich. He couldn't be faulted for either of the goals and in fact pulled off two or three excellent saves to keep us in the game. I think Fergie will be pleased by his performance. But he'll be raving mad about the defensive shortcomings on display today. Fiorentina are a very very average side (like Marseilles) but with a worldclass finisher who can win a game single-handedly. And tonight, either through incompetence or sheer arrogance, we twice allowed Batistuta an inch of space in which to work his magic. Yes, I wish we had him. Our Martin must be feeling particularly proud tonight that he was the one that said 'No' to Fergie when the Scotsman was shopping around for quality players in 1997.(Yes, I knew if I tried hard enough, I'd be able to blame Our Martin for tonight's defeat ;-)) Anyway, as for the game, we lost because of two moments of madness and because luck just wasn't with us. An example of the latter came on 41 minutes; after a Becks' free kick was saved by the goalie, the ball came off a Fiorentiona defender and hit the bar ... the kind of half chance that might have gone in last year. We had a few other shots on goal, sprinkled throughout the game, but generally we did not come all that close to scoring. Fergie was even prompted to put Teddy and Ole on for Cole and Yorkie, but that didn't signal much of a change in our fortunes. We did press forward more but only because Fiorentina had come out for the second half with the intention of sitting on that 1-0 lead and hoping for a breakaway second goal. It worked. Trapattoni out-fergied Fergie with his tactics. Stam had another fine game. Neville senior also played his part on the right and, after Junior came on for Berg, in the centre alongside Stam. Denis, too, had his usual reliable game and Scholsie was a powerhouse in midfield in both halves. Yes, we passed it around nicely in midfield and looked fairly confident but there's not much point in that if you're also toothless up front and prone to error at the back. So this will certainly put pressure on us for the Valencia game at Old Trafford, the last before the long break. Valencia beat Bordeaux 3-0 tonight and will be looking for a draw at OT. If they get it and Fiorentina also beat Bordeaux, it'll be a grim couple of months till March as we contemplate being 3 points and 5 points behind the top two, respectively, after just two games. Only a win will do, boys. ____________ Terry Saudi
Click On pic - for all latest pics from OT
Full report Sporting Life Fiorentina v Manchester United By David Anderson, PA Sport, Florence Roy Keane will not have impressed his watching Italian suitors after his clanger gifted Fiorentina the lead. Gabriel Batistuta, who scored the goal which knocked Arsenal out of the Champions League, latched on to the Manchester United skipper's careless backpass to fire home in the 24th minute in the Stadio Comunale Artemio Franchi. It was a rare mistake from Keane, who is tipped to move to Serie A in the summer when his contract expires. Mark Bosnich recovered from his swollen knee to allow boss Sir Alex Ferguson the rare luxury of naming a virtual full-strength side for this opening Champions League Group B match. One of United's recently-returned stars, Gary Neville, was soon into the action and he beat Batistuta to Rui Costa's curling cross as the Argentinian hitman homed in on goal. Rui Costa then robbed David Beckham in an anxious moment for United, but Henning Berg shepherded the Portuguese star out towards the corner flag and the danger passed. Beckham made amends when he hunted down Jorg Heinrich and won the ball off the Fiorentina left wing-back to launch a swift United counter-attack. Beckham found Dwight Yorke running into the area and he pulled the ball back for Paul Scholes to shoot narrowly wide of Francesco Toldo's left-hand post. Rui Costa, just like Marseille's Robert Pires in the Stade Velodrome last month, was causing United problems with his runs from midfield. From one such foray in the 18th minute he almost opened the scoring when he unleashed a powerful shot from 18 yards out, following Moreno Torricelli's pass, only for Bosnich to make a great save diving to his left. Fiorentina should have scored when they caught United off-guard on a counter-attack. Rui Costa played a delightful slide-rule pass to Abel Balbo inside the United box, where Denis Irwin should have been, but instead of shooting he gave the ball away trying to square it to Batistuta. United did not heed that warning and they gifted Fiorentina the lead. Keane won the ball off Balbo and then hit a sloppy backpass which Batistuta ran on to and lashed home from 15 yards past a helpless Bosnich. Fiorentina almost doubled their lead two minutes later when Batistuta played Balbo through on the right, but this time Bosnich managed to save to his right. Batistuta was flying and he tried his luck with an overhead kick, which flew way over to the relief of Bosnich. Fiorentina looked more likely to score than United and Heinrich blazed over on the left after the visitors had failed to clear a corner properly. Beckham came close to equalising for United with a 30-yard free-kick, which was saved by Toldo before bouncing off Alessandro Pierini and Aldo Firicano and hitting the bar. Half-time: Fiorentina were just inches away from adding a second goal 55 seconds after the interval. Torricelli found Heinrich steaming into the United box with a great crossfield pass from the right and the German fired just past the far post from the acute angle. That man Batistuta proved United's undoing again on 51 minutes when he created Fiorentina's second goal. He blocked Berg's clearance, raced on to the loose ball and then pulled it back from the byline for Balbo to score from 10 yards out. Batistuta was rampant and he cut through the United defence only for Bosnich to beat him to the ball. Batigol, as the Argentine is nicknamed by his adoring Fiorentina fans, was displaying the kind of form that prompted Ferguson to try twice in the last three years to sign him. Oh how Ferguson must have wished that he had been able to prise away this footballing artist from the Renaissance city of Florence. With time ebbing away, Ferguson went for broke in the 62nd minute and threw on Phil Neville, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Teddy Sheringham. Off came Cole and Yorke on a night when they were put firmly in the shade by Batistuta. FT Fiorentina 2 Manchester United 0 Intro: Gabriel Batistuta showed just why Sir Alex Ferguson tried twice in the past three years to buy him when he orchestrated Manchester United's blackest night in Europe for five years. The rampant Fiorentina striker scored the first on 24 minutes of this Champions League Group B clash in the Stadio Comunale Artemio Franchi before he set up Abel Balbo for the second in the 51st minute. © PA Sporting Life
Click On pic - for latest interviews from OT
UNITED GUNNED DOWN BY BATISTUTA Final score: Fiorentina 2 Manchester United 0 90mins: The final whistle goes to end a disastrous start to the second phase for the European champions. 90mins: Fiorentina goalkeeper Toldo is booked for timewasting. 90mins: Giggs wins a free-kick for a foul by Torricelli. 90mins: United win a free-kick on halfway for a foul by Batistuta on Solskjaer. 90mins: The fourth official signals there will be three minutes of added time to be played. 88mins: Solskjaer has a shot blocked by Aldo Firicano inside the Fiorentina box. 87mins: United win possession on the left but again the delivery from Giggs is woeful. As Fiorentina break Bosnich has to be out quickly to clear from Bressan. 86mins: Just the glimmer of a chance for Solskjaer, but Torricelli is in with an excellent saving tackle. 85mins: Rui Costa plays the ball out to sub Rossitto wide on the right, and the Portuguese star picks the ball up in the area when the cross comes in. He shoots over though from a good position. 83mins: Rui Costa tries to find Bressan on the left wing with an ambitious 40-yard diagonal pass but the ball goes out for a goal-kick. 82mins: Cois becomes the latest player to be booked, for a late challenge on Beckham. 79mins: Manchester win a free-kick on the right for a foul by Heinrich on Phil Neville. Then Beckham is yellow-carded for trying to take the set-piece quickly. 78mins: Fiorentina make a double change, bringing on Daniele Adani in place of Pierini and Mauro Bressan in place of Balbo. 77mins: Beckham's right-wing free-kick is again only just dealt with by Toldo. He flaps at the ball and United win a corner. But again it comes to nothing. 76mins: Batistuta is booked for a foul on Beckham. 74mins: United waste two great chances to get back into the game. Scholes heads down a cross from Giggs but Sheringham miscues his volley from eight yards out. The ball though still falls to Scholes but he too fluffs his shot from a great position. 73mins: Giggs complains that he's been held by Repka as Solskjaer tries to put him away down the left, but his appeals fall on deaf ears. 71mins: A great chance for Fiorentina as Rui Costa gets the ball 20 yards out. He pokes the ball through to Batistuta but Keane clears and the Argentine is offside anyway. 70mins: Keane plays a nice one-two with Scholes before bursting into the box. But the ball just runs out of play for a goal-kick. 69mins: Scholes is penalised for a foul on Heinrich. 68mins: Giggs breaks out of defence down the left, and finds Solskjaer. He plays the ball to Sheringham who in turn finds Scholes. But Fiorentina clear again. 68mins: Batistuta tries to feed Rui Costa but Stam intercepts. 67mins: Sheringham wins a free-kick on the left edge of the Fiorentina box and Beckham whips it in. Again Toldo looks unsure as he flaps at the ball, but Fiorentina clear. 66mins: Fiorentina make their first substitution, bringing on Fabio Rossitto to replace Di Livio. 66mins: Giggs gives the ball away on the edge of the Fiorentina box but Batistuta is caught offside as Fiorentina break. 64mins: Beckham crosses to the far post but it's too deep and Torricelli clears. 63mins: A promising link-up between Sheringham and Solskjaer almost gives the visitors an opening. 62mins: Sir Alex Ferguson uses his chances to change the game all at once. Phil Neville comes on to replace Berg, while Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer replace the ineffective Yorke and Cole. 60mins: Keane is booked for complaining about the amount of time Di Livio is down after the tackle by Scholes. 59mins: Paul Scholes is booked for a very late challenge on Di Livio. 58mins: Cole is penalised for holding Pierini on the United right. 57mins: Rui Costa breaks through the United defence with some lovely footwork, but Bosnich is quickly out to dive at his feet. 56mins: Cole shows neat skill to get into the Fiorentina box but his shot is blocked and Toldo clears. Fiorentina break and Batistuta gets in behind Berg from a Torricelli cross. But this time the Argentine fails to capitalise. 53mins: Beckham delivers a superb cross from the right but Cole can't profit at the far post. 52mins: GOAL BALBO - United again shoot themselves in the foot. Berg's backpass is blocked by Batistuta who runs into the box and squares the ball for Balbo. He slams the ball past Bosnich into the net to give United a mountain to climb. 50mins: Giggs plays the ball to Irwin on the left and his cross lands on the roof of the Fiorentina net. 50mins: Stam is penalised for a clumsy challenge on Batistuta just inside the Fiorentina half. 49mins: Giggs has a chance to attack the left side of the Fiorentina defence but his low cross is poor and easily cleared. 46mins: Torricelli finds Heinrich on the left edge of the United box in space, and his cross-shot is only just wide of Bosnich's post. 46mins: United get the second half under way needing to find a way back into the game. 45mins: The whistle goes to end a disappointing first half for the visitors. 45mins: Giggs blazes a shot over from 25 yards out as the half comes to a close. 45mins: Torricelli tries his luck from distance but the ball is well wide of the Manchester goal. 44mins: Giggs beats two men on the left and produces an excellent cross. But again it fails to find a United man and the Italians clear. Then Irwin gets back to dispossess Balbo as Fiorentina break. 43mins: Fiorentina win a free-kick on the right edge of the United area for a foul by Jaap Stam on Balbo. The set-piece is played by Di Livio but his shot is blocked by Scholes. 42mins: Beckham finds Scholes in the box with an angled cross but a nice cushioned header from Scholes just fails to find Cole. 41mins: A real escape for Fiorentina. United win a free-kick 25 yards out and Beckham's kick is fumbled by Toldo. The ball hits Alessandro Pierini and deflects onto Repka before bouncing onto the crossbar and over. 39mins: Rui Costa finds Heinrich with a superb crossfield pass but the German can't quite control it and the ball goes out for a goal-kick. 38mins: Fiorentina win a corner after another fast break with Rui Costa again at the heart of things. The ball comes out to Heinrich on the volley but he blasts over. 38mins: Manchester win a free-kick on the right as Heinrich fouls Beckham. But Cole can't make anything of the set-piece, although he feels he's been fouled by Di Livio. 37mins: Giggs shows nice skill to outwit Torricelli on the left but the referee blows to give United a free-kick instead of playing the advantage. 36mins: Beckham tries to find Cole on the United left but Tomas Repka heads the ball comfortably back to Toldo. 35mins: Yorke almost profits from a Beckham cross, but Torricelli clears under pressure. 34mins: Berg almost sells Bosnich short with a poor backpass but the keeper does just get his clearance away under pressure from Batistuta. 33mins: Giggs finds Keane at the back post with a deep cross. But the Irishman's header goes out for a goal-kick. 32mins: Yorke is back on the pitch after treatment but isn't in the box as Beckham delivers a superb cross. As a result Fiorentina clear with ease. 29mins: Toldo punches clear from Yorke on the near post after Beckham delivers a fine cross from the right. The ball comes out to Scholes on the edge of the box but his shot is blocked. Yorke is down after the collision with Toldo. 29mins: Batistuta tries an acrobatic volley from a Rui Costa cross, but this time the striker is well off target. 28mins: Beckham plays a fine diagonal pass into the Fiorentina box but Andy Cole is caught offside. 26mins: Another chance for the Italians as Balbo goes clear on the right. But his shot is saved by the legs of Bosnich and United clear. 25mins: Scholes almost brings United level with a strike from just outside the area but Francesco Toldo in the Fiorentina goal makes a fine save. 24mins: GOAL BATISTUTA - A disaster for United as Keane plays a backpass directly into the path of Batistuta of all people. He runs onto the ball and confidently hammers it past Bosnich into the corner of the net. 22mins: Rui Costa finds Balbo alone in the United box with a magnificent slide rule pass. But instead of shooting Balbo tries to play the ball inside to Batistuta and United clear. 21mins: Balbo shoots from fully 30 yards out and the swerving ball causes Bosnich an anxious moment before he makes a comfortable pass. 19mins: Giggs takes on Torricelli on the left but the Italian blocks his cross and then clears the danger well. 17mins: The closest to a goal so far as the ball comes to Rui Costa 20 yards from the United goal. His fierce shot is heading for the bottom corner of the Manchester goal until Mark Bosnich superbly dives to beat the ball away. 16mins: Keane is penalised for a robust aerial challenge on Cois on the edge of the Fiorentina box. 14mins: Rui Costa tries to thread the ball through to Batistuta on the edge of the United box but Berg stretches well to clear the danger. 12mins: Balbo and Sandro Cois link up on the Fiorentina right and Irwin is forced to give away a corner. From the set-piece the ball comes out to Di Livio but his shot from 25 yards is way over the bar. 10mins: Fiorentina try to get German Jorg Heinrich forward but the through ball intended for him is too strong. 7mins: Another great chance for the visitors as Yorke cuts the ball back to Scholes on the edge of the Fiorentina box. But his low shot is a couple of yards wide of goal. 6mins: A great chance for United comes to nothing. Paul Scholes finds Giggs on his own through the middle with a superb chipped pass. The Welshman is clean through but his first touch is awful and allows Fiorentina to get back and clear. 4mins: A scare for the English team as David Beckham is caught in possession by Rui Costa 10 yards inside his own half. The Portuguese international is forced wide by Henning Berg, and although Angelo Di Livio eventually gets a cross in it runs away from Batistuta and out of play. 3mins: Dwight Yorke is caught offside to end a promising United move. 3mins: The first sign of United as an attacking force. Ryan Giggs heads a right-wing cross back across goal but fails to find a team-mate. 2mins: Rui Costa gets to the line and his looping cross is cleared by Roy Keane under pressre from Gabriel Batistuta. Batistuta goes to ground but Fiorentina's penalty appeals are waved away. 1min: Fiorentina win an early corner as Moreno Torricelli's cross is deflected out of play by Denis Irwin. Rui Costa's set-piece just evades the run of Abel Balbo on the near post. 1min: Fiorentina get the second phase of the Champions' League under way amid fireworks at the Artemio Franchi Stadium in Florence.
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A NIGHTMARE MIRACLE UPSETS UNITED - sky report Fiorentina 2-0 Manchester Utd Harry Pratt reporting Alex Ferguson described it as a ‘miracle’ at the half-time interval. Well if he wasn’t talking about Gabriel Batistuta scoring his fourth UEFA Champions League strike of the season, which is highly unlikely after all, it could only have been the sight of the normally so reliable Roy Keane making an unnecessary, utterly pointless backpass of complete suicide proportions. A miracle for Fiorentina maybe – but a nightmare for defending champions Manchester United. Until then, the Reds had looked at ease in the Serie A cauldron of Florence, almost playing at half-mast. But the signs of being that little too bit relaxed had been ominous. You can give away possession in the Premiership and still get away with it most weekends. Not, however, on the continental stage with the likes of the Argentine hitman of serious repute, Senor Batistuta snapping at the heels of the defenders as if his life depended on winning the ball back. Just what was going through the Irish skipper Keane’s mind when he appeared to be on the verge of a counter attack midway in his own half? Who knows? Because instead of launching the usual flowing defence-to-attack motion, Keane put the brakes on without warning, and turned to send a pass vaguely in the direction of Mark Bosnich. It caught out the entire United team, and with the pace being nowhere near enough to reach the United goalkeeper, Batistuta, the only player facing in the right direction, was onto it in a flash. A split second later his first-time right-foot shot was flashing by helpless Bosnich, the 24th minute strike a beautifully taken effort from the Fiorentina skipper, who so nearly joined United in 1997 to fill the boots of Eric Cantona. For the remainder of the half, United picked off where they left off before Keane’s moment of madness. Paul Scholes had struck a right foot drive in the sixth minute inches wide, and while Fiorentina were able to enjoy plenty of foraging into the United half, courtesy of the sloppy opponents, United were the ones posing the greater threat. United came even closer to breaking their duck in the Second Stage of this year’s European campaign in the 36th minute. David Beckham whipped in a low 25-yard free kick that the keeper only managed to parry into the onrushing feet of two Fiorentina defenders. A second of pinball resulted in the ball flying upwards and off the crossbar to safety. To be honest, despite the apparent lack of urgency from the visitors, who were looking to extend a five-match winning streak in all competitions, it was hard to argue with the manager’s assessment at the break that with the rub of the green it would not be long before United were back on level terms, the miracle no more than an embarrassing reminder to the player who is fighting for a £90,000 a week deal to keep him at Old Trafford into the next season. That was not taking into account United’s tendency to turn harmless situations into very dangerous ones. As Whining Berg proved. The Norwegian defender decided to clip back to Bosnich from the left-hand side of his half, which the ever-lively Batistuta half-intercepted. If slightly fortunate to be in the clear, his clever cut back into the path of Balbo was perfect. The fellow Argentine struck a half-decent shot which Bosnich would usually have diverted no problem. Only problem was the Aussie, who made a brilliant first-half stop to deny Rui Costa, had already begun moving to the left and could not prevent the effort sneaking past his right hand – 2-0 and the game was up. Try as they did, amid an increasingly niggly and tetchy battle – Keane, Batistuta and Beckham all found their names taken for off-the-ball incidents - United could not get back into the contest. Not even the substitute combination of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Teddy Sheringham was going to spark a recovery akin to last May in the Nou Camp. One miracle too many to pray for this time around! Fiorentina: Toldo, Repka, Fircano, Pierlini, Heinrich, Cois, Di Livio, Torricelli, Rui Costa, Balbo, Batistuta. Subs: Taglialatela, Adani, Padalino, Rossitto, Bressan, Amoroso, Tarozzi. Man Utd: Bosnich, Irwin, Berg, Stam, G. Neville, Giggs, Keane, Scholes, Beckham, Cole, Yorke. Subs: Van Der Gouw, Butt, Sheringham, P. Neville, Solskjaer, Fortune, Higginbottom. Referee: Bernd Heynemann (Germany)
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MICKAEL SILVESTRE - speak to Eric Cantona "No, he doesn't talk very much to anyone!" Q&A: MICKAEL SILVESTRE Manchester United's French Import Answers Your Questions By Iain Moody Has it been hard to settle in English football - does your style suit the Premier League? asks Steven McConnachie. "It hasn't been too hard to settle down. It is a bit easier for me here than in Italy because United play 4-4-2, which I played at the beginning of my career in France. At Inter, we played 3-5-2 and I was often asked to be the fifth man in midfield, a role I didn't like. We also played a man-to-man system which takes some getting used to - here it is zonal, which I prefer." Did you speak to Eric Cantona before signing for United? asks Edwin Toh. "No, he doesn't talk very much to anyone! I did speak to him when he came here for Alex Ferguson's testimonial but it was only to say hello and not much more." Was it difficult to choose United over Liverpool, with all of the French connections at Anfield? asks Mark Phelps. "It wasn't a difficult decision because, although Liverpool were a big club in the past, they are no more. United are a huge club of the present. When I arrived, we had three competitions to play in and, although we are out of one (referring to United going out of the Worthington Cup - Ed) there will still be plenty of games so everyone will get a chance to play. I'm also looking forward to playing in the clubs' World Cup in Brazil - that was an attraction." You've had a tough start at United. Does this place extra pressure on you to meet the expectations of the management and fans? asks Tim Wickham. "I am satisfied with my start. When I arrived, I went straight into the team because of the injury problems and I've stayed in, so I must have played OK. I have played every league game since I arrived, although I have had to miss the European matches. I'm looking forward to getting involved in the Champions League, although I still have to sit out the next two games." Having come from a top Italian team to a top English team, have you noticed a marked difference in the preparation for games in terms of diet, training or tactics? asks Enda Somers. "I prefer the way things are done here. In Italy, we had to go away to a hotel for two or three days before every match and it meant that I was hardly ever at home. Here, we meet up at midday for a 3pm kick-off and then the manager goes through all of his plans. In Italy, we had to eat the same things all the time and it was really boring - it's true that you should watch what you eat before games but the Italians take it too far." Do you think that United can win the clubs' World Cup? asks Farhan. "I'm really looking forward to playing against new teams from different continents like the Australians, the Brazilians and the Mexicans. I think we can win it - we are certainly going there to win it, otherwise there would be no point in going all the way to Brazil!" Having played against a lot of the best strikers in the world, who gave you the hardest time? asks Farooq Hyder. "It's difficult to say. Nobody in particular sticks in my mind, although I wouldn't have liked to play against Ronaldo. Thankfully at Inter we had most of the best strikers - as well as Ronaldo we had Baggio, Zamorano and others. In general, I don't like playing against small, quick players. I prefer the bigger, physical front men." Has the lack of continuity in the United back five made it harder for you to settle? asks Kit Good. "No, I don't think you can blame that. Defending is the responsibility of the whole team so it is unfair to single out people or positions. Jaap Stam is the 'leader' of the defence and he does an excellent job of organising us." Sir Fergie has a reputation for being volatile - what is he like when things aren't going well? asks Clive Jones. "When we lose, like at Chelsea, he gets very angry. I don't always understand him when he is speaking normally so, when he yells, it is even more difficult for me! If he feels that an individual mistake has cost us a goal, he won't hesitate to let the sinner know how he feels and that's only right in my opinion. I have been on the receiving end in the past for giving the ball away but, by pointing out mistakes, it makes me less likely to do so again in the future." Which United player has impressed you most in training? asks Peter Speakman. "Dwight Yorke. He is a complete player, great to watch and always smiling." How do all of the foreign players communicate in training and during matches? asks Maureen Bright. "We all speak English. I knew a bit before coming here from what I remember from school and holidays in the United States. Massimo Taibi had problems because he had never spoken the language before he came but he has made good progress since he arrived. Some of the other players occasionally try to speak French to me, the occasional 'Ca Va?' for example, and Mark Bosnich is actually quite good with French but almost all of the communication is done in English." What does Roy Keane bring to the team and what do you miss most when he doesn’t play? asks Daniella Winfield. "He gives us his Irish spirit! On the pitch, he doesn’t shout much but it is impossible not to follow the example he sets as captain. He wins so many tackles and, when you see him doing that, it creates an obligation to follow him." How have you found the atmosphere at Old Trafford in comparison with the San Siro? asks Dave McMullen. "It is completely different. In Italy they sing more - different songs for the whole match but here there is less singing. The support is absolute here. If a player makes a bad pass, I have never heard our fans boo or whistle him. At Inter, if you made the smallest mistake they would whistle you for the rest of the match. At Old Trafford they applaud virtually everything we do! Away matches are different, though. I have noticed the hostility wherever we have played. There is a strong anti-Manchester United feeling and all of the fans seem to be very angry with us."
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Royle could offer Kidd lifeline at City By Alan Nixon 23 November 1999 Brian Kidd trained with Manchester City yesterday amid speculation that the former Blackburn Rovers manager is about to join Joe Royle's backroom team. Kidd was at City's Platt Lane complex at the invitation of two of his oldest friends, Royle and his assistant, Willie Donachie. Kidd watched over the training session with Royle, who said: "Brian was only in for a cup of tea and a look around." Kidd, who used to play for both Manchester clubs and was formerly assistant manager at Manchester United, has not yet finalised a pay-off with Blackburn but is understood to be keen to get back to work as soon as possible. Kidd has also been linked with a part-time post with Wales if Mark Hughes becomes manager of the national side. Manchester United - The Legend - http://manunited.net
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