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Manchester United FC 3 - 0 SK Sturm Graz
Tue 13 March 20:45
Old Trafford, Manchester
Manchester United FC cruised to a place in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals as Group A runners-up with a 3-0 victory over SK Sturm Graz at Old Trafford. This crucial clash was settled by goals from Nicky Butt, Teddy Sheringham and Roy Keane, as United controlled the match from the outset.
Graz hardly troubled Fabien Barthez in the hosts' goal and the Austrian champions are now eliminated from the competition, leaving United and Valencia CF as the two qualifiers from this tight group.


Luke Chadwick congratulates Nicky Butt on his goal (©Reuters) 
Point-blank save

Needing to avoid defeat by more than two goals, United began the match at a blistering pace, with Butt and 20-year-old Luke Chadwick impressing during the opening exchanges. The visitors also looked keen, but before they could really settle in the game, United were in front. In only the second minute Graz 'keeper Kazimierz Sidorczuk made a wonderful point-blank save from Ole Gunnar Solksjśr's header, before the Norwegian forward combined with Chadwick to set up Butt for the opening goal three minutes later.

Powerful drive
Gunther Neukirchner could only half-clear, after the duo had worked their way into the penalty area and the ball eventually found its way out to Butt. His powerful 20-metre drive gave Sidorczuk no chance and set the tone for the remainder of an open and entertaining first half.

Brilliant Sidorczuk
Paul Scholes looked lively on the left of midfield for the hosts and was unlucky to see his shot deflected into the hands of the grateful Sidorczuk, before Sheringham headed wide from a driven Denis Irwin cross. United would have reached the break with a comfortable three or four-goal lead had it not been for the the brilliance of Sidorczuk. The Polish international made fantastic saves from Jaap Stam, Scholes and twice from Ole Gunnar Solksjśr as he proved his class between the sticks but was unable to do anything about United's second goal.

Stylish finish
Hungarian defender Gyorgy Korsůs gave the ball away in the right-back berth, before Solksjśr cut inside his marker to feed Sheringham, who finished with a stylish side-foot from 12 metres. The goal sparked further United chances and their dominanace of the opening half showed why many are tipping them as strong contenders to lift the UEFA Champions League trophy.

Double substitution
Graz re-organised at half time, bringing on Peter Hlinka and Imre Szabics for Roman Mšhlich and Mehrdad Minavand, but this did little to help their cause. Mario Haas tried his luck from a tight angle, before Korsůs and Hlinka had efforts on target, but United stood firm and regained their authority in the closing stages.

Three points secured
Solksjśr was denied by the sprawling Sidorczuk as he raced onto Gary Neville's long ball, but Roy Keane made no mistake with four minutes to go. He secured the three points, rounding off a superb three-man move with a simple finish. Chadwick burst down the left wing before Solksjśr played a delightful back-heal into his path, and the United captain finished with aplomb from eight metres.

Tough draw
Having drawn their last two Champions League matches, United head coach Sir Alex Ferguson will be delighted that his side have finally qualified, but the runners-up spot could mean a much tougher draw when the quarter-final draw is made. Graz must return to Austria, but can be proud of their acheivements during the competition.


Matches
First Half  2 - 0
5'  8 Butt  MU
20'  10 Sheringham  MU
Extra 0"
Second Half  3 - 0
46'  20 Minavand (out)
19 Szabics (in)
SG
46'  6 Mšhlich (out)
2 Hlinka (in)
SG
65'  8 Schupp (out)
14 Martens (in)
SG
74'  18 Scholes (out)
34 Greening (in)
MU
86'  16 Keane  MU
Extra 1'01"
Full Time Statistics
11 Shots on goal 5
2 Wide shots 1
14 Fouls committed 13
11 Corners 2
3 Off sides 3
33'6" Ball Possession (time) 26'29"
55% Ball Possession (%) 45%
•  
Detailed Match Player Statistics >>
United show strength in depth
Manchester United FC head coach Sir Alex Ferguson opted to leave star players David Beckham, Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole on the substitutes bench, but still saw his side ease past SK Sturm Graz in this one-sided clash at Old Trafford.
Manchester Post-match reaction
United book place in last eight
Manchester United FC cruised to a place in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals as Group A runners-up with a 3-0 victory over SK Sturm Graz at Old Trafford
United look to make it third time lucky
It is perhaps appropriate that Manchester United FC, a team reknowned for their late, match-changing, goals in the UEFA Champions League, that they go into the last day of the Second Group Stage still uncertain if their interest in the competition will extend to the quarter-finals for a record fifth-time.
Lineups
Man United
1 Barthez 
2 G Neville 
3 Irwin 
6 Stam 
8 Butt 
10 Sheringham 
16 Keane (C)
18 Scholes 
20 Solskjśr 
27 Silvestre 
36 Chadwick 
Substitutes
33 Rachubka 
7 Beckham 
9 Cole 
12 P Neville 
19 Yorke 
24 Brown 
34 Greening 
Coach
FERGUSON Sir Alex
Sturm Graz
1 Sidorczuk 
3 Neukirchner 
6 Mšhlich 
8 Schupp 
10 Vastic (C)
11 Korsos 
18 Schopp 
20 Minavand 
23 Ibertsberger 
30 Fleurquin 
31 Haas 
Substitutes
22 Schicklgruber 
2 Hlinka 
5 Foda 
7 Strafner 
14 Martens 
19 Szabics 
27 Koutsoupias 
Coach
OSIM Ivica
Officials
Referee
IVANOV Valentin (RUS)
Assistant Referee
ANTONOV Lev (RUS)
MONAKHOV Alexey (RUS)
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