United cruise past Hoops

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A Dimitar Berbatov double and a strike from Wayne Rooney gave Manchester United a comfortable 3-0 victory over Celtic in their Champions League encounter at Old Trafford.

United dominated from almost the first whistle although the former Tottenham striker looked offside when he flicked the ball past Hoops goalkeeper Artur Boruc from close range in the 30th minute.

Berbatov grabbed his fourth goal for United in the competition in the 51st minute when he pounced after Boruc had parried a Cristiano Ronaldo free-kick before Rooney wrapped up the three Group E points with a drive from the edge of the box.

The opening goal came from a corner that Nani floated to the near post. At the second attempt, John O'Shea forced it on, and Berbatov, with his back to goal, flicked it past Artur Boruc.

It was the least United's early dominance deserved and Anderson and Nani both had shooting opportunities either side of a Rooney thunderbolt that thudded into Boruc's chest as United tried to further their advantage.

Amazingly though, Celtic might have been level at the break when O'Shea turned Shunsuke Nakamura's free-kick towards his own goal. Thankfully for the Irishman, United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar was alive to the danger.

Boyhood Celtic fan Darren Fletcher then blazed over after he had manoeuvred himself into an excellent position so, amazingly, United were still only one up at the break.

The status quo lasted just six second-half minutes before Berbatov tapped home his second, the striker profiting from a blistering Ronaldo free-kick Boruc could not hold.

Yet again, it seemed Berbatov was offside, which just made it more ironic the referee's assistant, having missed it, should raise his flag against Rooney when the England man raced onto Ronaldo's through ball and beat Boruc as TV replays confirmed the run had been perfectly timed.

Rooney then stroked home a deserved goal 15 minutes from time to take his personal tally to nine in seven games and left Celtic facing a tough fight to claim a UEFA Cup berth as United continued their relentless march towards becoming the first side to retain this competition since the league format was launched in 1992.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2008, All Rights Reserved.

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Tottenham Hotspur
Dimitar Berbatov
John O'Shea
Edwin Van der Sar
Manchester United
Cristiano Ronaldo
Darren Fletcher
Wayne Rooney

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