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Tuesday 02 October 2012

Champions League: Robin van Persie brace seals United win over Cluj

Manchester United beat Cluj 2-1 in Champions League while Chelsea triumph over Nordsjaelland 4-0

Robin van Persie, who scored twice, has a shot for Manchester United against Cluj

Manchester United striker Robin van Persie continued his scoring streak as his two goals secured a 2-1 victory over CFR Cluj in the Champions League.

Despite Sir Alex Ferguson’s concerns about United suffering slow starts to matches, United were forced to come from behind again after Pantelis Kapetanos fired the Romanian champions into a 14th-minute lead.

Van Persie equalised 15 minutes later when he met Wayne Rooney's free kick and the ball looped off his shoulder and over goalkeeper Mario Felgueiras. But, there was nothing fortunate about his second goal four minutes after the break, the forward showing a deft touch to flick another Rooney pass past Felgueiras.

Having failed to get out of their group last season, United are well placed in Group H to advance this time with two wins from two.

Ferguson's defensive concerns after his side conceded three in losing to Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday appeared valid when Cluj took the lead. A crossfield pass found Modou Sougou on the right and he crossed for Kapetanos to score.

The departure of Cluj’s Sougou, who went off injured midway through the first half, appeared to hand United momentum. Van Persie levelled and then saw Felgueiras block another shot before Rooney glanced a header wide.

United's second goal appeared to kill off the tie David de Gea came to his side's rescue at the end when he beat away Rafael Bastos's header.

Van Persie has scored seven times for United since joining from Arsenal just before the start of the season and Ferguson took heart from the developing partnership between the Dutchman and Wayne Rooney after they started together for the first time.

"There are good combinations between all the players in attacking positions,” he said. "The strength of this squad is in attacking positions. If you look at the way they kept going to the end, they're good crossers of the ball.

"They kept us under pressure the whole time and kept us on edge. I'm really pleased that the possession was really good tonight and apart from their goal we defended really well.”

In the other tie in the group, Braga beat Galatasaray 2-0 in Istanbul, meaning that United lead on six points with Cluj and Braga on three and Galatasaray yet to earn a point.

Chelsea's Juan Mata opens the scoring against Nordsjaelland

FC Nordsjaelland 0-4 Chelsea

Two goals from Spain midfielder Juan Mata inspired Chelsea to an ultimately comfortable victory over Nordsjaelland in Copenhagen.

The defending champions went ahead in the 33rd minute when Fernando Torres robbed midfielder Enoch Adu and passed to Frank Lampard, who deftly set up Mata to fire home with his left foot.

Joshua John twice went close for the home team, hitting a post on one occasion, before David Luiz made it 2-0 with a curling free kick in the 79th minute. Mata sidefooted the third goal in the 82nd minute before Ramires completed the scoring from close range.

Nordsjaelland, who were beaten 2-0 at Shakhtar Donetsk in their opening match last month, made a jittery start but gradually their confidence grew and they gave the champions several worrying moments after Mata's opening strike.

Centre back Jores Okore almost set up a goal when his lofted ball found Mikkel Beckmann unmarked 10 metres out and his looping header sailed just over the bar.

Chelsea's anxieties were eased when Torres had his shirt pulled just outside the box and Brazil defender David Luiz shot in off the woodwork. Mata grabbed his second goal after nimbly picking his way through the defence before Brazil midfielder Ramires latched on to a pass from compatriot Oscar to convert the simplest of tap-ins.

In the other Group E tie, Shakhtar moved level with Chelsea on four points after holding Juventus to a 1-1 draw in Turin. The Italian champions have two points and Nordsjaelland none.

Group E results

FC Nordsjaelland 0-4 Chelsea
Juventus 1-1 Shakhtar Donetsk

Group H fixtures

CFR Cluj 1-2 Manchester United (
Galatasaray 0-2 Braga

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Key Points

  • Man Utd come from behind to beat CFR Cluj in Group H of Champions League
  • Robin van Persie's two goals mean United maintain their 100% record this season in the competition
  • Chelsea ease past Nordsjaelland 4-0 thanks to two goals from Juan Mata