/ Soccer

Manchester United 3-2 Braga

Updated: Tuesday, 23 Oct 2012 21:52

Javier Hernandez was back among the goals as United make it three wins from three in this season's Champions League
Javier Hernandez was back among the goals as United make it three wins from three in this season's Champions League

A brace from Javier Hernandez helped Manchester United to come from two goals down to beat Braga 3-2 in their Champions League Group H clash at Old Trafford.

Braga had stunned the home crowd in the first 20 minute after Brazilian Alan headed home inside 90 seconds and the Portuguese side crafted a second as Alan again slotted past David De Gea after fine work by Eder.

United's Mexico striker Hernandez quickly replied from Shinji Kagawa's cross, Jonny Evans equalised from close range in the 62nd and Hernandez headed the winner 15 minutes from time. 

United boss Alex Ferguson again went for Carrick as Jonny Evans' partner in defence, presumably on the basis Braga would not offer much of a physical threat.

Carrick lacks defensive nous though, and having shepherded Eder to the by-line, his failure to trap the Portugal international there was suicidal.

After turning sharply, Eder scampered towards the goal before cutting a cross back to provide Alan with an easy finish to put the visitors ahead.

This would have been bad enough. The fact Braga were already in front raised serious concerns about United's ability to pull through.

Barely a minute had elapsed when Alan pulled to the far post and climbed above Alex Buttner, replacing Patrice Evra for the first European game of his entire career, and steered it past David de Gea.

It was the eighth time they had fallen behind this season, and the fourth occasion in the last five games, a quite shocking statistic that cannot continue if United are going to be serious challengers for silverware this term.

Predictably, a team skippered by Wayne Rooney and including Robin van Persie and a host of other stellar attacking talents, the hosts were a force at the other end.

A wise advantage by Serbian referee Milorad Mazic allowed Shinji Kagawa to profit from a foul on Van Persie, crossing for Hernandez, who nodded home.

The pair would have combined to haul United level had an offside flag not been raised against Kagawa as he darted on to Van Persie's through ball before rolling another cross into Hernandez's path.

Ferguson noted that mistake, and a few others, in his half-time assessment of proceedings.

However, in hauling off Kagawa and introducing Nani at the break, the Scot was also signalling the diamond he feels could revolutionise United needs a bit more polishing before it is ready for public display.

The transformation was immediate as United sped down the flanks, pinning their opponents back.

As the crosses fizzed across Braga's goal, the visitors' defending became increasingly desperate.

When Evans took a fresh air swipe at Van Persie's corner, the attempted clearance cannoned back off Elderson, allowing the Northern Ireland defender a second chance, which he duly prodded in.

It was Evans' second goal in three games, not a bad return considering he had only scored once in his previous 131 appearances for the Red Devils.

From that moment it was only a matter of time before United got their winner.

Tom Cleverley provided it with a superb, deep cross from the right touchline.

Hernandez, whose movement was akin to that he showed during his debut season, peeled away and headed home.