United smash Schalke in record semifinal

Man Utd face Barcelona in their third Champions League final in four years after beating Germans 6-1 over two legs.

    Schalke end their European campaign with the worst semifinal scoreline in the Champions League [GALLO/GETTY]

    Manchester United will face Barcelona in the European Champions League final after completing an emphatic 6-1 aggregate semifinal victory over Schalke 04 at Old Trafford.

    United secured a thumping 4-1 victory on the night to storm into their third European Cup final in four seasons thanks to goals from Antonio Valencia after 26 minutes, Darron Gibson and two from Anderson to follow up last week's 2-0 win in Germany.

    Jose Manuel Jurado scored for Schalke after 35 minutes but they could not stop United posting the biggest aggregate victory in a Champions League semi.

    United manager Alex Ferguson made nine changes from the side that beat Schalke last week and his fringe players took an early grip on the game.

    Barcelona, who beat then-holders United 2-0 in the final in 2009, will be a much tougher proposition at Wembley Stadium on May 28.

    The unlikely hero on Wednesday was United's maligned Irish international Gibson, who set up Antonio Valencia for the first goal on 26 minutes before hammering in the second on 31 minutes with some help from a Manuel Neuer fumble.

    Semifinal results

    Tuesday May 3

     Barcelona 1-1 Real Madrid (agg 3-1)

    Wednesday May 4

     Man Utd 4-1 Schalke 04
    (agg 6-1)

    Barcelona to play Manchester United in final at Wembley Stadium in London on May 28

    Delighted United keeper Edwin van der Sar said United would relish the opportunity to have another crack at Barcelona.

    "We have to make sure we learned out lessons and that we're better prepared this time than we were last time," Van der Sar told ITV.

    Last match

    The Wembley final will be 40-year-old van der Sar's last in a United jersey before he retires.

    He will hope to mirror United keeping legend Peter Schmeichel, who retired after the team's 1999 triumph against Bayern Munich.

    "To play at Wembley it's going to be a great game and hopefully a better outcome than the last time otherwise it's going to be a terrible feeling," Dutchman Van der Sar added.

    The win also handed Ferguson the perfect fillip ahead of this weekend's English Premier League battle with Chelsea, a high-stakes encounter that may well settle the outcome of the title race.

    United did not have to wait long for their opener on Wednesday, Gibson threading an exquisite ball through to release Valcencia, who calmly finished past Neuer midway through the half.

    It got better for Gibson five minutes later when his drilled low shot from the edge of the area beat a flapping Neuer and flew in off the post to make it 2-0 and effectively kill the tie.

    It was a personal triumph for Gibson, who last week closed his account on micro-blogging site Twitter after only two hours after being subjected to a torrent of disparaging abuse from United fans.

    Schalke were given a glimmer of hope on 35 minutes when Smalling conceded possession cheaply and the ball ended up at the feet of Jurado, who lashed a fierce shot beyond Van der Sar.

    Anderson made it 3-1 on the night after 72 minutes, capitalising on a surging run from Nani before netting his second four minutes later, tapping in  from close range after good work from Valencia and Dimitar Berbatov.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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