Football: Torpedo sink United from penalty spot: Hughes given marching orders and Moscow men find an extra gear while Rush closes in on scoring record

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The Independent Online
Torpedo Moscow. . . . 0

Manchester United. . .0

(after extra time; aggregate 0-0; Torpedo win 4-3 on penalties)

MARK HUGHES was sent off with less than two minutes of normal time remaining in the second leg of this Uefa Cup first round tie yesterday, and though United's 10 men played fluently through 30 minutes of extra time they then blew away another European campaign in a penalty shoot-out on the banks of the Moskva river.

When it came to sudden death, United won an immediate advantage; Peter Schmeichel saved Torpedo's first shot and their second hit the crossbar. Denis Irwin gave United a 2-0 lead before Alexander Podshivalov, who has matched the Danish giant stride for stride in this tie, saved from Steve Bruce.

At 2-2 Brian McClair shot over Torpedo's bar, Bryan Robson restored the balance at 3-3 but Gary Pallister, having to score to keep United alive, had his shot saved by Podshivalov.

This victory for an unfashionable Moscow club, their compact little ground holding 11,357 yesterday, was not undeserved. They may be young and short of experience at this level but this team from the Zis car factory proved to be capable, disciplined, quick and well organised. Tactically they matched some of the world's best-paid professionals over the 120 minutes of this tie creating the better chances, if not quite as many as United.

Their goalkeeper captain made one excellent save at Old Trafford and added three more here from Hughes and, twice, from Neil Webb. Several of their youngsters, including the tall, fair spearhead Andrei Talalayev should all be expecting lucrative offers from the West to leave their reported pounds 4 a week jobs.

This was a much better contest than the first leg, a drenched crowd on this uncovered ground being kept entertained by continuous action and incident. All Russians are supposed to play chess so they should have enjoyed the tactical ploy and counter-ploy.

United began handsomely enough, skating over the thick wet grass, Torpedo conceding a corner from almost under their bar. Ryan Giggs's first run brought three defenders on to him as quickly as Red Square currency touts. Bruce headed over, Hughes missed his shot from eight yards and Bruce won the first yellow card.

Hughes's first booking for a foul soon followed but, as Robson had then appeared, United pressed furiously to the interval, both Robson and Paul Ince coming inches from the first goal. Gennady Fillimonov was booked in his running battle with Hughes.

Torpedo had made one change from Old Trafford, including an extra attacker wide at the expense of the midfield, but their defensive concentration remained impressive, as did their capacity for the quick counter-strike. On the hour Schmeichel had to make one of his wonder saves from Talalayev, anticipating and beating out a shot he could have barely seen. Talalayev was later to shoot over under pressure from only a little further out while Podshivalov, at his end, was always willing to try to steal the glory.

McClair was the next to be booked as the rain sprayed up around the boots. Webb, spurred on by the magnificent Ince, hit the goalkeeper's recumbent form in yet another frustrating goalmouth scramble for United and with extra time expected from all present Hughes, in his recurring tussles with sometimes three markers, turned away from one whistle with an expression of disgust to boot the ball goalwards - red card.

It was momentary anger but inexcusable in the circumstances because by half-time it was clear that the Danish referee had no reservations about using his full disciplinary powers. As it happened United's 10 men, with Ryan Giggs seeing the ball more frequently through the middle, showed much more expression in extra time when Torpedo, in a dominant position for the first time in the entire tie, seemed disconcerted and unable to press home their numerical superiority. Yet when it came to the test it was their stripling nerves, not those of the many-capped and bemedalled United, which took the strain, the match finishing almost, but not quite, as Alex Ferguson had predicted.

If there is a silver lining for United in this dank Russian cloud it came in the first senior appearances, since April, of Robson and Paul Parker. They lost Danny Wallace with a hamstring strain but the reappearance of two of their principal players may be very significant in the championship campaign.

Where United's management must be looking, in the inquest, is at the tactical thinking employed in the first leg at Old Trafford.

Torpedo Moscow: Podshivalov; Fillimonov, Cheltsov, Afanasyev, Vostrosablin (Borisov, 101), Shustikov, Grishin, Talalayev, Afayev, Chuganov, Pasomeyov (Ulyanov, 83).

Manchester United: Schmeichel; Irwin, Phelan (Parker, 55), Bruce, Pallister, Webb, Wallace (Robson, 37), Ince, McClair, Hughes, Giggs.

Referee: J Damgaard (Denmark).

(Photograph omitted)

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