Rooney brace as United ease into final

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The Independent Football

Wayne Rooney scored twice following his introduction as a late substitute as Manchester United booked a Club World Cup final meeting with LDU Quito on Sunday.

United had already established superiority over Gamba Osaka thanks to first-half headers from Nemanja Vidic and Cristiano Ronaldo.



But Rooney's arrival led to a frenzied spell of six goals in 18 minutes, the England man netting either side of a Darren Fletcher effort as the Red Devils kept spirited Gamba resistance at bay.



The laudable objective of this tournament is to gather each continent's top team in one place to show off their respective talents.



Unfortunately, there is a serious flaw in Sepp Blatter's plan as the European and South American sides are traditionally superior to everyone else.



As winners of the Asian Champions League, Gamba did not need to be exposed to such high-class opposition to know defending at set-pieces is fairly essential in the modern game.



The J.League outfit had actually started quite brightly, although United had begun to get on top when Ronaldo won a right-wing corner for his side.



Ryan Giggs took it and expertly found Vidic at the far post. With his added strength, the Serbian simply guided his header beyond Yosuke Fujigaya.



If Anderson, who has yet to score in 56 appearances for the Red Devils since his arrival from FC Porto last year, had been equally clinical when Ronaldo picked him out on the edge of the six-yard area shortly afterwards, the contest would have been over.



Instead, despite being unmarked, the Brazilian failed to make a proper connection, prolonging Gamba's stay of execution until stoppage-time.



Again Giggs was the provider with another accurate set-piece. This time Ronaldo was the finisher, powering home his 10th goal of the campaign, and his first in five weeks.



Given Rooney was only a substitute as Ferguson opted not to take a chance with his fitness, and record signing Dimitar Berbatov remained in bed with a virus, it was an adequate return on the opening 45 minutes, especially as some United players were still suffering from jet-lag.



United's second goal took the competitive edge away from a second half that was more akin to the pre-season games United have played in the Far East over the past few years.



That all changed though when Rooney was introduced 18 minutes from time.



Before he had even touched the ball, Gamba pulled one back through Masato Yamazaki.



But it just proved to be the prelude to a blistering spell of United attacking, in which Fletcher nodded home a third United headed goal either side of a Rooney double.



First the England man shrugged off Sota Nakazawa to finish, then he collected Giggs' pass and slotted home.



Rooney was then booked for a foul on Michihiro Yasuda before Endo slotted home a calmly-taken penalty after a handball decision had gone against Gary Neville.



There was still time for another Gamba goal from Hideo Hashimoto, although it not affect the outcome.

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