Manchester United routed Schalke 4-1 Wednesday night as Anderson scored twice, advancing to the Champions League final against Barcelona with a 6-1 aggregate win.
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Antonio Valencia and Darron Gibson also scored for Manchester United, which plays Barcelona at Wembley on May 28 in a rematch of the 2009 final, which Barcelona won 2-0.
”Barcelona play extremely good football. It’s going to be difficult,” said United keeper Edwin van der Sar, who intends to retire after the final. ”We have to make sure we learned our lesson from (two years ago), be better prepared and deal with them in a different way. Hopefully, it’ll be a better outcome.”
Manager Alex Ferguson used a lineup with mostly backups, retaining just three players from the starting 11 that lost to Arsenal in the Premier League last weekend. Still, Manchester United had the largest victory margin in the tournament’s home-and-home, total-goals semifinal since AC Milan defeated Real Madrid 6-1 in the Champion Clubs’ Cup in 1988-89.
After winning 2-0 in Germany last week, Ferguson rested many of his regulars to prepare for this weekend’s Premier League match against second-place Chelsea, which trails by three points with three games left. United is seeking what would be an English record 19th league title.
Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand didn’t dress, and Ryan Giggs, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra sat on the bench.
”I didn’t sleep last night thinking about it,” Ferguson said. ”They did me proud.”
Goals by Valencia in the 26th minute and Gibson in the 31st built a 4-0 aggregate lead. Jose Manuel Jurado scored for Schalke in the 35th, but Anderson added goals for the Red Devils in the 72nd and 76th minutes. Entering the match, Anderson had scored just two goals in 125 appearances.
”Wembley here we come,” Rooney wrote on Twitter. ”Looking forward to Sunday now. Big result needed.”