Van Persie Treble Sees United To Q/Final

Robin van Persie scored a stunning hat-trick against Olympiakos to lift the pressure on David Moyes and send Manchester United through to the UEFA Champions League quarter final on an epic night of high drama at Old Trafford.
Van Persie, who left the pitch on a stretcher late on, converted a first-half penalty and scored on the brink of half-time before he struck the final goal of the 3-0 win with a free-kick just after the restart.
The Theatre of Dreams turned into the scene of Moyes’ worst nightmare on Sunday when United lost 3-0 to Liverpool and questions arose about the manager’s future. But the United boss got everything spot on against the Greeks on Wednesday night.
The odds were against the United boss. The last time the Red Devils came back from 2-0 down in the first leg was 30 years ago when Bryan Robson inspired the team to a rousing 3-0 win over a Barcelona side that included Diego Maradona. Wednesday night was the turn of another United icon, Ryan Giggs to boss the game.
Moyes’ decision to deploy the 40-year-old in the middle of the park proved to be a masterstroke as he played a key role in the build-up to the first two goals and excelled throughout.
A battered and bloodied Antonio Valencia, who was given a black eye early in the first half, also put on a display that United’s Captain Marvel would have been proud of.
Moyes, who received support from the Old Trafford crowd throughout, may have endured a poor domestic season, but his European dream is still alive thanks to this impressive comeback.
The only thing that will worry Moyes is that his hat-trick hero was carried off on a stretcher late on with what looked like a knee injury.
United, knowing only a big win would send them through, went at Olympiacos from the off but they were frustrated by the tenacious visitors, who did everything they could to break play up.
Valencia jumped for the ball with Joel Campbell and ended up with a black eye that left him barely able to see. Moyes looked concerned, but the winger continued after treatment.
Kostas Manolas and Alejandro Dominguez saw yellow for petty fouls while Michael Carrick also entered the book for a foul on Hernan Perez.
Perez picked himself up and went down the other end, gaining a yard inside the United box but he fired over. The midfielder fell to the turf and placed his head in his hands. He knew he had missed a gilt-edged chance.
Giggs showed why he was recalled to the team when he lofted a delicious ball over the top towards Van Persie. Jose Holebas barged over the Dutchman and the referee had no option but to give a penalty.
Van Persie slotted the ball home with 25 minutes on the clock, exactly the same time that Robson had put United ahead against Barcelona in 1984. Van Persie later scored two more goals and earned United a deserved last eight slot on the night.


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