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The Globe and Mail

Manchester United through to last 16 with late win at Braga

Braga's Douglao (L) controls the ball next to Manchester United's Javier Hernandez during their Champions League Group H soccer match at the Municipal stadium in Braga, November 7, 2012.


Late goals from substitute Robin Van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez earned Manchester United a place in the last 16 of the Champions League with a 3-1 comeback win at Braga on Wednesday.

In a match interrupted for 10 minutes by floodlight failure, the hosts went ahead early in the second half through an Alan penalty kick.

United struck back when Van Persie came off the bench and punished a blunder by Braga keeper Beto, who inexplicably rushed out of his goal and was caught in no man's land.

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Rooney put United ahead from the penalty spot soon after and, with Braga in disarray, Hernandez made it 3-1 in injury time after a goal-mouth muddle.

Group H leaders United have 12 points from four games. Cluj and Galatasaray are on four points, with Braga on three.

United coach Alex Ferguson made several changes to the side who beat Arsenal 2-1 in the Premier League over the weekend, bringing in Nani, Anderson and Ryan Giggs to the midfield and picking Danny Welbeck to spearhead the attack with Javier Hernandez, leaving Van Persie on the bench to start with.

The changes did not pay off and United were poor in the first half, coming to life only after Van Persie was sent on with 25 minutes on the clock.

Braga suffered a near-repeat of their fortunes at Old Trafford two weeks ago, when they gave away a 2-0 lead and lost 3-2.

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