at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
London – Robin van Persie will be fit to face Real Madrid in next week’s Champions League clash, despite picking up a bizarre hip injury during Manchester United’s win over Queens Park Rangers.
Van Persie fell into a TV camera pit at Loftus Road after losing his balance while setting up Rafael’s thunderbolt opener for United in the 23rd minute.
After receiving lengthy treatment he soldiered on, but his discomfort was such that Sir Alex Ferguson was forced to replace his prolific striker with Danny Welbeck four minutes before the break.
Despite the scare, Van Persie’s injury is limited to bruising, so he is only expected to be out of training for two to three days.
It remains to be seen whether Ferguson chooses to keep Van Persie in reserve when United entertain Norwich on Saturday, just three days ahead of the second leg against Real at Old Trafford on March 5.
United are well placed after Welbeck grabbed a precious away goal in the first-leg 1-1 draw in Madrid.
At Loftus Road, United were again indebted to one of football’s finest veterans as they moved another step closer to reclaiming the Premier League trophy. Over the years QPR boss Harry Redknapp has relied on a few players in the autumn of their careers, but he has never had a player of Ryan Giggs’ class.
And how Redknapp must have wished Giggs had not decided to be a one-club man as he watched the 39-year-old pull the strings for United in the 999th competitive game of his career. Giggs was brilliant, picking out passes with incredible vision and dictating the tempo before sealing United’s win with an accurate strike.
He even had a hand in United’s opener, stealing the ball off Adel Taarabt to begin the attack which culminated in Rafael’s screamer.
“It is getting boring,” joked Rafael when asked to sum up Giggs. “He is an unbelievable player. Every game you see him, he works hard, scores, makes assists.
“He is just such a good player. He’s the same in training; he just loves the game. He gives us experience, confidence and when you are feeling bad he comes and helps you, especially young players. Sometimes a young player finds it tough and he helps. He pulls the player aside. He spoke to me a lot when I was young. He knows it from playing for 22 years.”
A succinct summing up of Giggs’ importance to the cause, on and off the field, from a player who had yet to celebrate his first birthday when his teammate made his United debut.
Redknapp celebrates his 66th birthday when QPR next go in search of a vital win which he hopes will spark a remarkable comeback. That game takes place away to his former club Southampton. ‘I thought there is no better way to spend my birthday than getting 90 minutes of abuse at Southampton Football Club,” quipped the QPR manager.
“They will be calling me scummer for my time at Portsmouth. I thought, ‘That’s a great way to spend my 66th birthday’.”Earplugs would seem to be the perfect present, but Redknapp would doubtless be delighted to unwrap three crucial points. – Daily Mail