YOKOHAMA, Japan - Wayne Rooney's superb 73rd-minute strike gave 10-man Manchester United a 1-0 victory over Ecuador's LDU in the Club World Cup final on Sunday. United became the first British winners of the FIFA tournament following Liverpool's failure in 2005 when they were ambushed by Brazil's Sao Paulo. The European champions overcame a moment of madness from Nemanja Vidic, who was sent off four minutes into the second half in Yokohama for elbowing LDU striker Claudio Bieler in the face. "The sending off made it difficult for us," United manager Alex Ferguson told reporters. "Half-an-hour to go is a long road with 10 men but Wayne scored a magnificent goal. "In 30 years you'll look back and see Manchester United's name on the trophy -- although I won't be around to enjoy it." Vidic's red card is a major blow to Ferguson as he will miss United's next European Champions League game, away to Inter Milan in February in the first leg of the last 16. "It's a soft sending-off but he swung an elbow," said Ferguson. "When you do that in front of the referee you've got no chance. He gave the referee no option." Vidic's ban could be extended to three matches should the incident be deemed violent conduct. "It depends how FIFA interpret it and how UEFA act in terms of the information," added Ferguson. "Vidic is disappointed but the referee was correct to produce the red card." BEST TEAM The Serbian defender's dismissal sparked Ferguson's side into life and Rooney fired the winner with a clinical right-foot shot after a magical flick from Cristiano Ronaldo. "We're the best team in the world," said Rooney, who was named player of the tournament after scoring twice in United's 5-3 semi-final win over Japan's Gamba Osaka. "If we hadn't won it would have been difficult going back home. We would probably have been on a downer and it would have had a knock-on effect. "Now we can go back with lots of confidence. It's been a childhood dream. I just looked at my phone and I had a message saying 'Congratulations -- you're a world champion'. "To score the winning goal is a great feeling." Ronaldo, the victim of persistent rough treatment from Libertadores Cup holders LDU, was a constant threat as United dominated a match watched by almost 69,000 fans. Rooney, Park Ji-sung and Carlos Tevez, who angrily grabbed his tracksuit top and kicked the bench when Ferguson sacrificed him after Vidic's red card, all went close. United still had to survive late LDU pressure, with goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar forced into an excellent fingertip save from Alejandro Manso's fierce drive in the 89th minute. "Unbelievable!" said United captain Rio Ferdinand. "We're elated. It's been a hard trip but winning softens any feelings of tiredness." Ferguson's side won the tournament's forerunner, a one-off match between the champions of Europe and South America, with a 1-0 win over Brazilian side Palmeiras in 1999. UNITED FANS! Check FourFourTwo.com’s ever-expanding interviews archive for more stuff to read: Web Exclusives Wayne Rooney, Peter Schmeichel, Carlos Tevez Q+A Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ruud Van Nistlerooy One on One David Beckham, George Best, Ask A Silly Question Bryan Robson Boy's A Bit Special Danny Simpson Perfect XI Garth Crooks, Bryan Robson, Sir Bobby Charlton, Eric Cantona What Happened Next? David May, Norman Whiteside Sing When You’re Winning Dominic Monaghan, Ian Brown Plus! Rate United players (and others) on Talentspotter
21 December 2008
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