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 Wednesday, December 1
Bosnich brilliant in World Club Cup final
 
Reuters

 TOKYO -- Mark Bosnich won his first trophy with Manchester United on Tuesday after a goalkeeping display worthy of Peter Schmeichel at his peak.

Bosnich kept Palmeiras at bay with a string of fine saves to protect United's 1-0 lead in the World Club Cup final and ensure the English club won its fourth title of the year.

Manchester United players
Manchester United's David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Paul Scholes and Roy Keane, from left, and Palmeiras' Galeano await a free kick by Palmeiras' Junior Baiano, right.

Schmeichel was first-choice keeper when United won the English league, the F.A. Cup and the European Cup last season. Bosnich's display in the National Stadium finally convinced manager Alex Ferguson he had found the great Dane's successor.

"Tonight I think he solidified his reputation as a great goalkeeper," said Ferguson, who signed Bosnich in June to replace Schmeichel.

"I think he has been doing very very well in the last few matches, but sometimes you have got to do something particularly noteworthy to make everyone sit up and take notice.

"I think tonight he showed the ability we always knew he had."

The Australian made three vital saves in the final and was never less than commanding in his box. The first came after 23 minutes when he spread himself Schmeichel-style to deny midfielder Alex what looked to be a certain goal.

Bosnich parried the ball at close range and Gary Neville hooked it to safety. After 76 minutes, substitute Oceas burst through and powered a close-range shot at goal, but Bosnich blocked it.

Three minutes later he denied Alex a second time, acrobatically tipping another goal-bound shot over his crossbar for a corner.

Ryan Giggs, who supplied the cross that lead to captain Roy Keane's winning goal in the 35th minute and was named man of the match, was full of praise for the keeper.

"He played brilliantly and made three fantastic reflex saves," Giggs said. "I think he had a great game and hopefully that will set him, and us, up for a great season."

Bosnich has had a difficult start to his second career at Old Trafford, almost a decade after leaving the club following just three league appearances at the start of the 1990s.

Because of work permit problems at that time, Bosnich was forced to return to Australia and that meant Ferguson had to look elsewhere for a goalkeeper.

The player he chose of course was Schmeichel, who was a major factor in United's haul of honors throughout the decade.

When Schmeichel decided to leave United after eight years -- his last match was last season's European Cup final victory over Bayern Munich -- Ferguson invited Bosnich back to Old Trafford, and he signed on a free transfer from Aston Villa.

But things did not go according to plan. Ferguson was unimpressed with Bosnich's fitness and his early performances left much to be desired.

Bosnich was injured and lost his first team place. Raimond Van Der Gouw, Schmeichel's long-term deputy, pressed his claims and Ferguson was so worried he invested $7.17 million in Venezia goalkeeper Massimo Taibi.

The Italian also made mistakes in his opening games and had a nightmare when Chelsea beat United 5-0 in October.

After regaining his fitness, Bosnich regained his place in the starting lineup and has held on to it ever since. Taibi has sat on the bench or played for the reserves.

Asked if Tuesday's performance could prove to be the turning point for the Australian, Ferguson, replied: "You sense it after a match like that. He was quite magnificent."

 


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Man U wins World Club Cup thriller over Palmeiras

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Palmeiras roster