Cluj, Romania: Manchester United striker Robin van Persie continued his hot scoring streak as his double secured a 2-1 victory over CFR Cluj in Champions League Group H on Tuesday.
Manchester United had to come from behind after Pantelis Kapetanos fired the Romanian champions into a 14th minute lead.
Van Persie equalised 15 minutes later when he met Wayne Rooney’s free kick and the ball looped off his shoulder and over keeper Mario Felgueiras.
There was nothing fortunate about his second goal four minutes after the break, the Dutch international showing a deft touch to flick another Rooney cross past Felgueiras.
Manchester United, who failed to get out of their group last season, are well-placed to advance this time with two wins from two.
The Premier League side had kept clean sheets in seven of their last nine away games in the competition but manager Alex Ferguson voiced defensive concerns after his side conceded three in losing to Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford on Saturday.
His worries appeared valid when Cluj, who beat Braga in their opening game, took the lead.
A crossfield pass found Modou Sougou on the right and he easily brushed aside Patrice Evra and crossed for Greek international Kapetanos to net.
The lively Sougou went off injured midway through the first half and Manchester United, without experienced midfielders Ryan Giggs, Michael Carrick and Paul Scholes but fielding the attacking trio of Rooney, Van Persie and Javier Hernandez, gained momentum.
Van Persie levelled and then saw Felgueiras block another shot before Rooney glanced a header wide.
Manchester United’s second goal appeared to knock the stuffing out of Cluj but Spanish keeper David de Gea came to his side’s rescue at the end when he beat away Rafael Bastos’s header.
Van Persie has scored seven times for Manchester United since joining from Arsenal just before the start of the season.
Barcelona sink Benfica
Lisbon: Lionel Messi set up goals for Alexis Sanchez and Cesc Fabregas in Barcelona’s 2-0 Champions League Group G victory over Benfica on Tuesday but their victory was overshadowed by a serious-looking arm injury sustained by Carles Puyol.
Sanchez fired Barca ahead on six minutes and Fabregas added a second 10 minutes into the second half.
The Catalans had Sergio Busquets dismissed two minutes from time but will be more concerned about captain Puyol, who landed awkwardly after leaping for a ball and was carried off on a stretcher in obvious pain on 78 minutes.
Barca have six points from two matches and head into Sunday’s La Liga ‘Classico’ against Real Madrid with confidence high.