Still one of the best

Alex Ferguson has claimed that his injury prone reserve striker Michael Owen is still among the best strikers in the world, after his hat-trick sealed a barely deserved win for his team in Germany last night. United won 3-1 at Wolfsburg in a game that they could have easily lost, especially after Michael Carrick got away with a blatant foul in his own area. However the former England striker rediscovered his form and took three lovely goals.

‘Michael Owen is one of the very best strikers around in terms of his positional play and finishing,’ said Ferguson. ‘Michael has improved steadily in training since joining us but, in some games recently, we've chosen to play just one central striker. We had a different system featuring two strikers tonight, Michael's proved his worth in it and we're delighted.’

‘Me getting three goals will probably grab the headlines but it was a great team performance,’ said Owen in classic Alan Shearer style. ‘I was playing deep with us having so many players out and we were trying to protect the defence.’

Elsewhere, Chelsea drew 2-2 with Apoel Nicosia at Stamford Bridge, with Carlo Ancelotti bemoaning his team’s second half display as the worst of the season, Juventus were knocked out by Bayern Munich after collapsing 4-1 at home to the German side, while their fellow Italians AC Milan progressed, thanks largely to Real Madrid’s thumping 3-1 win over Marseille. Had the French team won, Milan’s 1-1 draw with bottom of the group FC Zurich wouldn’t have been enough.

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