MUNICH, April 9(Reuters) - Few players share Arjen Robben's uncanny ability to keep trying the same trick over and over again before finally getting it right.
The Dutch international, who has made a habit of cutting in from the right and scoring with his unnervingly accurate left foot, repeatedly tried and failed to get through Manchester United's packed defence during the first hour of Wednesday's Champions League tie.
He shimmied and jinked his way past his defenders to get the ball onto his left foot, the only one he seems capable of shooting with, yet United seemed to have him figured out.
They forced him to shoot either high or wide and when he did hit the target, there was always a leg or body in the way to block his effort.
Some players may well have given up at that point, yet Robben kept going, turning his battle against the United defence almost into a war of attrition.
Then, with the score at 1-1 and the quarter-final in the balance, the unthinkable happened. The ball came to the Dutchman and he crossed the ball with his right foot, an almost unheard of occurrence, for Thomas Mueller to tap in.
Yet the goal with which Robben capped his performance was far more typical.
He cut inside from the right in time-honoured style, jinked his way across the United area and scored with a deflected shot past David de Gea to round off a 3-1 win on the night and 4-2 aggregate success.
"I think the first half was okay, we created some chances but we started badly in the second half and we were punished," said Robben, who joked about the cross with his right foot.
"It was good to score the equaliser quickly. Then we added two more and ended it. That's football. Our coach warned us. 0-0 is ok but we wanted to win, the first 10 minutes after the break was a catastrophe.
"We have one aim to go to (the final in) Lisbon. Now it's one more opponent with two games. We have to keep going, maybe even improve some more, we can be even better than this." (Reporting By Brian Homewood; editing by Toby Davis)
- Sports & Recreation
- Arjen Robben
- Manchester United