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UNITEDRANT

Europe the goal as Reds open with Benfica

September 14, 2011 Tags: , Matches 129 comments

Sir Alex Ferguson will use the full weight of his squad in coming weeks, starting with Manchester United’s tie with Portugal’s Benfica on Wednesday night. Tom Cleverley, Rafael da Silva and Nemanja Vidic miss the game through injury, while Rio Ferdinand is protected with Chelsea to come on Sunday. Yet Ferguson is likely to make further changes, aware that United’s busy schedule over the next two months will wring the freshness out of his squad.

Indeed, Ferguson could restore some of his more experienced players, having started so many youngster stars in the opening weeks of United’s campaign, with the effervescent energy that it has brought to his team. Michael Carrick, Darren Fletcher, Ryan Giggs and Park Ji-Sung are each in contention for a place in Ferguson’s team for Wednesday’s match at Estádio da Luz , northern Lisbon.

“I have not picked my team yet,” said the 69-year-old, now in his 26th season with the club.

“We are coming into a period where we have the game tomorrow, then Chelsea on Sunday, Leeds United on Tuesday, then Stoke away on the following Saturday. Obviously the squad will be used but first of all we are giving a lot of consideration to Benfica. I have a few things to think about. But it wouldn’t worry me at all to play the [same] team that is doing well.”

Once again, the romance of European competition has captured Ferguson’s heart, with the United boss hoping to improve on last season’s run to the final. Indeed, while three finals in the past four years presents a huge achievement for the Scot, two crushing defeats to Barcelona still weigh heavily. It’s a challenge that Ferguson believes United is now closer to meeting, having seen his side begin the new campaign in such positive fashion.

“It’s always the challenge for us,” added Ferguson, who was in a jovial mood ahead of United’s eighth European Cup meeting with the Portuguese giants.

“We’re coming closer all the time to getting another trophy. The consistency has been very, very good over last few years. That’s a good guide to the standard we are in Europe and also the progress we’re making. I think the last three years we haven’t lost an away game, apart from the finals. Of course we want to improve, that’s the drive of every coach and player, to improve. We hope we can improve. The most important thing is to win it – that’s the improvement that we really do want.

“It is different winning the Champions League in the present day than it was 30 years ago. All the best teams are in Europe; Real Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Villarreal from Spain, Benfica and Porto from Portugal. Ourselves, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City. It is a very difficult tournament to win now. That is why I am pleased with the progress my team has made because you can see the consistency has been the hallmark of our game in the last few years.”

Benfica v Manchester United, Estádio da Luz, Champions League, 14 September 2011With Ferdinand rested as a precaution, Ferguson may restore Chris Smalling to United’s starting line-up, with Phil Jones moving inside despite the highly successful showing at right-back against Bolton Wanderers at the weekend. Meanwhile, the Scot may bring both Carrick and Fletcher into central midfield, despite Anderson’s positive start to the season.

Unbeaten away from Old Trafford for three seasons, Ferguson’s team has found a highly successful, if sometimes negative way of playing on the road in European competition. This may colour Ferguson’s selection should the Scot choose to implement a three-man midfield for United’s first European game of the season. Indeed, although Benfica finished some way behind Porto at the head of the Primera Liga last season, Ferguson is aware of the talent still available to Jorge Jesus.

“We know all about Pablo Aimar,” added Sir Alex.

“Aimar played against us for Valencia a few years ago, he is a very talented player. [Ezequiel] Garay and Luisao at the back are also very experienced, good players. It won’t be easy for us; it will be a difficult game. But it will be difficult for Benfica too.”

Once again United will rely on Wayne Rooney as both creator and goalscorer. The 25-year-old Scouser has scored 10 goals in six competitive games for club and country this season, including two successive hat-tricks in the Premier League. The triple brought warm praise from Benfica coach Jesus, who compared the England striker to often more lauded Brazilians and Argentinians.

It’s a comparison Ferguson welcomes, although the Scot is unlikely to add a ‘ninho’ to the £30 million former Evertonian just yet.

”Wayne is a typical British player,” Ferguson added.

“But there have been British players who have great qualities that made them great players – [Paul] Gascoigne, George Best, Bobby Charlton and Denis Law.

”Look at Pele. ‘He was a very aggressive attacker as well who could look after himself. So can Rooney. There are similarities that way in strength, speed and determination. But he is white, completely white. The similarities are that the boy has great courage. He wants to play all the time. He has incredible stamina. These are added extras to the talent he has.”

Jesus’ team, meanwhile, is refreshed, with the coach having rested key players Aimar and Nolito for the 2-1 win over Vitória de Guimarães at the weekend. Nolito, a summer signing from Barcelona, has scored five in as many games this season and has formed a potent partnership with Óscar Cardozo. The strike pair is complimented in the starting line-up by summer signings Ezequiel Garay and Axel Witsel, who joined after Benfica pocketed around €30 million for Real Madrid bound defender Fábio Coentrão.

“The Champions League is the maximum for any player,” Jesus said told UEFA.com.

“My experience is that whether you are playing Manchester United or Basel, the players’ motivation is the same. When you start the match and hear the Champions League anthem, the player is already so charged with adrenaline because he feels he is playing with the very best. Every player is super-concentrated, super-motivated, and will do everything to be at the highest possible level.”

History points to the sternest of tests for Jesus’ men, with United having won six of the clubs’ seven fixtures in this competition, including the 1968 final. However, few Reds will forget Benfica’s 2-1 Lisbon victory in 2005 that eliminated Ferguson’s team at the group stage. Five United players – Ferdinand, Park, Giggs, Rooney and Fletcher – remain from that game, one of the most dismal of Ferguson’s tenure.

Benfica is also seeking a seventh successive home victory in Europe, having already beaten Trabzonspor AŞ and FC Twente in the play-offs; a record of which Ferguson is understandably respectful.

Match Facts
Benfica versus Manchester United, Champions League, Estádio da Luz, Wednesday 12 September 2011, 7.45pm.

Likely Line-ups
Benfica (4-2-3-1): Guilherme Moraes Artur; Emerson, Luisao, Garay, Pereira; Garcia, Witsel; Aimar, Gaitan, Nolito; Cardozo. Subs from: Eduardo, Jardel, Amorim, Matic, Cesar, Saviola, Jara.

United (4-4-1-1): de Gea; Smalling, Evans, Jones, Evra; Nani, Carrick, Fletcher, Young; Rooney; hernandez. Subs from: Lindegaard, Fabio, Giggs, Anderson, Park, Diouf, Owen, Berbatov, Pogba.

Form
Benfica: DWWWW
United: WWWWW

Referee
Referee: Damir Skomina (Slovenia)

129 comments

Reuben - September 14, 2011 Reply

Didn’t United lose away to Bayern a couple of years back?

Can’t think of any other recent away losses, though.

Just1n - September 14, 2011 Reply

Aimar is a great talent.

Spike - September 14, 2011 Reply

we will win and the glory hunters will be eachother again

uncleknobheadforfucksake - September 14, 2011 Reply

should be standard practice away in europe no, 451, carrick awful, battered, nick a goal when we switch to two up top, hold on for a 1-0

ltel - September 14, 2011 Reply

de gea droppd i think..

ltel - September 14, 2011 Reply

Lindegaard, Fabio, Smalling, Evans, Evra, Valencia, Carrick, Giggs, Fletcher, Park, Rooney

Subs: De Gea, Jones, Anderson, Nani, Owen, Berbatov, Chicharito.

Alfonso Bedoya - September 14, 2011 Reply

Ferguson taking a chance here.

Thinking about Chump$ki…

ltel - September 14, 2011 Reply

no young. jones on the bench, evans fletch carrick valencia start.. big risk

bman - September 14, 2011 Reply

Good to see Fletch back, he’s a sorely needed midfield option for us. Looks like Fergie is doing his standard routine for a cautious CL group away game — keep it solid, first priority is a clean sheet, second priority a goal or two.

han - September 14, 2011 Reply

too many changes to make this a walk in the park i think
however, good to see tony v back

triggs - September 14, 2011 Reply

Disappointed to see 451. If we’re shit today, Keano’s gonna give em hell.

triggs - September 14, 2011 Reply

ltel said:
de gea droppd i think..

you mean rested

madredmonkey - September 14, 2011 Reply

here we go again , another cl season starts tonight, alex has gone for experance tonight, with one eye on sunday?

madredmonkey - September 14, 2011 Reply

Hi Han, evening all.

han - September 14, 2011 Reply

hi mad red
got to hope for a good evening

madredmonkey - September 14, 2011 Reply

going to be tight i think .

han - September 14, 2011 Reply

some one shoot that bird

han - September 14, 2011 Reply

what does berbs have to do to get in the 1st 11 nowadays? would have been nice to see him start tonight

ltel - September 14, 2011 Reply

triggs said:
you mean rested

how does a 20 year old keeper who has played 5 games need a rest?

madredmonkey - September 14, 2011 Reply

han said:
what does berbs have to do to get in the 1st 11 nowadays? would have been nice to see him start tonight

join another team

han - September 14, 2011 Reply

et tu mad red???????

madredmonkey - September 14, 2011 Reply

han said:
et tu mad red???????

no i like him , but thats how he will get another start.

han - September 14, 2011 Reply

carrick ffs

ltel - September 14, 2011 Reply

carrick you twat,, well done smalling

madmax - September 14, 2011 Reply

ref has been shite

han - September 14, 2011 Reply

whats happened to micky p’s beard???

ltel - September 14, 2011 Reply

if its not there i would guess he shaved it

ltel - September 14, 2011 Reply

fabio fucked. out for 4 years

han - September 14, 2011 Reply

come on united
pick it up ffs

ltel - September 14, 2011 Reply

carrick off now.. wanker

han - September 14, 2011 Reply

ffs bollockless up to his usual again

han - September 14, 2011 Reply

passing is piss poor for the last 10 mins from united

han - September 14, 2011 Reply

oh fuck off

ltel - September 14, 2011 Reply

what a goal.., fuck fuck fuck

madmax - September 14, 2011 Reply

nice goal, but we’ve been fuckin shite

ltel - September 14, 2011 Reply

this is last years team away from hme. what did we expect

madredmonkey - September 14, 2011 Reply

ltel said:
this is last years team away from hme. what did we expect

true.

Ichiro - September 14, 2011 Reply

This is just awful

han - September 14, 2011 Reply

stick sweet pea on to partner rooney since he is dropping further back to look for a ball from our shitty midfield

ltel - September 14, 2011 Reply

evans carrick giggs off jones anderson mexico on… now

triggs - September 14, 2011 Reply

Parks stinks, get him off, put Giggsy left, get Berba on.

442

han - September 14, 2011 Reply

giggs woeful too thus far

madredmonkey - September 14, 2011 Reply

two up front, now please.

brianofnazareth - September 14, 2011 Reply

Why does Ferguson change it to a 4-5-1 formation in Europe? It doesn’t suit us one bit. Our passing is shocking tonight, also Carrick and Evans really worry me; they send out a bad vibe!

triggs - September 14, 2011 Reply

han said:
giggs woeful too thus far

one fantastic turn about 5 mins ago, but just gave the ball away in a dangerous position

Liam - September 14, 2011 Reply

Not bad eh?

han - September 14, 2011 Reply

where is the zip gone?
come on united

brianofnazareth - September 14, 2011 Reply

Question, How is Park a pro footballer? Absolutely appalling on the ball for this level of football.

triggs - September 14, 2011 Reply

Keano aint gonna be happy with this shite

madredmonkey - September 14, 2011 Reply

basel 1-0 up.

Ichiro - September 14, 2011 Reply

not playing like were 1-0 down

Ichiro - September 14, 2011 Reply

Giggs magic!

han - September 14, 2011 Reply

gigggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggsssssssssssssssss

ltel - September 14, 2011 Reply

whatr a goal giggsy

triggs - September 14, 2011 Reply

han said:
giggs woeful too thus far

take THAT!

Ichiro - September 14, 2011 Reply

out of nowhere

madmax - September 14, 2011 Reply

still tearing ’em apart :))))

han - September 14, 2011 Reply

triggs said:
take THAT!

well he was when i typed that

Spike - September 14, 2011 Reply

anyone got a stream?

han - September 14, 2011 Reply

Spike said:
anyone got a stream?

its on itv 1

han - September 14, 2011 Reply

1st shot on target and a goal!
but lets face it, united were pretty awful for most of that half
rooney needs sweet pea or berbs with him up front otherwise he will be looking for the non existent ball from bollockless

RobDiablo - September 14, 2011 Reply

I can’t believe Sir Alex gave starts to Park, Carrick, and Fletcher. In the reserve matches I watched, Fletcher was outshone by Gibson and Pogba, but he does look better than Carrick. Park being knocked down a lot on the left, so he has drifted inside. I would guess that Evans has the highest pass completion rate by some stretch, but that’s not hard to do when 75% of your passes are to the keeper.

uncleknobheadforfucksake - September 14, 2011 Reply

hehe, berbatov still can’t get a game

will be funny if owen is our first sub on, is he on the bench

ltel - September 14, 2011 Reply

uncleknobheadforfucksake said:
hehe, berbatov still can’t get a game

will be funny if owen is our first sub on, is he on the bench

dont see why tha would delight you

han - September 14, 2011 Reply

uncleknobheadforfucksake said:
hehe, berbatov still can’t get a game

will be funny if owen is our first sub on, is he on the bench

knew there was a bad stink coming into the room – just didnt know when it was going to start…

han - September 14, 2011 Reply

ltel said:
dont see why tha would delight you

didnt u know
he personally subsidises berbas wages

sidney - September 14, 2011 Reply

I hate this formation

We’re sloppy, vulnerable, slow, idealess, immobile. It’s time we came up with something else because 451 with these cunts is no longer solid, reliable and strong – and it offers nowt going forward

Evans is nowhere near aggressive enough in the challenge for their goal

Brilliant goal by Giggs though, total quality. It actually woke me up, genuinely

madredmonkey - September 14, 2011 Reply

Great goal from giggs, but now we need to improve.

han - September 14, 2011 Reply

need to start with a quicker tempo this half

ltel - September 14, 2011 Reply

sidney said:
I hate this formation

We’re sloppy, vulnerable, slow, idealess, immobile. It’s time we came up with something else because 451 with these cunts is no longer solid, reliable and strong – and it offers nowt going forward

Evans is nowhere near aggressive enough in the challenge for their goal

Brilliant goal by Giggs though, total quality. It actually woke me up, genuinely

evra is at fualt.. where the fck was he..

bman - September 14, 2011 Reply

This same side and formation helped us achieve a stunning away record in Europe last season. Biggest problem is probably that Fletch, Carrick, Giggs, Park, Valencia and Fab (or is that Raf?) are rusty and not yet up to match-intensity: that’s a lot of rusty players to put on at once, but I guess it speaks to the fact that SAF doesn’t think Benfica are top class. Besides, if you’re not going to use the CL group stage to run out these players, when are you going to do it? The reality is that if we lost this match we’d more than likely still top the group.

madredmonkey - September 14, 2011 Reply

BASEL 1-1

sidney - September 14, 2011 Reply

bman said:
This same side and formation helped us achieve a stunning away record in Europe last season. Biggest problem is probably that Fletch, Carrick, Giggs, Park, Valencia and Fab (or is that Raf?) are rusty and not yet up to match-intensity: that’s a lot of rusty players to put on at once, but I guess it speaks to the fact that SAF doesn’t think Benfica are top class. Besides, if you’re not going to use the CL group stage to run out these players, when are you going to do it? The reality is that if we lost this match we’d more than likely still top the group.

Some of those away games were fucking dross last season though

And it doesn’t work in the Prem at all

han - September 14, 2011 Reply

sidney said:
Some of those away games were fucking dross last season though

And it doesn’t work in the Prem at all

yes they were
but didnt get beaten away in europe

ltel - September 14, 2011 Reply

this isnt working fs..change it before we go down again.. maureen would have changed it in the first 15 minutes

sidney - September 14, 2011 Reply

Almost another class goal from Giggs

Benfica aren’t playing at the minute

han - September 14, 2011 Reply

unlucky giggsy

ltel - September 14, 2011 Reply

how he miss fs.. was already celebrating

han - September 14, 2011 Reply

sweet pea warming up?

ltel - September 14, 2011 Reply

nani and mexico coming on… what a save

han - September 14, 2011 Reply

class save by our goalie

bman - September 14, 2011 Reply

sidney said:
Some of those away games were fucking dross last season though

And it doesn’t work in the Prem at all

I agree on both counts.

han - September 14, 2011 Reply

come on ffs
wake up

bman - September 14, 2011 Reply

ltel said:
nani and mexico coming on… what a save

Aggressive play for all the marbles by SAF. This is the “toughest” game for us in the group, win this and the job’s half done (says the cocky overconfident United supporter).

bman - September 14, 2011 Reply

Wait a minute, where the fuck is Otelul Galati from? Turkey? And why can’t any website agree on how to spell “Basel”? This is a piss poor CL group.

bman - September 14, 2011 Reply

Hahaha Napoli scores…

Alfonso Bedoya - September 14, 2011 Reply

madredmonkey said:
going to be tight i think .

I wouldn’t worry about it… Han’s got more lube than Valvoline.

ltel - September 14, 2011 Reply

bman said:
Wait a minute, where the fuck is Otelul Galati from? Turkey? And why can’t any website agree on how to spell “Basel”? This is a piss poor CL group.

romanian i thought..

han - September 14, 2011 Reply

2 sloppy passes from roons in 5 mins
must be frustrated

madredmonkey - September 14, 2011 Reply

Alfonso Bedoya said:
I wouldn’t worry about it… Han’s got more lube than Valvoline.

lol

uncleknobheadforfucksake - September 14, 2011 Reply

I like jones telling carrick to fuck off just then, even though he then immediately lost the ball…

ltel - September 14, 2011 Reply

fabio ever gonna play 90 minutes?

brianofnazareth - September 14, 2011 Reply

I like this keeper, going to do well for us.

madredmonkey - September 14, 2011 Reply

basel 2-1

ltel - September 14, 2011 Reply

bench will be red hot

ltel - September 14, 2011 Reply

shit them

han - September 14, 2011 Reply

fucking carrick
cant tackle
cant pass
fucking bollockless

madredmonkey - September 14, 2011 Reply

1-1 ok.

han - September 14, 2011 Reply

happy with a point after an poor 1st half
good keeping and defence was tidy on the whole
shame our winning streak couldnt continue

sidney - September 14, 2011 Reply

Second half was a bit better, but a pretty dire game overall

Got a bit lucky at the end too

han - September 14, 2011 Reply

i see the council house wasn’t full tonight

sidney - September 14, 2011 Reply

han said:
i see the council house wasn’t full tonight

Fucking shocking

They’ve won a big trophy, they’re in the Champions League, they’ve got a top team and some great players… and still people won’t go

Mongoletsi - September 16, 2011 Reply

They had a gazillion shit excuses 🙂

han - September 14, 2011 Reply

SAF getting well pissed with the bird interviewing him on itv lol

han - September 14, 2011 Reply

i could watch giggsy’s goal a hundred times and not get tired of it
sheer class from the legend

sidney - September 14, 2011 Reply

The media have established the inevitable De Gea v Lindegaard narrative

Fergie rightly having a go because it can be unsettling

dozer - September 14, 2011 Reply

What did he say?

han - September 14, 2011 Reply

sidney said:
The media have established the inevitable De Gea v Lindegaard narrative

Fergie rightly having a go because it can be unsettling

nah
i reckon its cos he’s old school and can’t take a bird asking him questions about the game

Bill - September 14, 2011 Reply

Lindegaard is clearly the keeper we need playing on a regular basis. He is calm, organised and technically sound. Does everything he is asked to do in a solid manner.

De Gea is a bit too raw at the moment. Lindegaard should start most of the league games as he is more suited to English football.

Give De Gea the majority of the CL group games, Carling Cup, FA Cup and some home league games vs. bottom sides. He will still get 15-20 games in.

han - September 14, 2011 Reply

that fucking music in portugal is well annoying
the games finished
everyone has gone home and still blaring out that shit

han - September 14, 2011 Reply

good interview from lindegard to that stupid skirted bint
ffs itv give the mike to someone else

uncleknobheadforfucksake - September 14, 2011 Reply

was that dalglishs daughter

Yang - September 14, 2011 Reply

Very poor match performance which is expected, SAF field too many rusty players but luckily result is good.

Utd Champions league away performance is the best in Europe so we cannot complain so much 😉

squigs - September 15, 2011 Reply

A rarity, an enjoyable group stage game.

Alfonso Bedoya - September 15, 2011 Reply

uncleknobheadforfucksake said:
was that dalglishs daughter

Yep.

uncleknobheadforfucksake - September 15, 2011 Reply

that benfica goal, lindegaard got his hand on it, that wouldve been considered a dege mistake

RobDiablo - September 15, 2011 Reply

And the one he saved by getting low and stretching out his hand would have beaten De Gea.

Alfonso Bedoya - September 15, 2011 Reply

You don’t know that.

squigs - September 15, 2011 Reply

The power on it, at that range it was nearly unstoppable. Would have taken a brilliant save to keep it out.

dozer - September 15, 2011 Reply

Yep, Lindegaard looks more assured as a player. Perhaps it’s better if De Gea’s slowly groomed as a keeper, Lindegaard is more experience and should perhaps play the big games – at the moment.

Of course, it’s too early to say. I think Fergie will give De Gea oppurtunities till Jan. If he doesn’t convince Fergie then I’d expect Fergie to give Lindegaard the no.1 position and blend De Gea in slowly for the no. 1 spot. I don’t see him getting the big games post January unless he performs like a prodigy between now and December.

captainhormone - September 15, 2011 Reply

ffs….experience where??? Norways top league or La Liga

FFs

You cunts really do piss me off sometimes…

FFs

Shameful

RobDiablo - September 15, 2011 Reply

Alfonso Bedoya said:
You don’t know that.

You’re right; I don’t know that. I was extrapolating from what I have seen of De Gea since he has come to United. He seems to have a problem getting into position fast enough to react to shots that are kept low. I do not think that De Gea is used to the speed of the Premier League, and, since he did not outperform Lindegard in preseason, I would have expected Sir Alex to ease him into the side. I love his distribution, and he seems to have an excellent temperament – the kind that allows him to shrug of mistakes even as he learns from them, so I fully expect him to come good, but I would have brought him in more slowly.

bill - September 15, 2011 Reply

who cares lindegaard is the more polished performer at this point.

sidney - September 15, 2011 Reply

He’s cool, weird, funny

He said the game yesterday was “amusing”

Alfonso Bedoya - September 15, 2011 Reply

captainhormone said:
ffs….experience where??? Norways top league or La Liga

FFs

You cunts really do piss me off sometimes…

FFs

Shameful

Too right…

De Gea has a couple dodgy moments, in his first two games, for a new club, in a new league… and some have labelled him high risk… where as Lindegaard has one good outing, and he’s the business.

Just fuckin relax… De Gea is going to be Uniteds #1 for the next 10/15 years… he’s playing behind a fantastic defence that’s going to grow right along with him… and I’ve seen enough in the few games he’s played to actually get well excited about his use of the ball… we’ve got a keeper that’s going to rack up a few assists… awesome.

Alfonso Bedoya - September 15, 2011 Reply

RobDiablo said:
You’re right; I don’t know that. I was extrapolating from what I have seen of De Gea since he has come to United. He seems to have a problem getting into position fast enough to react to shots that are kept low. I do not think that De Gea is used to the speed of the Premier League, and, since he did not outperform Lindegard in preseason, I would have expected Sir Alex to ease him into the side. I love his distribution, and he seems to have an excellent temperament – the kind that allows him to shrug of mistakes even as he learns from them, so I fully expect him to come good, but I would have brought him in more slowly.

Nah… get him out there… start as you mean to go on… if he’s going to be “the man”, then treat him that way… we’ve got an excellent, and deep defence… he needs to get to know them, and settle into the job… you don’t want to start dicking him about… fucking with his confidence… making him think that any blunders will cost him his place…

“Badges, to god-damned hell with badges! We have no badges. In fact, we don’t need badges. I don’t have to show you any stinking badges, you god-damned cabrón and ching’ tu madre! Come out from that shit-hole of yours. I have to speak to you.”

sidney - September 15, 2011 Reply

If Lindegaard became United’s official number 1, and did all the press, and had the weight of expectation and responsibility, he too would start making a few mistakes, guaranteed

RobDiablo - September 15, 2011 Reply

sidney said:
If Lindegaard became United’s official number 1, and did all the press, and had the weight of expectation and responsibility, he too would start making a few mistakes, guaranteed

Hell, he was jittery as fuck in the first half against Benfica.

uncleknobheadforfucksake - September 16, 2011 Reply

was that his debut

I can’t remember any games he’s played

what’s kushacks opinion on this

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