Created on 26-11-2009 at 00:00 AM
Ivica Olic was never pencilled in to start against Maccabi Haifa. “Thirty minutes, maybe a half” was all Louis van Gaal felt the Croatian might manage, as the striker had been out of action for seven weeks until last Monday. But when Miroslav Klose was forced out of the squad with an elbow injury sustained in pre-match training, Olic stepped in – and ended the evening as the match-winner.
Sixty-two minutes had been played when the former Hamburg man showed a goal poacher’s instinct for being in the right place at the right time. Haifa keeper Nir Davidovitch pushed aside a Mario Gomez shot, with Olic waiting to pounce on the loose ball. “That was great from Mario. I was there and just had to put it in,” said the 30-year-old, overjoyed by his first goal in two months: “I’m thrilled, because it was my first start, I’ve scored, and we’ve won.”