Frustrating for United, a tragic night for Valencia
A frustrating night for Manchester United, a forgettable match for their fans, a tragic night for Antonio Valencia and a resolute, disciplined performance from Glasgow Rangers. There’s really very little else that can be said about this scoreless first round Champions League meeting at Old Trafford. Sir Alex Ferguson’s decision to make wholesale changes to his side will come under plenty of scrutiny with the most blatantly obvious fact being that United struggle to unlock such tight defences without the inventiveness of Dimitar Berbatov and clinical distribution of veteran Paul Scholes. For all their near total dominance of possession, United could not create anything of substance with only a handful of long range attempts on target.
But the night was overshadowed by Valencia’s horrific injury following a routine 58th minute challenge which saw him carried off in agony and may see him miss the rest of the season. Rangers defender Kirk Broadfoot slid in on the winger to win the ball but Valencia’s foot looked to get caught under his body resulting in a dislocated fracture. Broadfoot looked visibly shaken as Valencia was replaced by Ryan Giggs but despite six minutes of added time and a wave of pressure as the final whistle approached, United were unable to find that precious goal to break the deadlock.
Manchester United 0 v Glasgow Rangers 0
Sky Sports – Wayne Rooney failed to inspire a much changed Manchester United to victory over Rangers in Group C of the UEFA Champions League as the British rivals drew 0-0 at Old Trafford. The 24 year old returned to Sir Alex Ferguson’s first XI as one of 10 debatable changes to the side which dramatically surrendered a comfortable lead to draw 3-3 at Everton in the Premier League on Saturday.
Rooney had been saved from walking the Goodison Park gauntlet because his manager, who will be questioned about his radical team selection, was concerned about the amount of abuse he would receive in the wake of allegations about his private life. But the England international could not turn on the style in what was a painfully tight stalemate, which owed greatly to the stifling tactics of Rangers and the match was overshadowed by a horrible injury suffered by Antonio Valencia. Full Report
Manchester Evening News – Sir Alex Ferguson took a Champions League gamble and has now been left picking up the pieces for Sunday’s showdown with arch rivals Liverpool. And on a night of double disappointment for the United manager he is also facing up to being without Antonio Valencia for the best part of the season after the winger suffered a sickening injury.
Ferguson controversially made 10 changes to the side that drew 3-3 with Everton last Saturday and was forced to settle for a goalless draw in the Battle of Britain with Rangers. But more damaging was the injury to Valencia who suffered a suspected dislocation and fracture of the ankle in an incident that left players and fans unable to look. Full Report
The Scotsman – Sir Alex Ferguson’s Champions League gamble backfired badly as not even the returning Wayne Rooney could conjure up a Battle of Britain goal against Rangers. In truth, it was less of a battle, more a stout rearguard action on Rangers’ behalf which was fully deserving of a point at Old Trafford, if only for their strict adherence to Walter Smith’s limited game plan.
A bad night for United was made even worse by a serious injury to Antonio Valencia who suffered a broken bone around the ankle that will doubtless rule him out for several months. Let loose again after the maelstrom that has engulfed his private life, Rooney barely got a decent sight of goal let alone come close to finding it. Darron Gibson did threaten with an array of pot shots but a much changed team had run out of ideas long before the six minutes of injury time forced by Valencia’s horrific misfortune. Full Report
Manchester United – Kuszczak, Brown, Ferdinand, Smalling, Fabio (Evans 75), Park (Owen 75), Fletcher, Valencia (Giggs 62), Gibson, Rooney, Hernandez
Glasgow Rangers – McGregor, Broadfoot, Weir, Bougherra, Papac, Whittaker, Davis, McCulloch, Edu, Naismith, Miller (Lafferty 81)
Referee – O. Benquerenca (Portugal)
Did the meeting with Liverpool on Sunday influence Ferguson’s starting line up?