Marseille 0 Manchester U 0
Olympique Marseille 0 Manchester United 0, Velodrome Stadium, UEFA Champions League Last Sixteen First Leg, February 23, 2011. Manchester United gained an important draw against French Champions Olympique Marseille. The goalless game in Marseille didn’t comprise much excitement, though, as The Phocaeans as well as United struggled to create any noteworthy goal scoring opportunities against solid defensive performances on both sides.
Manchester United had the better of the first half and Darren Fletcher got a decent opportunity on eight minutes, but his low effort was saved by Steve Mandanda. There was drama at the Theatre of Drums just four minutes after the half time break, however, when United defender Nemanja Vidic received a deliberate elbow to the face after challenging for a ball with Marseille forward Brandao on the edge of the away penalty area. Apparently believing in survival of the fittest, German referee Felix Brych decided to take no action at all against the Brazilian who more or less surreptitiously used violence to meet his ends. Although The Olympians grew into the match in the second half, the home side found themselves unable to break down the rock steady Manchester United defence. Dimitar Berbatov almost managed to thread the ball through to Portuguese international Luis Nani with just ten minutes left on the clock, but Mandanda beat the winger by inches. Despite the somewhat hostile atmosphere at the noisy Stade Velodrome, United efficiently managed to subdue the boisterous Marseilles supporters, taking a valuable draw back to Manchester. Sir Alex Ferguson eventually replaced Northern Ireland international Darron Gibson with Paul Scholes in the 72nd minute, but the midfielder didn´t have enough time to make any significant impact. Marseille Team: Steve Mandanda, Souleymane Diawara, Rod Fanni, Stephane M’bia, Gabriel Heinze, Edouard Cisse, Lucho Gonzalez, Charles Kabore, Ayew, Brandao, Loic Remy. Substitutes: Elinton, Hilton, Taye Taiwo, Fabrice Abriel, Benoit Cheyrou, Mathieu Valbuena, Jordan Ayew. Manchester United Team: Edwin van der Sar, John O’Shea, Chris Smalling, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra, Michael Carrick, Darren Fletcher, Darron Gibson, Nani, Dimitar Berbatov, Wayne Rooney. Substitutes: Tomasz Kuszczak, Rafael, Wes Brown, Fabio, Paul Scholes, Gabriel Obertan, Chicharito.