Marseille 0 Manchester U 0

Darren Fletcher

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.


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