Manchester Utd 0 Rangers 0

Darren Fletcher

Man­chester Uni­ted 0 Glas­gow Ran­gers 0, Old Traf­ford, UEFA Cham­pi­ons Lea­gue Group Sta­ge, Sep­tember 14, 2010. Man­chester Uni­ted were held to a goal­less draw by reign­ing Scot­tish Pre­mier Lea­gue Cham­pi­ons Ran­gers in the open­ing ro­und of the Cham­pi­ons Lea­gue Group Sta­ge ga­mes. But if any­thing, the res­ult rep­res­en­ted suc­cess for The Gers who showed dis­cip­line, or­gan­isa­tion, and struc­ture.

Barclays Pre­mier Lea­gue run­ners-up Man­chester Uni­ted star­ted their 2010-11 UEFA Cham­pi­ons Lea­gue cam­paign wi­th a fix­ture ag­ainst Scot­tish gi­ants Glas­gow Ran­gers at Old Traf­ford. Evid­ently, The Reds were well aware of the fact they had be­en kicked out by Ger­man Bundes­liga club Bay­ern Mu­nich at the last eight sta­ge the pre­vi­ous sea­son, fail­ing to ad­vance to the semi-fi­nals of the com­pet­i­tion for the fir­st time since the 2005-06 cam­paign. Sir Al­ex Fer­guson had made as many as ten changes from the Man­chester Uni­ted te­am which had be­en held to a high scor­ing 3-3 Pre­mier Lea­gue draw by Ever­ton at Good­ison Park three days earli­er. On­ly Scot­land in­ter­na­tion­al mid­fielder Dar­ren Fletch­er re­tained his place as Way­ne Roo­ney made his re­turn to the Old Traf­ford te­am, along wi­th Rio Fer­dinand, who had be­en out in­jured since the start of the 2010 Wor­ld Cup. Ferguson´s Man­chester Uni­ted play­ers were in ex­cel­lent form com­ing in­to this Cham­pi­ons Lea­gue meet­ing, un­beaten in their last five mat­ches, whi­le Wal­ter Smith´s Ran­gers te­am had won each of their pre­vi­ous five ga­mes. And al­though the Scot­tish Pre­mier Lea­gue club were un­der­dogs, they were look­ing for­ward to fa­cing the most suc­cess­ful club in Bri­tain for the fir­st time since the 4th of Nov­ember 2003.

Three time Euro­pean Cup Win­ners Man­chester Uni­ted dom­in­ated pro­ceed­ings from the very be­gin­ning to the very end, but the hosts failed to break down a per­sist­ent Ibrox si­de who packed the middle of the park wi­th a five man de­fence and a four man mid­field. The fir­st ha­lf of the tie turned out to be a rather bor­ing af­fair, wi­th bo­th te­ams gift­ing the oth­er pos­ses­sion and goal scor­ing op­por­tun­it­ies were few and far be­tween. And even tho­ugh Man­chester Uni­ted dom­in­ated the pos­ses­sion of the ball and stormed for­ward from the re­start, it took The Reds 70 min­utes to win a cor­ner. Even Rooney’s re­turn failed to in­spire Uni­ted as they were frus­trated by the ul­tra de­fens­ive Ran­gers si­de. Fletch­er fou­nd an open­ing in the 80th min­ute of the clash, but was tackled by a Ran­gers de­fender in the last min­ute. And des­pite six min­utes of ad­ded time, the des­per­ate ho­me si­de were un­able to find a goal, and they were held to a goal­less draw. To make mat­ters worse for Man­chester Uni­ted, a ser­i­ous leg in­jury for Ecuadori­an in­ter­na­tion­al An­tonio Va­lencia ad­ded to the cost of the res­ult. Man­chester Uni­ted Te­am: To­masz Kusz­czak, Wes­ley Bro­wn, Chris Smalling, Rio Fer­dinand, Fa­bio da Silva, An­tonio Va­lencia, Dar­ren Fletch­er, Dar­ron Gib­son, Ji-Sung Park, Javi­er Her­nandez, Way­ne Roo­ney. Sub­stitutes: Jon­athan Evans, John O’Shea, Oli­veira An­der­son, Ry­an Gig­gs, Fe­d­erico Ma­cheda, Mi­chael Owen, Ed­win van der Sar. Glas­gow Ran­gers Te­am: Al­lan Mc­Gregor, Kirk Broad­foot, Sasa Papac, Da­vid Weir, Madjid Bougherra, Ste­ven Whit­taker, Ste­ven Dav­is, Mau­rice Edu, Lee Mc­Culloch, Ste­ven Na­i­s­mith, Ken­ny Miller. Sub­stitutes: Kyle Hut­ton, Ricky Fo­ster, Vladi­mir Weiss, Ja­mes Beat­tie, Kyle Laf­ferty, Andy Little, Neil Al­ex­an­der.

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