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Offline kariballa

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Re: MAN UTD OFFICIAL NEWS>
« Reply #30 on: October 17, 2003, 12:26:41 AM »
Manchester United midfielder Eric Djemba-Djemba has admitted he is struggling to adapt to the rigours of The Premiership, following his arrival from Nantes in the summer.  
The 22-year-old has so far failed to establish himself at Old Trafford and admitted The Premiership is a lot more difficult than Le Championnat.

"Everything is more difficult here," Djemba-Djemba told German magazine Kicker.

 "It is faster and harder and the level of aggression is also a lot higher."

The Cameroon international also admitted that United underestimated Stuttgart in their recent Champions League meeting.

The Premiership champions slumped to a surprise 2-1 defeat to Stuttgart at the Gottlieb-Daimler Stadium earlier this month and Cameroon ace Djemba-Djemba conceded United may not have taken the German side seriously.

"Stuttgart are a strong team, you can see that from the Bundesliga table," Djemba-Djemba added. "Perhaps they surprised us because we were too self assured.

"We were punished because of that."
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Re: MAN UTD OFFICIAL NEWS>
« Reply #31 on: October 18, 2003, 12:58:45 AM »
BOUCHET HOPING FOR FFF BACKING
Friday 17th October 2003

By Patrick Haond
Fabien Barthez is due to arrive in France to complete the formalities of his loan move to Marseille, according to reports emanating from his homeland.
Although Manchester United are adamant the deal is not yet concluded, the French goalkeeper is expected in the South of France over the weekend awaiting Fifa to agree the deal so he can play for his former side before January.

French rules state a club are allowed to add another keeper to their ranks from the domestic league if one already on their books is ruled out injured for a period of more than three months, which is the case for Alain Perrin who has lost number two custodian Cedric Carrasso for the season with injury.

The problems arise of course with Barthez plying his trade in England, although he is well down Sir Alex Ferguson's pecking order.

Stade Velodrome chairman Christophe Bouchet has already stated that Barthez will stay at Old Trafford if Fifa do not give their consent to the deal but says he is hoping for support from the French Football Federation in their bid.

"Frederic Thiriez (League chairman) and Claude Simonet (Federation chairman) told me about their interest to see Fabien Barthez rejoin L'OM.

"Moreover, our trouble with keepers happened after Carrasso got injured during a charity match against the French World Cup winning team of France '98 for the flood victims.

"So we believe the Federation will support us against Fifa."

Bouchet added the club would be able to afford Barthez's wages without involving majority shareholder Robert Louis-Dreyfus.
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Re: MAN UTD OFFICIAL NEWS>
« Reply #32 on: October 18, 2003, 01:00:40 AM »
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed that he has given Fabien Barthez permission to talk to Marseille about a loan move.
Barthez has found himself out of favour at Old Trafford this season with Tim Howard established as number one and Roy Carroll his back-up.

Ferguson has given Barthez the go ahead to seek first team football elsewhere and expects a loan deal until the end of the season to be sorted soon.

"He's going to speak to Marseille," said Ferguson. "They approached us a couple of days ago and there are one or two things to be ironed out.

"The reason I'm happy to let the move go through is that it leaves me with two experienced keepers (Howard and Carroll)."

Ferguson accepts Barthez needs first team football and he paid tribute to the Frenchman.

"In fairness to Fabien the longer he's going to be here without getting a game there is going to be a problem for him," added Ferguson.

"He's a terrific goalkeeper, one of the best in the world, but just by opportunity Tim Howard has taken the number one jersey.

"Roy Carroll has done nothing wrong either so I'm being fair to everyone."

Marseille, who are looking for Barthez to provide cover for the injured Cedric Carrasso, will need to have the move ratified by Fifa as it is outside the transfer window.
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Re: MAN UTD OFFICIAL NEWS>
« Reply #33 on: October 18, 2003, 01:01:56 AM »
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed that he has given Fabien Barthez permission to talk to Marseille about a loan move.
Barthez has found himself out of favour at Old Trafford this season with Tim Howard established as number one and Roy Carroll his back-up.

Ferguson has given Barthez the go ahead to seek first team football elsewhere and expects a loan deal until the end of the season to be sorted soon.

"He's going to speak to Marseille," said Ferguson. "They approached us a couple of days ago and there are one or two things to be ironed out.

"The reason I'm happy to let the move go through is that it leaves me with two experienced keepers (Howard and Carroll)."

Ferguson accepts Barthez needs first team football and he paid tribute to the Frenchman.

"In fairness to Fabien the longer he's going to be here without getting a game there is going to be a problem for him," added Ferguson.

"He's a terrific goalkeeper, one of the best in the world, but just by opportunity Tim Howard has taken the number one jersey.

"Roy Carroll has done nothing wrong either so I'm being fair to everyone."

Marseille, who are looking for Barthez to provide cover for the injured Cedric Carrasso, will need to have the move ratified by Fifa as it is outside the transfer window.
Ferguson also revealed he is going to limit Cristiano Ronaldo's amount of first team action this season to prevent him from suffering burnout.

"He needs a rest," said Ferguson.

"We won't be using him as much as some people might think in the next few months. He probably won't like being left out, but it will be for his own good in the long run."
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Re: MAN UTD OFFICIAL NEWS>
« Reply #34 on: October 19, 2003, 01:01:27 AM »
Fabien Barthez has admitted he in a hurry to seal his loan move to Marseille.
The Manchester United goalkeeper is currently holding talks with Marseille about a loan deal until the end of the season after falling out-of-favour at Old Trafford.

Barthez is keen to be playing first team football with the European Championships coming up next summer and he is hopeful that the deal will be pushed through.

"From the moment I knew negotiations had started between Manchester and Marseille I was in a hurry to come back here," Barthez told the club's official website.

"It's a loan, when the contract is signed, for nine months and after that we will see what the future holds. Ever since l'OM's second goalkeeper was injured this solution has seemed a good opportunity for everyone."

Marseille fans voiced their support for current number one goalkeeper Vedran Runje in Friday's defeat to Strasbourg, but the Croatian accepts he will be number two to Barthez.

"It is clear that under these conditions I am the number two," said Runje "It's up to me to win back my place as I didn't come here to sit on the bench.

"I have had some offers but leaving would not be my first choice. I will fight, Fabien will have to prove he is the best.

"We have just let in four goals which makes my bosses right. Perhaps they ought to change goalkeepers."

Barthez feels there should be no problems between him and Runje.

"There are two keepers, therefore there is competition," he added. "But the press shouldn't try and stir things up between us."

Meanwhile, l'OM chairman Christophe Bouchet admitted that if Fifa do not allow them to complete the move they will pull out of the deal.

The French outfit need permission from Fifa to allow Barthez to change clubs outside the transfer window.

"I really don't know when Fabien will be able to play with l'OM. If it is not in January it is a major trouble. But I am confident," said Bouchet.

"Fifa has no reason to be opposed. However if it is not possible to make him start before January, it will be over, Barthez won't come to l'OM.

"It is logical Runje is hurt. But whatever will happen, he is the l'OM keeper. Then, it will be up to the coach Alain Perrin to manage the situation."
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Re: MAN UTD OFFICIAL NEWS>
« Reply #35 on: October 19, 2003, 01:02:11 AM »
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has praised the performance put in by Rio Ferdinand at Elland Road on Saturday.
Ferdinand has been in the media spotlight for the wrong reasons in the last fortnight after missing a routine drugs test.

He has still to learn his fate from The FA, so the last thing he would probably have wanted would have been a visit to former club Leeds United.

Ferguson maintained throughout the week that the defender could handle the occasion and his faith was vindicated as Ferdinand produced an assured display to help his side secure a clean sheet en-route to a 1-0 win at Elland Road.

"He was fantastic," said the Scot. "Without question I cannot think of any other centre back who could have produced such a performance under those circumstances.

"The fans tried to get to him but his performance throughout the game silenced them."

The Red Devils were not at their best during the lunchtime showdown, but Ferguson still felt the three points were deserved.

"We had the quality," added Ferguson. "But it was a frustrating day for us. That was down to Leeds who were good tactically. The lad Smith dropped into midfield and made it difficult.

"You could say Leeds deserved more, but we had the most of the game and it would be hard to say we did not deserve to win.

"It was a long day and at the end of the season I feel we will look back on this as a key result."

Red Devils starlets Cristiano Ronaldo and Darren Fletcher struggled to stamp their quality on the game, but Ferguson believes it is all a learning process for the teenagers.

"They are young, one's 18 and the other 19, and they have fabulous quality."

Ronaldo was booked for diving by referee Graham Poll and tumbled theatrically on a couple of other occasions, but Ferguson was reserved when asked to comment on the incidents.

"I have not seen them," said the Scot. "The referee said he could not see the first one and I think I would have to see them again."

Ryan Giggs missed the game through illness, but Ferguson expects him to be fit for the Champions League clash with Rangers.

"He took sick during the night but hopefully he should be fit for Wednesday," Ferguson concluded
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Re: MAN UTD OFFICIAL NEWS>
« Reply #36 on: October 19, 2003, 01:04:27 AM »
Manchester United captain Roy Keane stole three points to take the champions to the top of the table as Leeds United's problems continued at Elland Road.

In truth, it was a flat, disappointing encounter which failed to spark into life with both sides looking below par and seemingly unable to find any passing rhythm.

Leeds made a bright opening, but there was early controversy when Cristiano Ronaldo tumbled under a challenge from Gary Kelly when clean through. Referee Graham Poll failed to make a decision but the Portuguese winger was later cautioned for diving following another brush with Kelly.

Keane, Paul Scholes and Ruud van Nistelrooy all produced tentative efforts for the visitors, but there was little evidence of the sort of play that swept Sir Alex Ferguson's men to the title last term.

However, Leeds offered little threat too - Jermaine Pennant screwing one far post attempt off target, and it was left to van Nistelrooy to waste the best opening of the first half when misdirecting Ronaldo's inviting free kick wide when a goal seemed inevitable.

Scholes, largely subdued, did force a good stop out of Paul Robinson after a one-two with van Nistelrooy at the start of the second period, and Keane headed wide from a Ronaldo free kick as The Red Devils continued to ask more questions of the home defence.

Pennant, in the last game of his loan from Arsenal, did waste one promising opportunity after fine work by the impressive Soloman Olembe, but that was about the end of the danger to Tim Howard's goal.

Substitute Diego Forlan blazed over with the goal at his mercy but the deadlock was finally broken when Lamine Sakho was robbed by van Nistelrooy's outstretched boot, and Gary Neville supplied a marvellous centre that Keane gave his nod of approval to at the far post.

With nine minutes left, it always looked like it would be enough for Ferguson's side, but they could have added another goal before the match finished.

Van Nistelrooy's free kick, moved forward after Alan Smith was booked for dissent, was hacked off the line by Olembe, and Scholes somehow contrived to smack another Gary Neville cross against the underside of the bar when it seemed easier to score.  
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Re: MAN UTD OFFICIAL NEWS>
« Reply #37 on: October 21, 2003, 01:25:58 AM »
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has been given a two-match touchline ban and a ?10,000 fine by The Football Association.
The Red Devils chief was charged with misconduct for comments made to fourth offiicial Jeff Winter during United's 2-1 win at Newcastle United in August.

United's non-executive director Maurice Watkins responded to the punishment and admitted Ferguson could appeal.

"It is fair to say that Sir Alex is a little disappointed with the outcome," Watkins told Sky Sports News.

"We are going to reflect on it overnight and decide what we are going to do. It could end here and will only continue if there is an appeal.

"It is never right to make a snap decision after a long day. We will decide overnight.

"It was a cordial meeting, there was no aggravation.

"We had the full opportunity to explain our position. Obviously there was a difference of views. We were left with the verdict as it is."

The FA released a statement confirming the punishment and that Ferguson has 14 days to lodge an appeal.

"At a disciplinary commission hearing today, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was found guilty of improper conduct (breach of FA Rule E1) and abusive and/or insulting language to a match official (breach of FA Rule E2)," read the statement.

"He will be subject to a two-match touchline ban (start date to be confirmed) and was fined ?10,000."
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Re: MAN UTD OFFICIAL NEWS>
« Reply #38 on: October 21, 2003, 01:27:17 AM »
Former Rangers midfielder Giovanni van Bronckhorst has revealed that Dutch international team-mate Ruud van Nistelrooy was scared of the Ibrox atmosphere the last time he played there in the UEFA Champions League.
The Barcelona man, on loan this season from Arsenal, played against the Manchester United striker in 1999, when the Old Firm giants defeated PSV Eindhoven 4-1 in Europe's top club competition that year.

The Dutchman thinks van Nistelrooy found the atmosphere at Ibrox in 1999 to be very intimidating and believes the Scottish Treble holders can disrupt United's rhythm when they face each other on Wednesday.

"It is not made up that players can suffer from an intimidating atmosphere when they play at visiting grounds," said van Bronckhorst.

"I know from Ruud that when we beat PSV at Ibrox in the (UEFA) Champions League, he thought it was very frightening.

"He said it was one of the most atmospheric matches he had ever experienced - and now he has to face it again.

"For him to come back to Ibrox, it will be the same experience.

"I've played in England and I don't think that any stadium in The Premiership can compare with Ibrox for its intimidating atmosphere - it is far above them."

Van Bronckhorst went on to add his concern over the future of fellow countryman Fernando Ricksen.

He believes the bad press the Rangers defender has received recently has put his career on the line - both with The Gers and internationally with Holland.

"Off the pitch, I think that sometimes Fernando is not too smart," added van Bronckhorst.

"(Rangers boss) Alex McLeish only wants his players to play well in their games and then - it is not that he wants them to be quiet - just that you must know you are a professional.

"You know you are living in a glass house and everything you do people will see or, at least, get to know about.

"There have been too many times this and last season when Fernando has been in the newspaper headlines for the wrong reasons
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Re: MAN UTD OFFICIAL NEWS>
« Reply #39 on: October 21, 2003, 01:28:25 AM »
Manchester United defender Gary Neville has praised American import Tim Howard and perhaps, unwittingly, offered a possible explanation as to why Fabien Barthez has been discarded by Sir Alex Ferguson.
Howard kept a clean sheet in the 1-0 win at Leeds United, and has impressed with his confidence and assured manner since arriving at Old Trafford.

The former New York/New Jersey MetroStars keeper has made the number one slot his own, keeping out Roy Carroll and forcing Barthez into a loan move to Marseille, which is still to be officially ratified.

"Tim didn't have too much to do," Neville commented after the Elland Road victory. "He's young and will get better.

"He's agile and, sometimes, goalkeepers can tend to want to be involved, but he's happy to take a back seat, and happy to make a save when called upon.

"He can go long periods without doing anything, especially at Old Trafford, but he's got to be ready when called upon, and he's doing that."

There is a feeling that Barthez, something of a showman, always wants to be involved in the action and was prone to needlessly leaving his penalty area during his early days with United.

The World Cup winner was certainly below par last season in terms of general form, but does tend to be at his best when the centre of attention - something that rarely occurs with The Red Devils, a case in point being the fact that Leeds could not muster a single shot on target in Saturday's Premiership clash.

Meanwhile, United boss Ferguson is attending an FA hearing on Monday after being charged for his verbal volley at fourth official Jeff Winter during his side's triumph at Newcastle United.
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Re: MAN UTD OFFICIAL NEWS>
« Reply #40 on: October 22, 2003, 01:04:22 AM »
Richard Jolly reports

If Arsenal are to qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League, they are leaving it late. It is a dangerous ploy; they left it late in Kiev and almost completed an unlikely comeback to snatch a point.

Instead, Olexander Shovkovsky denied Kanu and Thierry Henry in injury time; his cross bar kept out Kolo Toure and the Premiership leaders are bottom of Group B with two defeats, one draw and no wins.

The lucky Arsenal tag has rarely seemed less apt. On the long journey back to north London from their pointless trip to the Ukraine, unfortunate Arsenal will feel a more fitting nickname.

But the reality is that Arsenal, UEFA Champions League quarter-finalists three years ago, are on the brink of a first-round exit after goals in either half from Maxim Shatskikh and Valentin Belkevich.

For all Dynamo's dynamism on the counter-attack, their two goals owed much to good luck and an individual aberration. Shatskikh, so composed in possession, provided an inadvertant assist for himself. Edu and Gilberto Silva played a part, allowing Jerko Leko to shoot. It looped up off Shatskikh's heel for the gleeful striker to volley in.

Belkevich's strike appeared to epitomise Arsenal's misfortune. They were pushing for an equaliser. A goal appeared inevitable. And when it arrived, it was a personal disaster for Jens Lehmann. First he failed to clear then, given another opportunity outside his box, a miserable attempt to dribble past Shatskikh presented Belkevich with the chance to whip the ball into the unguarded net.

Reward, then, for Kiev's two best players. The wiry Shatskikh relished his role as a lone striker, darting in between Sol Campbell and Toure. Belkevich, his supplier in chief, was granted the freedom to flit from flank to flank.

Shatskikh turned Toure inside out as early as the ninth minute to draw a save from Lehmann. With just three minutes to go, he was inches away from sealing victory with a second. Had Arsenal equalised, Diego Rincon, who blazed over wildly, would have been culpable, but not the excellent Shatskikh.

But they didn't. Arsenal were hardly as poor as their lamentable record now suggests, but nothing less than three wins will suffice for Wenger's Europhobic side now.

At least they have finally scored in Europe, the 32nd and final side to get off the mark in the Champions League. Five hours after their previous goal, Henry - whose status among the world's top strikers makes a mockery of that statistic - tapped in from Robert Pires' deft pass.

The French connection was Arsenal's best chance from the start. The winger, an unlikely target man, headed an early Henry corner against the post. The striker could not find the finish to beat Shovkovsky after a long solo run, while both were involved in a fluent move as Lauren's effort was deflected wide.

And before Lehmann's error, Edu had a header saved, Ashley Cole shot wide and Pires' clever footwork and snapshot almost beat the Ukraine keeper. Afterwards, Shovkovsky blocked a Sylvain Wiltord effort and kept out Kanu and Henry in injury time. But when he spilled a shot, Toure could not convert the rebound. Lehmann was less fortunate.

Newcastle won their last three games last season to reach the last 16 of the Champions League but no other team ever has. Arsenal may need to be lucky again if they are not confined to concentrating on the Premiership soon.
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Re: MAN UTD OFFICIAL NEWS>
« Reply #41 on: October 22, 2003, 01:05:02 AM »
Sir Alex Ferguson says he hopes Alex McLeish takes Rangers through to next phase of the Champions League.

But the Reds boss is first hoping to redress the frailties of United's performance in Stuttgart at the beginning of the month.

Ferguson told Rangers' website: "I hope that Rangers can go through for Alex's sake and it's really important for Scottish football that Rangers progress.

"A lot of people in the Rangers camp were hoping we would win against Stuttgart - so was I!" Fergie said. "You can bet your life that every team has their moment, and that happened in Stuttgart. We put ourselves in that situation and now we have to address the Rangers game with a bit more concentration."

Ferguson has close relationship to Rangers boss Alex McLeish, the two regularly speak on the phone. And although the phone calls stopped a week ago, Alex senior unlikely to advise on the best way to for Alex junior to defeat his next opponent.

But Fergie feels his side may already have taught Rangers their most valuable lesson in making it to the next stage.

"I hope Rangers go through for Alex McLeish's sake, and it's really important for Scottish football that they progress."
Sir Alex Ferguson
 
Speaking of United's performance in the Gottleib-Daimler Stadion three weeks ago, Sir Alex said: "We threw that game away - make no mistake about it. What we found about Stuttgart is that they don't really try to win the game and you have to guard against the counter-attack because of that.

"Rangers will expect a lot of possession over there and I hope they learn from our lesson and keep the back door shut. I hope Rangers can qualify - I know they are capable."

However, the work left to do is all United's. Rangers top Group E, while United sit third behind Stuttgart purely on results against the German side.

The consequences of defeat at Ibrox - more prominent if Stuttgart beat Panthinaikos at home - only add fuel this hyped-up encounter.

But Ferguson isn't one to allow sentiment to cloud the job in hand. He said last week: “The Nevilles, Scholes, Butt and Giggs have seen it before, and I hope the only thing on their minds is that Ibrox is an opportunity to get points towards the target of 10 to qualify for the next round.”

Report by Ben Hibbs
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Re: MAN UTD OFFICIAL NEWS>
« Reply #42 on: October 22, 2003, 01:06:03 AM »
By Patrick Haond
Arsenal attacker Thierry Henry is unhappy with the English tabloid newspapers' response to the fiery clash with Manchester United at Old Trafford.
The Frenchman has let the dust settle on the stormy finale to the goalless draw before directing criticism towards the press coverage of the North Londoners' performance.

"Please talk about the football," he urged. "People forget we were strong at Old Trafford. We played there in a way people didn't expect.

"I am not shocked by the press campaign against us.

"For one or two weeks, people talked, argued, speculated and didn't talk about our matches any more.

"The most terrible thing is people are still talking about those events now. It is excessive."

Henry, who netted the winner in the 2-1 triumph over Chelsea on Saturday, paid tribute to Arsenal's defence this term for helping take The Gunners to the top of the table.

"Last year, people underlined our attacking game," he told L'Equipe. "But we conceded quite a lot of goals too.

"We have adapted.

"Apart from the match against Internazionale, we have never conceded more than one goal per match this season.

"That is what has made the difference."
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Re: MAN UTD OFFICIAL NEWS>
« Reply #43 on: October 23, 2003, 01:27:37 AM »
Sir Alex Ferguson admitted to a sense of "relief and satisfaction" after Manchester United beat Rangers 1-0 in his native Glasgow.

"We viewed it as a difficult game and losing in Stuttgart in the last round put extra pressure on us to get a result, so it is a bit of a relief," he said.

"With their tradition Rangers were never going to give up - a lot of European teams would not have shown the resilience that Rangers did. That's a British spirit thing.

"Winning 1-0 is a very dodgy result, you never know what is going to happen so we are relieved and satisfied. I enjoyed it - I always enjoy coming back to Glasgow and the fans were great to me.

"It was always going to be tough here. It was a great game of football, the atmosphere was terrific, the pitch was great and Rangers gave it everything. Alex will be very pleased with his players."

Ferguson blamed the fact that his side struggled to find their rhythm on the fact that they scored too early - Phil Neville getting the only goal after just five minutes.

"In the first half maybe we scored too early - we found it hard to get a tempo going, but in the second half we did," he added.

"After scoring early we sat back a little bit and didn't make the right choices when counter-attacking."

The winner was only Phil Neville's second goal in Europe and another boost for a player now enjoying the best spell of his United career.

Neville said: "It is the biggest goal I have scored but tonight was all about getting the three points.

"But I think there were more heroes in our team than myself. I thought the two centre-backs and the goalkeeper were fantastic. They stood strong under a lot of pressure."

Neville's goal came when he played a one-two with Ruud van Nistelrooy, then as Rangers' defenders stood off he evaded Fernando Ricksen's challenge before placing the ball into the corner of the net.

He added: "Initially I was looking to play Ryan in but then it opened out, a couple of players came across and I just thought `hit the target'."
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Re: MAN UTD OFFICIAL NEWS>
« Reply #44 on: October 23, 2003, 01:28:19 AM »
A rare goal from Phil Neville after just five minutes earned Manchester United a 1-0 win in the battle of the British champions as Rangers lost for the first time in 16 European games at Ibrox.

It was a scrappy way to settle an enthralling contest as the England midfielder scuffed a low shot past Stefan Klos after Ruud Van Nistelrooy's surge towards the box was crowded out.

Rangers had plenty of chances to grab an equaliser they would just about have deserved, although in terms of composed football United - as might be expected with their European pedigree - just about shaded it.

For almost half an hour after the shock of that early goal (and its scorer), Rangers dominated possession but probed without creating a clear shooting chance.

When it finally arrived, it was wasted by Paolo Vanoli, who pannicked and screwed his shot wide from eight yards out.

Moments later Vanoli again fired wide in a decent position and when Shota Arveladze's dipping drive was well tipped over by Tim Howard, Rangers' period in the ascendancy had been wasted.

An incident at the other end on the stroke of half-time showed how dangerous United can be at any stage.

Giggs' swung in a corner from the right and Mikael Silvestre arrived late and unmarked. His downward header would surely have been a killer blow, but the ball hit Shota Arveladze on the line and bounced clear.

United began the second half strongly and Van Nistelrooy fired wide from a chance he created for himself, then Gary Neville's cross was cut out well by Michael Ball with the Dutchman lurking with his customary intent.

The game suddenly opened up and Rangers began to create chances of their own. Craig Moore's header was cleared off the line  by - who else? - Phil Neville and Peter Lovenkrands' header was well held on his line by Howard.

Substitute Fernando Ricksen was only denied by a well-timed intervention by Rio Ferdinand and Nerlinger almost grabbed an equaliser in stoppage time when he combined well with Arteta on the edge of the box but fired his shot to close too Howard, who saved well one-handed.

Rangers may have gone into the contest hoping merely to be competitive and they certainly were that, but they will also be wondering what might have been.

The good news for the Blue half of Glasgow is that they only have 13 days to wait for a second chance to have a go at United. If thay play like this at Old Trafford - and have a modicum of the luck which deserted them tonight - they could yet pull off a shock.
l'mar'u ma'a man ahabba.

 


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