Giggs saves sluggish United

2011-09-14 23:15

Lisbon - Manchester United were indebted to a superb Ryan Giggs goal as they drew 1-1 with Benfica on Wednesday despite a below-par performance in their Champions League Group C opener.

Giggs, 37, sent a rocket into the top corner three minutes before half-time to cancel out Oscar Cardozo's 24th-minute opener for a Benfica side who seemed intent on puncturing their opponents' early-season momentum.

At Lisbon's iconic Estadio da Luz, United looked a shadow of the side that have soared to the top of the Premier League with 18 goals in their first four games.

It was only thanks to Giggs and some fine goalkeeping from competition debutant Anders Lindegaard that Sir Alex Ferguson's decision to rest a string of players did not backfire.

In all Ferguson made eight changes to the side that beat Bolton 5-0 on Saturday, in a nod to Sunday's visit of Chelsea.

Patrice Evra, Jonny Evans and Wayne Rooney were the only men to keep their places.

Mindful, perhaps, of United's pedigree, Benfica were initially content to concede the initiative but uncertainty in the visitors' play allowed Jorge Jesus' men to assert themselves.

Cardozo registered Benfica's first shot on target with a low effort that Lindegaard claimed comfortably but the Paraguayan was less merciful in the 24th minute.

Collecting a high pass from the enterprising Nicolas Gaitan on his chest, he turned Evans adroitly before clipping an accomplished finish inside Lindegaard's right-hand post.

It was the first away goal United had conceded in the competition since their quarter-final loss to Bayern Munich in the 2009-10 tournament.

United's only effort of note had been a shot from a tight angle that Antonio Valencia blazed over the bar, but from nowhere Giggs rolled back the years to produce a stunning equaliser that silenced the home fans.

After picking up possession on the right-hand side, the Welshman spied a pocket of space on the edge of the box that he surged into before arrowing a fine drive into the top-right corner.

Giggs' goal, from United's first shot on target, broke his own record for the tournament's oldest goalscorer and means he has now scored in more Champions League campaigns - 16 - than any player in history.

His intervention could not disguise United's problems, however, and Benfica continued to look dangerous in the second half.

Pablo Aimar fizzed a low effort narrowly wide and although Giggs drew a save from Artur after wriggling into the area, Lindegaard then had to produce a brilliant stop to palm away a side-footed effort from substitute Nolito.

When Emerson advanced from left-back and toed a shot across goal, Ferguson decided he had seen enough and sent on Nani and Javier Hernandez in place of Darren Fletcher and Valencia.

There was no stemming the red Benfica tide though and after Lindegaard had pushed away a curler from Gaitan, Phil Jones was sent on to add muscle to the creaking away defence.

A late let-off for United saw Nolito find the side netting from close range with three minutes left and Ferguson will ultimately have been thankful that his side's most challenging fixture of the group phase did not prove more costly.

Champions League results on Wednesday:

Group A

At Manchester, England

Manchester City (ENG) 1 (Kolarov 74) Napoli (ITA) 1 (Cavani 68)

At Villarreal, Spain

Villarreal (ESP) 0 Bayern Munich (GER) 2 (Kroos 6, Rafinha 75)

Group B

At Lille, France

Lille (FRA) 2 (Sow 44, Pedretti 56) CSKA Moscow (RUS) 2 (Doumbia 72, 90)

At Milan, Italy

Inter Milan (ITA) 0 Trabzonspor (TUR) 1 (Celustka 75)

Group C

At Basel, Switzerland

Basel (SUI) 2 (Frei 39, 84-pen) Otelul Galati (ROM) 1 (Pena 58)

At Lisbon

Benfica (POR) 1 (Cardozo 23) Manchester United (ENG) 1 (Giggs 41)

Group D

At Zagreb

Dinamo Zagreb (CRO) 0 Real Madrid (ESP) 1 (Di Maria 52)

At Amsterdam

Ajax (NED) 0 Lyon (FRA) 0

Results on Tuesday

Group E

At London

Chelsea (ENG) 2 (Luiz 66, Mata 90+2) Bayer Leverkusen (GER) 0

At Genk, Belgium

Genk (BEL) 0 Valencia (ESP) 0

Group F

At Athens

Olympiakos (GRE) 0 Marseille (FRA) 1 (Lucho 50)

At Dortmund, Germany

Borussia Dortmund (GER) 1 (Perisic 88) Arsenal (ENG) 1 (Van Persie 42)

Group G

At Oporto, Portugal

Porto (POR) 2 (Hulk 28, Kleber 51) Shakthar Donetsk (UKR) 1 (Luiz Adriano 12)

At Nicosia

Apoel Nicosia (CYP) 2 (Manduca 73, Ailton 75) Zenit St-Petersburg (RUS) 1 (Zyryanov 63)

Group H

At Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona (ESP) 2 (Pedro 35, Villa 49) AC Milan (ITA) 2 (Pato 1, Silva 90+2)

At Pilsen, Czech Republic

Plzen (CZE) 1 (Bakos 45+1) Bate Borisov (BLR) 1 (Bressan 69)


  • Samurai Demo - 2011-09-15 00:15

    what do 3-pin plugs and man united have in common? . . . theyr both useless in europe. imagine what real and barca are gonna do to them! i think rooney lost 1 of his pin plugs . . eh hair plugs.

      A(N)ON - 2011-09-15 10:04

      Balrog that joke has been floating around longer than the average age of the Chelski squad - a bit shorter than their manager though. Which team do you support again?

      Harold - 2011-09-15 10:10

      United drew, Barca drew as well. And you find a stick to beat United with. Grow up and ensure that your thoughts actually pass through your brain before you comment. And Bob, why don't you pray for your club to actully win something instead of wishing for the demise of United? But then again I guess both are tall orders for even the Almighty.

  • Rezo - 2011-09-15 03:06

    Giggs is a best.

  • Deon - 2011-09-15 06:17

    Useless in Europe. 3 finals in 4 years.

  • dragNdrop - 2011-09-15 08:00

    Man U should have lost. They were lucky... Great performance by Benfica...

      Bob - 2011-09-15 08:02

      Yep defo outplayed, but as usual the scum manage to get something out of the game, I keep praying they will run out of luck but it just never seems to happen.

      AjAxxxx - 2011-09-15 08:43

      i loved the two hand balls and one shocking challenge, all on the edge of the box, non given. and Maxi is a specialist free-kick taker from that range. o well. lucky draw. and people say it is because of an understrength midfield, but, who are they playing in the midfield instead? Anderson is one person, but you cannot start him ALL the time? Young, nani, valencia, giggs- all wingers. going to be a very, very interesting season.

  • A(N)ON - 2011-09-15 10:00

    Ha ha ha guys its amazing how you useless idiots are quick to pounce on a sub standard United performance - yes a 1-1 CL away draw may be considered a good result by many but still sub standard by United. Anyways enough of the sarcasm, Fergie obviously had the Sunday fixture against Chelski in mind when he chose his squad and starting line-up for last night's game - giving the likes of Valencia, Fletcher, Fabio a run in after the spells in the side-line. Fergie understands the pressures of congested fixtures and the need for squad rotation so expect to see a different performance to that of last night on Sunday and for the return fisture against Benfica at OT. Don't get too optimistic boys - Fergie has a plan and his plan worked out last night.

      AjAxxxx - 2011-09-15 10:18

      yes it worked out, because he was lucky.

      Bob - 2011-09-15 10:38

      AjAxxxx, well noted my friend, you are one of the few knowledgable football supporters on these blogs, another is True red and of course myself, the rest clueless. Harold I am praying for my club to win something, of course my favourite pass time is slagging off the manure and their supporters, my secretary hasn't had a wage increase for 7 years, why ? because she supports the manure, there are prices to pay in this World for your beliefs.

      Man U - 2011-09-15 12:59

      Bob: Hey Bob, why not comment on Liverpools win in Europe last night? Oh, yes, that's right...Your Loserpool team did not play last night or on Tuesday night! Hope you enjoyed our 1-1 draw last night!

      Man U - 2011-09-15 13:04

      Ajax: We can go on about every game in terms of luck for every team. Lucky the ball did not go in, lucky the keeper saved it, lucky the ref missed it, Lucky this guy did not play, lucky he palyed. WTF!!!luck, luck,luck! What are you on about?

      Man U - 2011-09-15 13:09

      Bob: Talk about knowledgeable supporters? You and Ajax have the intelligence of a door knob!

      Harold - 2011-09-15 13:14

      @Bob : YNWA - You'll Never Win Anything! Your secretary hasn't had an increase in 7 years because of all the time you spend slagging United. Oh and one more point, United recieved the most TV revenue of all the CL league teams last season because scum like you and Balrog Demon still prefer to watch United's matches even though you hate United. Thanks guys.

      Bob - 2011-09-15 14:22

      Harold I might be all those awful things you say about me but I promise you I swear I do not watch Utd matches, except of course when they play the mighty Liverpool, did you see there was a poll conducted on the greatest ever Manchester Utd player, I thought it would have been one of the guys from the 60s or 70s, my vote would have been Georgie Best but no, by a considerable margin it was non other than Howard Webb, true, I will send you the link.

      Albo - 2011-09-16 08:26

      @Harold - "You'll Never Win Anything" - hahahaha, classic!! @Bob, same old, same old comments - first luck, then the ref, then endless raving about Loserfool 100 years ago. Do you and Ajaxxx just copy and paste your comments week after week??

  • Taurus 11 - 2011-09-15 10:54

    To all you ABU's out there to qoute an old S aA golfer "The more I practice the luckier I get" Benfica at home is always a difficult game. Balrog You want to throw out comments Lets give you some Liverpool The best thing to come out of Liverpool is the road to Manchester and the best people are the Beatles and half of them are dead Chelsea The best thing about Chelsea are the buns Arsenal Their new phone number 08282828282 and their new SA sponsor 8ta Bob scum as you call them have won the Premier league how many more times than the team? that you support? just remember that Liverpool has NEVER won the Premiership. Just for all the idiots ABU = Anybody But United

      AjAxxxx - 2011-09-15 11:47

      well, not defending liverpool, but they are twice as successfull as you in europe, which, according to SAF, is the most important thing. now, considering your comment: not very funny, very unoriginal, using all the stuff we've heard over and over. Just plainly bad. But in a way its acceptable, dit not expect much else from a tunnelvision gloryhunter manchester united suppoter. IPH THE BALLS GOES IN THE GHOALBOKS WE WIN

      Man U - 2011-09-15 13:22

      Ajax: I'm not a Forest supporter but Nottingham Forest are twice as successfull as Chelsea are in Europe! In fact Aston Villa are more successful that Chelsea as well! Just saying!

      Taurus 11 - 2011-09-15 13:23

      Ajaxxx What's with the name? I know of a dishwashing liquid with the same name. You are quite right we are glory hunters unlike your team that hunts for a win in a far as tunnelvision is concerned you must be looking in a mirror though your own tunnel because when a side plays well i will admit it just as Benfica played very well last night and if anybody had read Fergie's comments early in the week they would have read that he said that Benfica is always a very difficult team to beat at their stadium. As far as the comments are concerned those teams must have the comments repeated to them because only through repetition do they understand. Oh I can see why your team cannot win WTF is GHOALBOKS. I can tell you when the ball kicked by the attacking side into the opponents goal is NOT a goal, can you tell me?

      AjAxxxx - 2011-09-15 14:49


  • Christy - 2011-09-15 12:05

    Some Looooooossssserpool fans are just so sad. They hope on king kenny and already have a 1-0 lost. Instead of concentrating on your useless team you take hits at United. Loserpool, you've been walking alone for a very long time now..... United forever, Loserpool,Chelsea,Arsenal,City and the rest of the premier league, Stand Up for the Champions....

      Bob - 2011-09-15 13:30

      A 1-0 lost have we, you sound like you have the brains of a manure supporter, just a minute you ARE a manure supporter, sorry that explains it, I will try and help you, already lost 1-0 sound's better don't you think, sorry i have to take hits at the manure, like all good Liverpool supporters we hate the manure their drunken manager and clueless supporters, enjoy your day in the sun the mighty Liverpool are back and looking to top up their already bulging trophy cabinet, you should go to Anfield if you want to see the home of the European Cup, you see you get to keep it after winning it 5 yes 5 times.

      Taurus 11 - 2011-09-15 14:53

      At Bob The last time liverpool opened their trophy cabinet they made so much dust aircraft were grounded for days and Liverpool blamed the volcano in Iceland. Why is it thatLiverpool could not be original with their "theme" song had to pinch it from Gerry and The Pacemakers. Oh wait thats what ther are telling every body DO NOT TAKE THE TITLE "Ferry Cross the Mersey" cuase that is what they are actaully telling the world TAKE THE FERRY CROS THE MERSEY TO EVERTON I will never call Liverpool manure I will NEVER INSULT manure Tell me BOB if we a clueless answer my previous question and this one How many Laws and rules are there in football

      Bob - 2011-09-15 16:41

      Taurus have you been drinking, I hope so for your sake, how many rules are there in football and how many rules WTF are you talking about, and all that drivvel about the mersey.

      Taurus 11 - 2011-09-16 12:02

      @ Bob I was under the impression that you are knowledgable about football but I am wrong. Also the Mersey happens to be the river that seperates Everton FC from Liverpool FC. Another question . How many times has Liverpool won the English Premiership? Oh bye the way The European cup does not exist anymore.

      Bob - 2011-09-16 13:45

      Taurus, changing the name of a competition doesn't change the competition, Liverpool have won the top league in England 18 times for your information and the top cup in Europe 5 times, thats 1 less league win than the scum and 2 more cup wins than the scum, is that clear enough for you.

      Man U - 2011-09-16 14:54

      Bob: Loserpool won the European cup when a total of 9 games were played back then! It took them 9 games to win a European competition compared to these days where 13 games is needed to win. Don't get too excited!

      Albo - 2011-09-16 14:54

      @Bob - and I remember when Chappies were sold for 1c a piece

  • AjAxxxx - 2011-09-15 14:54

    I reckon the biggest problem with united supporters nowadays is the fact that they win so much. Because you only win, you do not take the time to analyze the game for what it is. You just take the victory. When you do not win all the time, you actually try and evaluate what went wrong, which increases your knowledge about football so much more than winning. The beauty of football is in winning AND losing. And that is the reason why most United supporters arnt as knowledgeable about football than most other supporters, because they do not understand the game. As simple as that.

      Man U - 2011-09-15 15:56

      The problem with Man Utd haters is the fact that they irritate us so much that when we win, we rub it in your pathetic noses for days, weeks and months to come! Shame Ajax, we still smarting from the thumping we handed to your overpaid, overage team last season! Oh, and this was done by our topies! Can you and the whole 5 Chelsea supporters that exist in the world please come back when you have something to show! Oh, another thing! Just to show how knowledgeable I am, our youth team also whipped you in the FA Youth Cup! Again, your Chelsea team is full of topies this season and no one coming through your academy. Future looks really bright for Chelsea. In fact, while we on the topic of future, as we get closer to the WC in Russia, your beloved Roman will surely be pulling the plug in London to start “investing” properly!

      AjAxxxx - 2011-09-16 07:57

      Firstly: We can go tit for tat on thumpings my mate. 2 seasons ago we beat u home and away to win the double. Last season is was your turn (but u didnt win the double). As for Chelsea's record against united in the last 15 years, google it, im too lazy to post it here. There's nothing between the teams. So shut up on that point please. As for our youth team, tit for tat again, we won it in 2010. So shut up on that point. As for our youngers: we've got about 6 players on loan at different clubs, as well as 3 players that came through the youth squad in our senior squad. So, shup up on that point as well. You clearly do not know alot. But i know your kind, the Joburg guy with a bright coloured wifebeater and a new york yankees cap on backwards, watching football and smoking weed with your idiot friends. I wont take the time to reply to u again if you post such crap like this again. cool .

      AjAxxxx - 2011-09-16 08:38

      And dont get me wrong, I do not hate Man U. I hate some of the narrow minded supporters.

      Taurus 11 - 2011-09-16 11:32

      Hi Dishwahing Liquid or Ajax for short. Tell me how many International caps do the Chelsea players aged under 25 have. United have 16 yes 16 of which at least 5 are U 21 internationals and 8 members of the first team squad have come from the youth squad and United have 6 out on loan The record of games played between Man Utd and Chelsea is as follows Played 157 Man Utd won 67 Chelsea won 43 drawn 47 A difference of 24 is sure as hell not nothing. Sorry for you but ManUtd Youth beat Chelsea Youth 6-3 on agg in the semi final nad then went onto win the cup by beating Sheffield Utd in the final 23 May 2011. So much for your knowledge but there again too lazy same as the chelsea first team

      AjAxxxx - 2011-09-16 12:57

      Must have taken you long to google all of that. Thanx for the effort!

      Man U - 2011-09-16 13:10

      Ajax: Clearly by the drivel you posted you obnoxious Moron! You are one retarded Chelsea supporter, one that is all of a sudden a Chelsea supporter i might add! Unless you know what you talking about, let the men and women comment on football posts and laaties like you, should continue experimenting with weed etc... You knob shine! Tit for Tat my A$$!

      AjAxxxx - 2011-09-16 13:42

      Typical United fan. Coming back with insults rather than facts.

      Man U - 2011-09-16 13:52

      Ajax: You read incorrectly! My response to you was in fact a FACT!

      AjAxxxx - 2011-09-16 16:16

      is that supposed to be funny or clever?

      Man U - 2011-09-19 07:52

      Ajax: What were you saying again? Pick a finger knobby!

  • pages:
  • 1