Donetsk - Manchester United veteran Ryan Giggs set a Champions League record on
Wednesday but his side had little else to celebrate after a 1-1 draw at
Shakhtar Donetsk in Group A.
When 39-year-old Giggs replaced Marouane Fellaini after 66 minutes at
the raucous Donbass Arena he made his 145th appearance in the
competition, including qualifiers, to overtake Spaniard Raul.
United manager David Moyes was full of praise for the Welshman. "What a
record. What a player," he said, but he will be disappointed with the
result after his side had looked in control of a match they led until
the 76th minute.
United, missing the injured Wayne Rooney but with Robin van Persie back
in attack, went ahead after 18 minutes when Fellaini pulled the ball
back for Danny Welbeck to stab home from close range after defender
Jaroslav Rakitskiy failed to clear.
Shakhtar had plenty of possession but came up against the brick wall of a
United defence until 14 minutes from the end when Rakitskiy made
His forceful run and cross on the left was only half cleared by the
otherwise outstanding Nemanja Vidic and Taison crashed the ball past
David De Gea from close in.
The Ukraine side had strong claims for a penalty waved away in the first
half after Tom Cleverley's challenge caught Alex Teixeira but otherwise
they were toothless.
United missed the strength and forceful running of Rooney who pulled out with a shin injury before the match.
Van Persie had two clear chances but shot wide on both occasions, opportunities he was easily snapping up last season.
The Dutchman was isolated and looked short of match fitness up front as
United thought they had done enough for victory before Taison, one of a
glut of Brazilians in the Shakhtar squad, struck.
The result gives United and Shakhtar four points each at the top of
Group A. Bayer Leverkusen are third with three points after a 2-1 home
win over Real Sociedad.
Moyes, not surprisingly, looked for the positives but also lamented
United's habit of giving the ball away, particularly in the second half
as Shakhtar pressed for an equaliser.
"It is a good point. They have a great record against English teams and
the team stood up well to it. We got a good goal early doors, and I
thought we were going to stop them scoring," Moyes said.
"We said at half time we needed to keep the ball better, but we actually
gave it away more in the second half so I'm a bit disappointed with
that. But we were really unlucky to lose a goal."
Goalscorer Danny Welbeck added: "Four points from the first two games is
okay, considering we were away at Shakhtar. We are a bit disappointed
as we are Manchester United and want to win every game, but we have to
be satisfied with a point."
"Both teams should be happy with the result. Manchester United went back
after scoring early and played on counter-attacks. They are great at
this," Shakhtar's Romanian coach Mircea Lucescu.
"But in general we controlled the game and did not allow them much. It
was agreed to force the tempo in the final 20 minutes and we really
stuck to our plan."