United fail to break stubborn Marseille
Manchester United gained a valuable 0-0 draw at Olympique Marseille in the Champions League on Wednesday but their uninspired display will not have had the likes of Barcelona quaking in their boots.sports Updated: Feb 25, 2011 01:34 IST
Manchester United gained a valuable 0-0 draw at Olympique Marseille in the Champions League on Wednesday but their uninspired display will not have had the likes of Barcelona quaking in their boots.
Marseille boss Didier Deschamps said before the game that three-times winners United lacked "fantasy" now names like Eric Cantona and Cristiano Ronaldo are long gone.
With Ryan Giggs injured, Wayne Rooney still not firing, Dimitar Berbatov inconsistent and Nani flattering to deceive, the spark was indeed missing at the Stade Velodrome where the vibrant fans offered the only element of colour.
The hosts struggled to create anything concrete either and United boss Alex Ferguson remained confident the Premier League leaders would progress to the quarter-finals in the second leg at Old Trafford on March 15.
"A goal away from home is always important, that's a disappointment but I don't think Marseille presented any problems to us in attacking sense. Nothing really happened in the match and it wasn't a good match to watch."
The game summed up United's season, effective but without any great conviction or flair and fans will fear for their prospects further into the competition if they do not find another gear.
In a dull first half, only United's Darren Fletcher had a really good chance when his sharp effort was smartly saved by Steve Mandanda.
The Ligue 1 champions, who have not reached this stage since becoming the only French side to win the trophy in 1993, upped the pace after the break but Brandao's weak header and Andre Ayew's shot across goal were the only notable efforts.
Deschamps knows the second leg will be difficult but he should have top forward Mathieu Valbuena fully fit and hopes to have fellow striker Andre-Pierre Gignac back from injury. "Fifty percent of the job is done as we didn't concede," said the Frenchman.
Last-gasp gomez goal wins it for Bayern
Milan: Mario Gomez scored a last minute winner to put Bayern Munich firmly in control of their last 16 Champions League tie against Inter Milan on Wednesday.
For Bayern it also went some way to exacting revenge for their Champions League final defeat to Inter in Madrid back in May.
With 10 minutes left Inter had a sniff of goal but Kraft stood up to Houssine Kharja's cross-shot while a deflected Sneijder free-kick then landed on the roof of the net.
However, in the last minute Inter goalkeeper Julio Cesar, who hadn't made a save of note all night, failed to hold a skimming drive from Arjen Robben and Gomez tapped home the rebound.