Team

24.02.09 / 23:46

Champions League: Inter 0-0 Manchester United


Qualification wide open as entertaining last sixteen first leg clash in Milan ends goalless

MILAN - Everything is still to play for in the pick of the Champions League last sixteen ties as Inter and Manchester United played out an entertaining goalless draw at the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza.

United travelled to Milan with a host of injury problems in defence but Sir Alex Ferguson resolved his crisis with both O'Shea and Evans made his starting line-up. In midfield Giggs and Park flanked Carrick and Fletcher, with Ronaldo playing just off Berbatov in attack.

Mourinho, who named nine of his eleven starters in the pre-match press conference, kept faith with Nelson Rivas at centre-back after his performance against Bologna at the weekend, partnering the Colombian with Cristian Chivu and handing youngster Davide Santon his eighth consecutive start in the left-back slot.

The Red Devils took the game to Inter and Cristiano Ronaldo, yet to score in this season's Champions League, produced four good chances in the opening period. The Ballon d'Or winner had a free kick blocked by Julio Cesar and then forced a brilliant save from the Brazilian with close-range header from Giggs' corner inside the five-minute mark. He then sent a free kick a whisker wide before just missing with an angled shot.

Inter's first chance of the game fell to Dejan Stankovic, who blazed over after collecting a pass from Muntari. But United came straight back and Berbatov went close with a header before Giggs got the better of Rivas and forced a save from Julio Cesar.

Van der Sar comfortably saved Stankovic's backheeled effort from Ibrahimovic's centre, making a smothering block from the Swede three minutes later as Inter appeared to step up their game. United went into the break with Berbatov rueing his headed miss from Park's cross.

If the first half belonged to the visitors in terms of scoring chances, the second belonged to Inter. Mourinho's team, with Cordoba on for Rivas, made the brighter start and Adriano agonsingly miscued in front of goal after a low ball into the box from Cambiasso. Moments later the Nerazzurri had a penalty claim turned down by Canatlejo when Adriano was brought down in the box by Rio Ferdinand.

Inter continued to churn out chances and Stankovic drove wide before Evra cleared off the line after Cambiasso's effort took a deflection off Van der Sar. But United hit back and Carrick cannoned over the bar after Cordoba narrowed the angle to block Giggs' goalbound shot, with Berbatov shooting into the side-netting a minute later.

Mourinho threw on Cruz and Balotelli for Muntari and Adriano in search of a vital goal ahead of the return leg at Old Trafford in two weeks' time, and it almost came when Cambiasso connected with Balotelli's corner, only for Van der Sar to save.

Ferguson's only substitution was Rooney for Park, and the England striker's first contribution to the game was a killer challenge on Cambiasso that earned him a yellow card.

Ronaldo ended the game as he started it, seeing his free kick punched clear by an in-form Julio Cesar.

Inter 0-0 Manchester United

Inter: 12 Julio Cesar; 13 Maicon, 24 Rivas (2 Cordoba 46), 26 Chivu, 39 Santon; 4 Zanetti, 19 Cambiasso, 20 Muntari (9 Cruz 76); 5 Stankovic; 8 Ibrahimovic, 10 Adriano (45 Balotelli 76);
Subs not used: 1 Toldo, 6 Maxwell, 7 Figo, 16 Burdisso.
Coach: José Mourinho.

Manchester United: 1 Van Der Sar; 22 O' Shea, 5 Ferdinand, 23 Evans, 3 Evra; 13 Park (10 Rooney 83), 24 Fletcher, 16 Carrick, 11 Giggs; 9 Berbatov, 7 Ronaldo;
Subs not used: 12 Foster, 17 Nani, 18 Scholes, 20 Fabio Da Silva, 28 Gibson, 32 Tevez.
Coach: Alex Ferguson.

Referee: Luis Medina Cantalejo (Spain).

Booked: Toldo (for protesting on bench) 43, Chivu 57, Maicon 59, Fletcher 71, Rooney 88, Cordoba 90+3.






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