The Welshman fed Fabio on the overlap and the Brazilian beat one man before clipping a cross towards the middle of the box. Berbatov met the ball well but couldn’t direct his header wide of Allan McGregor in the Rangers goal.
Much of the pre-match talk centred on Rooney, handed his first United start since 26 September. But it took 24 minutes for a sight of goal – a difficult volley he miscued from 12 yards – to come the Englishman’s way. He was constantly under the attentions of at least two of Rangers’ five-man defence and had little room to operate in. Even Scholes, a master of unlocking tight defences, struggled to work the ball to Rooney’s feet.
The Reds had slightly more luck with the aerial approach; Rooney clipped the crossbar with a clever header on 40 minutes after good work by Fabio down the left. But it was Rangers who finished the half brightest.
Kenny Miller, isolated up front and frustrated for long periods, found himself clean through on goal and bearing down on Edwin van der Sar, albeit from a wide angle. Ibrox held its breath... and then exhaled in frustration as the Dutchman spread himself well to deny Miller with his legs.
After the break, Rooney curled a free-kick wide of the target from 30 yards, while Berbatov should have done better when he met Giggs’ cut-back on the volley. Carrick wasted an even better chance on 55 minutes when he blasted at McGregor after advancing into the penalty area courtesy of a smart Rooney lay-off.
The visitors were piling on the pressure and McGregor was called into action once more when Berbatov spun and shot low towards the far post. The goalkeeper, linked recently with a move to Old Trafford, did well to