|1||Van der Sar|
United's Champions League campaign began with a frustrating 0-0 draw at Old Trafford on Tuesday night, against a Rangers team that, for long periods, bore more resemblance to Hadrian's Wall than a football side. Such was the strength and breadth of the visitors' defensive line.
The Scottish champions, who netted 82 goals in 38 league games last season, did little more than “park the bus” at Old Trafford, defending with a five-man backline and almost always 10 men behind the ball.
Rangers' tactics certainly weren't pretty but, as Reds boss Sir Alex Ferguson admitted afterwards, they were mightily effective. United struggled to break down the wall of blue and visiting goalkeeper Alan McGregor didn't have to make a single meaningful save.
"You have to give credit to Rangers," the boss said. "They have a formula for playing away from home that's successful."
To make matters worse for the home side, Antonio Valencia was carried from the pitch with a broken ankle and will undergo surgery on Wednesday morning. It's feared he will miss the rest of the season.
The 0-0 draw definitely wasn't the result the majority of the 74,408 fans inside Old Trafford had hoped for, but Sir Alex's men still have five games to secure safe passage to the knockout rounds of Europe's premier club competition.
"Tonight, that was a blemish," he said. "I always say you need 10 points to qualify – now we need nine points from five games."
For Rangers' visit, the boss made 10 changes – only Darren Fletcher survived – to the Unted side that drew 3-3 at Everton on Saturday and handed Champions League debuts to summer signings Chris Smalling and Javier