Benfica 1-1 Man Utd
Benfica 1 - 1 Man Utd
Ryan Giggs' solo effort earned a point for Manchester United in a difficult Champions League opener against Benfica in Lisbon.
Nicolas Gaitan's delightful long pass picked out Oscar Cardozo in the 24th minute, and he controlled on his chest then finished from 16 yards.
But three minutes before half-time Giggs cut inside from the right and fired a 20-yard strike to equalise.
United keeper Anders Lindegaard saved from Nolito and Gaitan late on.
Lindegaard read the game well and made some impressive stops. The Dane's only previous matches for United had been against Southampton and Crawley last season, but he looked at home in the Champions League.
The goalkeeper's performance will put more pressure on David de Gea, but United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed that the Spaniard will start against Chelsea on Sunday.
“Although we tried to win, we've got to be happy with the point. We expected them to start well. Once we'd settled, we played some good stuff. When we go behind, we never know when we're beaten”
United's overall display was unconvincing. With Chelsea their next opponents, Ferguson chose to make eight changes and it showed, particularly during a disappointing first-half effort.
Giggs, who had struggled, ensured that they were level at the break with his moment of inspiration and the visitors did improve after the interval. The Welshman's goal meant he extended his record as the oldest goalscorer in the Champions League to 37 years and 289 days.
United had started reasonably well with Antonio Valencia shooting wide with a 16-yard attempt from a tight angle, but Benfica then began to take control. The impressive Gaitan drove their first chance over, then he fired wide at the end of a sweeping passing move.
Lindegaard made his first save of the night when he kept out a 20-yard strike by Cardozo, but he could not prevent the same player's next shot from going in four minutes later. The striker finished well following Gaitan's delivery to notch his fifth Champions League goal of the season.
Wayne Rooney was then booked for challenging home goalkeeper Artur after the whistle had gone, although the fouled player appeared to overreact.
Benfica carried on dominating, though Pablo Aimar was walking a disciplinary tightrope with a series of niggly challenges.
Against the run of play Giggs made it 1-1 shortly before the interval with his eye-catching run and hit. That laid the platform for a better start by United in the second half as they began to keep possession better.
The two sides exchanged chances as Aimar came close with a 30-yard strike after escaping Michael Carrick, before Giggs had a shot from just inside the box deflected wide by Artur's shin.
Nolito then forced Lindegaard into another save and Emerson shot wide with a close-range effort.
United's goalkeeper saved his team again when he tipped over a Gaitan effort. Benfica then blew their last chance of taking the points when Nolito failed to hit the target from six yards after another neat move.
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The final whistle goes and the game is over.90:00 +2:01
Zanaki Bruno Cesar takes a shot. Anders Lindegaard makes a save.90:00 +0:41 Substitution
Substitution Zanaki Bruno Cesar on for Nicolas Gaitan.90:00 +0:19
Unfair challenge on Manuel Agudo Nolito by Luis Nani results in a free kick. Conceicao Emerson takes the free kick.87:50
Long range effort by Oscar Cardozo goes harmlessly over the bar.86:57
Manuel Agudo Nolito produces a left-footed shot from deep inside the area which goes wide of the left-hand post.85:16
The referee blows for offside against Chris Smalling. Indirect free kick taken by Guilherme Artur Moraes.84:47
Corner taken by Luis Nani from the right by-line.83:29
Manuel Agudo Nolito challenges Michael Carrick unfairly and gives away a free kick. Jonathan Evans restarts play with the free kick.81:40
Short corner taken by Wayne Rooney from the left by-line.79:17
Free kick awarded for a foul by Phil Jones on Conceicao Emerson. Manuel Agudo Nolito crosses the ball in from the free kick, clearance by Wayne Rooney.76:56
Clearance by Jonathan Evans.76:56 Substitution
Substitution Fabio Da Silva goes off and Phil Jones comes on.76:56
Corner from the left by-line taken by Victorio Maxi Pereira,76:34
Nicolas Gaitan takes a shot. Save by Anders Lindegaard.74:06 Substitution
Substitution Nemanja Matic joins the action as a substitute, replacing Pablo Aimar.73:10
Victorio Maxi Pereira takes a shot. Anders Lindegaard makes a save.72:49
Nicolas Gaitan takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line played to the near post, Luis Nani manages to make a clearance.71:49
Corner taken by Nicolas Gaitan played to the near post, Luis Nani manages to make a clearance.69:13 Booking
Booking Nicolas Gaitan goes into the referee's book for unsporting behaviour.
Nicolas Gaitan challenges Patrice Evra unfairly and gives away a free kick. Anders Lindegaard takes the direct free kick.68:26 Substitution
Substitution Luis Nani comes on in place of Antonio Valencia.68:04 Substitution
Substitution Darren Fletcher leaves the field to be replaced by Javier Hernandez.67:37
Shot by Conceicao Emerson from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the goal.66:17
Pablo Aimar takes a outswinging corner.65:54
Manuel Agudo Nolito takes a shot. Save by Anders Lindegaard.65:03
Free kick awarded for a foul by Nicolas Gaitan on Patrice Evra. Ryan Giggs restarts play with the free kick.64:29 Booking
Booking Michael Carrick receives a caution.64:12
Michael Carrick challenges Nicolas Gaitan unfairly and gives away a free kick. Anderson Luisao restarts play with the free kick.63:45
Corner taken left-footed by Ryan Giggs, save made by Guilherme Artur Moraes.63:35
Ryan Giggs takes a shot. Save by Guilherme Artur Moraes.61:22 Booking
Booking Victorio Maxi Pereira receives a caution for unsporting behaviour.61:09
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ji-Sung Park by Victorio Maxi Pereira. Ji-Sung Park takes the direct free kick.59:51
Corner taken by Ryan Giggs from the left by-line.55:25 Substitution
Substitution Manuel Agudo Nolito comes on in place of Ruben Amorim.55:03
Pablo Aimar has shot on goal from a long way out that goes wide left.53:57
The referee blows for offside against Victorio Maxi Pereira. Anders Lindegaard takes the indirect free kick.45:56
The referee penalises Oscar Cardozo for handball. Anders Lindegaard restarts play with the free kick.45:01
The referee blows his whistle to start the second half.45:00 +1:04 Half time
Half Time The match has reached half-time.43:19
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Ryan Giggs from the right by-line.42:52
Corner from the right by-line taken by Pablo Aimar, clearance by Jonathan Evans.41:12
Antonio Valencia provided the assist for the goal.41:12 Goal scored
Goal! - Ryan Giggs - Benfica 1 - 1 Man Utd Goal scored by Ryan Giggs from outside the penalty box to the top right corner of the goal. Benfica 1-1 Man Utd.40:10
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Darren Fletcher by Pablo Aimar. Fabio Da Silva takes the free kick.38:50
Jonathan Evans restarts play with the free kick.38:50 Booking
Booking The referee shows Pablo Aimar a yellow card.38:45
Pablo Aimar challenges Wayne Rooney unfairly and gives away a free kick.38:10
Corner taken left-footed by Nicolas Gaitan, Jonathan Evans manages to make a clearance.35:43
Corner taken left-footed by Nicolas Gaitan, Anders Lindegaard makes a save.35:30
Anderson Luisao has an effort at goal. Blocked by Chris Smalling.34:45
Corner taken right-footed by Pablo Aimar.30:38
Pablo Aimar has an effort at goal from outside the penalty area missing to the wide left of the goal.29:52
Fabio Da Silva sends in a cross, Headed effort on goal by Wayne Rooney from just inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.25:12 Booking
Booking The referee books Wayne Rooney for unsporting behaviour.23:23
The assist for the goal came from Nicolas Gaitan.23:23 Goal scored
Goal! - Oscar Cardozo - Benfica 1 - 0 Man Utd Oscar Cardozo gets on the score sheet with a goal from inside the box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Benfica 1-0 Man Utd.20:37
Wayne Rooney fouled by Francisco Javi Garcia, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Ryan Giggs.19:24
Oscar Cardozo takes a shot. Anders Lindegaard makes a save.18:34
Free kick awarded for a foul by Victorio Maxi Pereira on Ji-Sung Park. Free kick taken by Patrice Evra.18:17
Antonio Valencia fouled by Conceicao Emerson, the ref awards a free kick. Fabio Da Silva takes the free kick.16:49
Nicolas Gaitan produces a left-footed shot from the edge of the box and misses to the right of the goal.14:03
Effort on goal by Nicolas Gaitan from long range goes harmlessly over the bar.11:06
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Oscar Cardozo by Chris Smalling. Direct free kick taken by Pablo Aimar.8:27
Antonio Valencia has an effort at goal from just inside the box that misses to the right of the goal.6:48
Inswinging corner taken by Pablo Aimar, Anders Lindegaard makes a save.6:02
Oscar Cardozo concedes a free kick for a foul on Jonathan Evans. Ryan Giggs restarts play with the free kick.4:47
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ryan Giggs by Francisco Javi Garcia. Ryan Giggs restarts play with the free kick.2:11
Fabio Da Silva challenges Nicolas Gaitan unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Conceicao Emerson.1:14
Free kick awarded for a foul by Wayne Rooney on Francisco Javi Garcia. Free kick taken by Anderson Luisao.0:00
The referee gets the game underway.
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