BENFICA (1) vs MANCHESTER UTD (1)
MANCHESTER UNITED manager Sir Alex Ferguson reacted angrily to suggestions that last night’s inclusion of goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard at the expense of David de Gea indicated he was losing patience with the Spaniard following last night’s Champions League draw in Lisbon.
Oscar Cardozo fired Benfica into a deserved early lead but a blast from the evergreen Ryan Giggs shortly before half-time ensured a much- changed United side escaped with a point.
Ferguson made eight alterations to the team which brushed aside Bolton last Saturday, but it was the omission of £17m summer signing De Gea, who has made a series of high-profile errors since his switch from Atletico Madrid, which raised eyebrows.
The Scot, however, dismissed suggestions he had dropped the 20-year-old as nothing more than mischief making and confirmed he would restore De Gea to the starting line-up against Chelsea on Sunday.
Asked whether the impressive Lindegaard had given him a selection dilemma in choosing between the Dane and De Gea in goal against Chelsea this weekend, Ferguson said: “No, not at all. David de Gea will play on Sunday. That was the understanding we had before the game, and it doesn’t change.
“I don’t know why you ask these questions, you’re just looking for stupid little things. Anyway, it proves we have two terrific goalkeepers.”
Lindergaard earned United a point with athletic late saves from Nicolas Gaitan and substitute Nolito, but had no chance with Cardozo’s 24th minute opener.
The outstanding Gaitan lifted an extravagant pass with the outside of his right foot over the United defence and into the path of Paraguay forward Cardozo, who twisted past Jonny Evans and located the far corner with a rasping drive.
That effort was made to look positively tame by Giggs four minutes from the break, however, when he collected Antonio Valencia’s pass, shuffled past several challenges and detonated an unstoppable shot into the top left-hand corner.
KEY MOMENTS | RYAN’S RASPER
27 mins: Benfica capped their spirited opening with a fine goal. Jonny Evans will feel he was turned too easily by Oscar Cardozo, but the striker’s finish was worthy of praise.
41 mins: Ryan Giggs became the first player to score in 16 different Champions League seasons when his solo run culminated in a shot which nearly broke Artur’s net.
66 mins: Anders Lindegaard, in his first United appearance since February, got down well to prevent the onrushing Nolito and later clawed away Gaitan’s left-footed curler.