MANCHESTER (0) UTD vs RANGERS (0)
SIR ALEX FERGUSON suffered a Champions League double whammy after lacklustre Manchester United were held to a goalless draw by Rangers in a match marred by a serious injury to Antonio Valencia.
Resolute Rangers showed great resistance to shut out a makeshift United line-up, which showed 10 changes from the side held at Everton on Saturday.
It capped a frustrating night for the 2008 champions, who saw Valencia carried off with a suspected fractured ankle midway through the second half following an innocuous sliding tackle from Kirk Broadfoot.
“He has gone to hospital. It looks as if it is a dislocation and a fracture,” Ferguson admitted. “It’s a bad one, it will keep him out for a long time. He seemed to dig his toe in the turf.”
Wayne Rooney was recalled to the starting line-up, but barely got a sniff as Walter Smith’s game plan to employ a stubborn rearguard succeeded in limiting United to half chances despite dominating the possession.
Javier Hernandez headed just wide early on, while Darron Gibson twice missed the target as the Scottish champions held firm.
England captain Rio Ferdinand was also making his first start for four months after his knee ligament injury, but not even he could inspire United to a winning start to their European campaign.
Ferguson later defended his decision to field a weakened team, adding: “The criticism will be why didn’t I play a stronger team, I think I played a very strong team.
“People forget eight of them played against Chelsea in the Charity (Community) Shield. It’s a terrific squad of players we have and there was no problem playing them.
“They should have won that game, but give credit to Rangers, their system is very difficult to break down.”