|photo by sun dazed||via PhotoRee|
Defying the critics at home and abroad, Manchester United played a rope-a-dope first half before showing more of their teeth after the break in a 1-1 Champions League draw at Old Trafford Wednesday night. Fully embracing what could be the club's last European contest for quite some time, the hosts withstood a brutal frontal assault from their German visitors in the first half, with the Munich holding nearly 80% of the possession prior to the interval. Nevertheless, it was the home side in the form of Danny Welbeck who missed the best chance of the half to go in front prior to the halftime whistle.
After the break was a completely different story, with both teams taking turns attacking the others' goal, and real chances were created at both ends. United Captain Nemanja Vidic was the first to find the net, with his unmarked header gifting his club an unexpected 1-0 lead. As should have been expected, however, Bayern fought back to tie the contest through a finely worked play that ended with Bastian Schweinsteiger putting the ball into David De Gea's goal.
Although neither side will be disappointed with the outcome, in general the Germans will be pleased to have scored their away goal, a tally which leaves United needing to score on their trip to the Allianz Arena in a little over a week's time. The surly nature of the contest was underscored by the high number of rough tackles, yellow cards and a final red for the Bayern goalscorer, which will mark him as ineligible for the return leg.
Herewith, the individual player ratings from a spirited night at Old Trafford:
De Gea: Pinpoint clearance and a fine save to deny Ribery before the break. 7.5
Jones: Filled in at right back and was there when he needed to be. 7.5
Ferdinand: Was right in the mix tonight. Looked like the old days. 7.5
Vidic: Looked nervy at the outset but gradually settled. He may have been unguarded, but it was still a clutch header from a very tough position to give his side the second half lead. 8.0
Büttner: Appeared overmatched right from the get go, but gradually settled down and played his way into the match. Should be renamed Hoofner. 7.0
Valencia: Early yellow and lucky to stay on the pitch after a bone crunching second half tackle. Moved to right back to accommodate Ashley Young with 15 minutes left. 7.0
Carrick: Decent distribution when he was able to touch the ball. Forced to stay way back for most of the night. 7.0
Fellaini: Just not good enough to play in a holding role. Gifted the ball repeatedly to the visitors and lost his man for the Bayern equalizer. 6.0
Giggs: Little impact in likely his last Champions League home tie. Injured and substituted at the half. 6.5
Welbeck: Looked lively, and was denied only by the referee's whistle early on. Later fluffed his lines with a chip when power was called for, but gave Martinez all he could handle tonight. Man of the Match. 8.0
Rooney: Rarely saw the ball and displayed the gentle touch of a butcher. Tame header to begin the second half. 7.0
Kagawa (Giggs), 46: Added some need spice and ball movement to the offensive mix. 7.5
Young (Büttner), 75: If only he could deliver a cross.... N/A
Hernandez (Welbeck), 85: Too late to make an impact, but Moyes would do well to remember the Mexican's pace against a Bayern back line that looked shaky at times. N/A
This is farlieonfootie for April 1.