United held in stalemate

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Football News

Manchester United's Champions League campaign began with a whimper as they were held to a goalless draw by Rangers at Old Trafford despite the return of Wayne Rooney.

Rooney was back in the starting line-up as Sir Alex Ferguson made 10 changes from the weekend but there was no way past the Scottish champions, on a night when Antonio Valencia was forced out of the action with a reported broken ankle.

Walter Smith's plan was clearly to defend and Rangers will be by far the happier team following the Group C opener as they return to Ibrox with a precious point from arguably their toughest match of the group.

United dominated possession in the opening spell but it was Rangers who had the first attempt on target when Steven Davis picked out David Weir with a curling free-kick but the defender nodded straight into the arms of goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak.

The visitors packed the defence with five players strung across the back but could have been behind had Javier Hernandez been more clinical with a header he directed just past the post after connecting well with a cross from Fabio.

United then claimed Weir had handled in the box but pleas for a penalty were ignored by the referee. The crowd were on their feet again when Rooney broke through on goal but, instead of having a go himself, he attempted to cut back for Hernandez and Rangers were able to snuff out the attack.

Darron Gibson tried his luck with an ambitious shot from distance which fell inches wide of Allan McGregor's left-hand upright, and then rifled just over the crossbar after the interval.

The home side were forced to make a change with 62 minutes gone when Valencia left the pitch on a stretcher with a broken bone around the ankle that will doubtless rule him out for several months, following a challenge from Broadfoot, and was replaced by Ryan Giggs.

Giggs immediately provided a spark and whipped a dangerous cross from the left into the box for Rooney but he was wasteful with a header that was well off target.

Gibson who once again lashed narrowly over the crossbar from distance as United pushed forward in numbers with 10 minutes to go, but they were ultimately frustrated in their efforts to find a late winner despite six minutes of added time.

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Premier League
Manchester United
Antonio Valencia

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