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UEFA Champions League

Estadio da Luz (ATT 59,671) 14th September 2011 - Kick off 19:45 Ref: D Skomina

Benfica Benfica vs Manchester United Man Utd

Benfica 1

O Cardozo (24)


Man Utd 1

R Giggs (42)

Live Commentary

Last Updated at 9:35 pm, September 14th 2011

  1. That's your lot and it's finished all-square at the Stadium of Light. Don't think either team will be too disappointed with that outcome - they'll surely be the two favourites to progress from the group.

  2. 90+2

    Long-range effort from Cesar well gathered by Lindegaard down to his left. Was well off target in any case.

  3. 90+1

    Benfica bring on Bruno Cesar for Gaitan.

  4. 90

    We'll have two minutes of added time.

  5. 89

    Rooney tries to slide the ball through to Hernandez but Benfica are back in numbers and managed to see off the danger.

  6. 88

    Cardozo shoots from around a yard inside the United half having apparently seen Lindegaard off his line. Fair to say it's not the best thing he's done this evening.

  7. 87

    Great chance for Benfica to win it but Nolito rather scuffs his left-footed shot from six-yards out and it skips just wide. Don't know how United let it get to him but it doesn't matter now.

  8. 86

    United take the corner short and Jones curls the ball into the box but Smalling has strayed a yard offside and Benfica are able to clear from the free-kick.

  9. 85

    Great header from Nani to not only keep the ball in but get it on for the overlapping Jones. He just takes a touch too many and has to content himself with a corner.

  10. 84

    Rooney lofts the ball into the box but Artur gathers easily.

  11. 83

    Rooney tries to link up with Hernandez but ever so slightly overhits his pass and Luisao is able to clear.

  12. 82

    Giggs tries to work the ball into the box but it merely drifts behind for a goal-kick to Benfica.

  13. 81

    Good ball in from the right from Jones which Park meets at the back post, earning United a corner as his header is turned behind. Struck Pereira's arm but nothing he could do about it.

  14. 80

    Nolito whips the ball in but Rooney heads it high into the sky allowing Lindegaard to come from his six-yard area to gather.

  15. 79

    Emerson goes down under pressure from Jones as he tries to get down the Benfica left. Not sure Jones did much wrong there - Emerson seemed to find his leg to trip over.

  16. 78

    Cool as you like from Rooney as he takes down Evans' clearing header and slides it back to Lindegaard to clear downfield. Jones has slotted into the right-back position vacated by Fabio.

  17. 77

    United replace Fabio with Phil Jones. Dangerous to make a change before a corner is taken.

  18. 77

    Good save from Lindegaard once again as he pushes a Gaitan curler away for a corner.

  19. 76

    Witsel works the ball into Cardozo on the edge of the United box but Evans stands firm behind him and the ball bounces clear off his shins.

  20. 75

    Pereira skips his way into the United box down the right despite the chance to go down under pressure from Park. His cross in is somewhat scrambled clear by United, though.

  21. 74

    Benfica bring Nemanja Matic on for Aimar.

  22. 73

    Pretty open feel about this one now. Evra goes down under pressure from Pereira near the Benfica byline but ends up disappointed as it's a goal-kick to the hosts.

  23. 72

    Nolito nicks a lovely ball towards the advancing Cardozo but Lindegaard punches it behind for a corner as it rears up off the turf.

  24. 71

    Giggs off on another mazy run but Pereira is there this time and nicks the ball back before setting Benfica off on the attack.

  25. 70

    Giggs attempts an ambitious ball over the top to Hernandez which Luisao turns out for a throw down the United left.

  26. 69

    Gaitan into the book now as he fouls Evra, who was looking to carry the ball away from his own byline. Bit of frustration in that one I think.

  27. 69

    It's actually a double change for United with Valencia and Fletcher making way for Hernandez and Nani. Unsurprisingly the latter gets a 'great' reception from the home fans!

  28. 68

    Nolito slides the ball through to Emerson down the inside-left channel but his angled cross-shot is always drifting wide of goal.

  29. 68

    United have Javier Hernandez stripped and ready for action.

  30. 67

    Benfica spring quickly on the counter-attack and United are short of numbers momentarily. The ball's worked across to Nolito down the inside-left channel and he gets a shot in but Lindegaard plunges away to his left to push it away. Excellent save and a reminder of the threat Benfica offer.

  31. 66

    Gaitan takes a measure of revenge with a pretty blatant trip, though it's Evra on the receiving end. Free-kick United. GIggs whips it in but it's pretty comfortably cleared by Pereira.

  32. 65

    Giggs whips in the corner but Artur manages to slap it clear. Gaitan looks to spring on the counter-attack but Carrick won't let him, albeit at the expense of a yellow card.

  33. 64

    Giggs wriggles his way into the Benfica box superbly and fires in a shot which Artur does well to divert behind with his foot. Brilliant from Giggs.

  34. 64

    Gaitan bursts into the United box with Evra and Park static but his first touch is heavy and though he manages to keep it in all he can do is turn it into the arms of Lindegaard.

  35. 63

    United break down the left this time and Evra and Park link up well. The Korean's grubber cross just doesn't fall right for Fletcher and though he gets a shot in it's never really troubling Artur, who gathers comfortably.

  36. 62

    Valencia whips a lovely ball in from the right but it's no surprise to see Luisao head it clear as he's been faultless tonight.

  37. 61

    Pereira is booked for pulling down Park, who had the beating of him down the United left.

  38. 61

    Corner comes to nothing as Valencia tries to smack an angled ball to Giggs, who is retreating from an offside position as the ball is played over the top to him.

  39. 60

    Corner to United, who have had the better of the possession since the break.

  40. 59

    Rooney, Giggs and Park look to link up but the latter just allows the ball to get away from him as a shooting chance presents itself.

  41. 58

    Evra skips away from a couple of Benfica markers and the ball is worked out to the United right but Carrick's angled ball in towards Giggs is cleared by Luisao.

  42. 57

    Nolito has taken up post on the left, with Gaitan switching over to the right.

  43. 56

    First substitution. Nolito, fresh from the Barcelona B team, replaces Amorim. He's scored in his first five games for Benfica, including all of their Champions League qualifying matches!

  44. 55

    Aimar turns away from Carrick and smacks in a shot from all of 30 yards centrally. Lindegaard scrambles across to his right and goes full-length, but it's wide of goal.

  45. 54

    Pereira smacks in a shot from the angle which bounces off both posts and out to safety. The assistant referee's flag was up in any case...and he was right. These officials have done superbly tonight.

  46. 53

    Pereira tries to whip the ball in from the right but it's poor delivery and drifts over the top of everyone in the middle and skips out for a throw.

  47. 52

    More poor service into Rooney - this time from Giggs - and the striker is getting increasingly frustrated at his peripheral role.

  48. 51

    Rooney plays a brilliant ball down the inside-right channel to Valencia but Emerson does really well to slide in and nick it away. Looks like a United throw but the decision goes the other way.

  49. 50

    The ball is worked from left to right and back again by Rooney to Valencia but his cross in is headed clear at the back post.

  50. 49

    United force a throw deep in Benfica territory.

  51. 48

    Much better start from United. They're knocking the ball around more confidently, albeit still without much snap.

  52. 47

    Valencia and Rooney link well down the right and the former whips a cross in but Artur manages to get down and his is the only touch on the ball as it slides across the goalmouth and away from danger.

  53. 46

    Gaitan whips the ball in for Cardozo but he handles as he brings it down and the referee's onto him straight away. Free-kick United.

  54. 45

    United get us back under way.

  55. The hosts are with us again now.

  56. United are back on the pitch but Benfica are yet to return. Possibly a sign Sir Alex isn't too happy with them.

  57. The other game in the group is going the way of the home side - just. Basle lead newcomers Otelul Galati 1-0 at the break.

  58. So that's the break. United are level - but on balance of play they don't deserve it. Struggled with their passing and Rooney was looking increasingly frustrated...then up popped Giggs with a goal out of nothing and suddenly it's level.

  59. 45+1

    Benfica's attack comes to nothing and when Lindegaard pumps it downfield the referee blows the half-time whistle.

  60. 45+1

    United on the attack as we entered the added time - amazing what that goal has done for them. That said, Evra can't find a way past Amorim and Benfica clear down the right.

  61. 45

    We'll have one minute added.

  62. 45

    Corner taken short and worked to Fletcher. He tries to slide in Fabio but the Brazilian is well blocked off by Emerson as he tries to latch onto it inside the Benfica box.

  63. 44

    Evans controls the ball centrally and carries it clear. It's worked out to Giggs by Rooney on the left as United break in a trademark quick counter-attack. Giggs curls it in but Luisao outjumps Park and heads it behind for a corner. That's more like it from United.

  64. 43

    Corner to Benfica. Think Pereira and not Park actually put that out, but it was a tangle of legs so not an easy call.

  65. 42

    GOAL - GIGGS. United level. Out of nothing. Valencia turns the ball onto Giggs and he drives into the D of the Benfica box and drills it home. Great finish - and it's the 22nd consecutive season in which Giggs has scored for United.

  66. 41

    Rash challenge from Aimar on Fletcher now. He's walking a bit of a tightrope - I reckon he'd have been booked for that had he not previously seen yellow. The referee contents himself with a word in Aimar's ear.

  67. 40

    Evra plays the ball into Rooney but that man Luisao is there first to nick the ball off his toes and force United back to halfway.

  68. 39

    Fletcher clears at the front post and as Rooney looks to get United going forward, Aimar pulls him down and is rightly booked.

  69. 38

    Fabio has to head an Aimar cross behind with Gaitan loitering behind him. No doubt who is on top here. United need to get to half-time without conceding again.

  70. 37

    Valencia turns into a cul-de-sac this time as United once again squander possession all too cheaply. Been a half to forget for them so far - Rooney is having to come back to halfway to pick up the ball and even then he's having no luck.

  71. 36

    The corner's taken short and Gaitan's cross loops over to Luisao. His goalbound volley is blocked behind by a combination of Smalling and Evans.

  72. 35

    Free-kick comes to nothing but United get another chance to get some possession. Benfica are pressing really well from deep, though and force Giggs to give the ball away. Valencia is forced to track all the way back into his own area to concede a corner. Really sloppy from Giggs there.

  73. 34

    Free-kick United around 40 yards out as Park is fouled by Javi Garcia.

  74. 33

    Rooney dropping deep to get the ball but even he can't find space as his attempted ball to Park is swept away.

  75. 32

    Fresh appeals for handball by Evans (outside the box) but the referee waves it on yet again. Think he got that one wrong but he needed the help of his assistant on that side as it was definitely on his blindside.

  76. 31

    Fletcher's angled ball towards Park is headed clear by Luisao, who is yet to put a foot wrong at the back for Benfica.

  77. 30

    Rooney getting more and more frustrated as United fail to get good quality service into his feet.

  78. 29

    Aimar hammers in a ridiculously ambitious shot from out on the right but it's never even close to troubling Lindegaard.

  79. 28

    United work the ball wide to Valencia and he advances towards the byline before cutting it back for Fabio. His cross is a little high for Rooney and though he manages to get his head on it, it's always looping high over the crossbar.

  80. 27

    United just looking to put a spell of possession together and build a bit of confidence. They haven't looked themselves thus far.

  81. 26

    Rooney plays on after the whistle has blown - but he clearly hasn't heard it. He challenges Artur for a bouncing ball and Benfica coach Jorge Jesus is going crazy on the touchline. The referee calms him down - then books Rooney.

  82. 25

    United didn't concede an away goal in their entire Champions League campaign last season. It's taken less than 25 minutes of this one for them to do so.

  83. 24

    GOAL - CARDOZO. You can't say it hasn't been coming. Ball knocked into Cardozo by Gaitan just outside the United box and he slides past Evans with a lovely turn and drills home giving Lindegaard no chance.

  84. 23

    United really struggling to get their passing game going at the moment. Rooney looking isolated up front.

  85. 22

    Better spell of possession for United until Rooney allows a pass aimed for Valencia to go badly astray.

  86. 21

    Smalling tries to spring Fabio down the right but overhits his pass and even the fleet-footed Brazilian can't get anywhere near it.

  87. 20

    Lindegaard has to be alert to plunge down to his right and save from Cardozo after Evans blocks an attempted sliderule ball through to Witsel. Benfica just taking charge now.

  88. 19

    Park is fouled by Pereira as he tries to turn the ball around the corner to Rooney. Free-kick to United on halfway.

  89. 18

    Fabio tries to get a cross in from the right but it's a poor one and Benfica clear. Fabio's down, though, as Emerson rather dived in as he tried to cross. He's up quickly enough but Fletcher for one was appealing for a free-kick there.

  90. 17

    Good work from Benfica to get the ball out to Maxi Pereira on the right. Cardozo attempts to control his cross but doesn't get a proper touch on it. That said, it drifts out to Gaitan and he fires in a shot but it's always sailing wide. Shows the danger they possess though.

  91. 16

    The throw-in comes to nothing, Benfica clear and United attempt to build again. No real pattern to this one yet.

  92. 16

    Fabio's just short with an angled pass out to Valencia down the right but United do have a throw deep in Benfica territory.

  93. 15

    Gaitan fires in a shot from distance but though Lindegaard leaps he keeps his arms down and is rightly confident it's sailing over the crossbar.

  94. 14

    Just seen a replay of that Aimar incident. Looked every inch a dive to me. Well spotted, referee.

  95. 13

    Patience from Benfica as they probe for an opening until Fletcher and Carrick combine to win back possession. Park gifts it straight back to the Portuguese side, though.

  96. 12

    Smalling penalised for climbing on the back of Cardozo. From the free-kick Aimar again looks to skip through and goes down under pressure from Carrick. He - and the crowd - appeal but the referee is once again unimpressed. Not sure he got that right, but he's certainly a strong ref on the first 12 minutes here!

  97. 11

    Giggs attempts to slide an angled ball through to Rooney at the edge of the 18-yard box but Javi Garcia slides in to turn it away. Excellent piece of defending that as Rooney was through on the goalkeeper otherwise.

  98. 10

    Aimar skips into the United box and shouts go up for a penalty as the ball strikes Evans but again the referee is unimpressed.

  99. 9

    Rooney's ball in slides past Giggs at the edge of the box but Valencia takes a touch beyond the back post and fires in a wild shot. Giggs seemed to be appealing for a trip on him there as the ball shot past him but the referee wasn't interested.

  100. 8

    Aimar whips the corner in from the Benfica left but Lindegaard is equal to it and gathers unchallenged in the middle of his six-yard box.

  101. 7

    Giggs and Carrick try to work a short one but it goes wrong and Benfica break on the counter, forcing Smalling to turn it behind for the first corner of the match.

  102. 6

    Again, United happy to build patiently. As Evans brings it forward, Cardozo has a little nibble at his heels and it's a free-kick to United.

  103. 5

    Free-kick to United as Javi Garcia fouls Giggs from behind after a Lindegaard kick downfield.

  104. 4

    Valencia does well to get down the right and get a cross over but Artur Moraes dives out of his goalmouth to gather. Rooney was lurking but Benfica were back in force.

  105. 3

    United happy to knock the ball around in midfield and at the back. They'll look to silence the crowd early doors.

  106. 2

    Lindegaard looking composed enough early on - couple of good touches showing his footwork is nice and secure. Hopefully not tempting fate there!

  107. 1

    Benfica get the first free-kick as Rooney is penalised for an aerial challenge on Javi Garcia.

  108. Benfica get us under way.

  109. Teams are out on the field. Belting old atmosphere in the Stadium of Light tonight that's for sure.

  110. Given Rooney's reputation for scoring goals in spurts (and not scoring goals in spurts) I reckon he's hoping he'll score tonight and go into Sunday in good form.

  111. Sir Alex says there's "no issue" issue with De Gea and it's just a case that Lindegaard needs gametime like Ji-Sung Park, Valencia, Giggs, Carrick, Fletcher and Fabio. Says as this is the first game of the Champions League group phase he has "some leeway" particularly with a "big game" on Sunday.

  112. If, like Mike, you're fancying a bet on tonight's game you can get Benfica at 11/4 and United at Evens. The draw is 12/5. 4-0 United is a 40/1 chance, Mike!

  113. Spot on, Phil. Can easily make a case that Chelsea is a bigger game than this one...

  114. Wouldn't be the worst result in the world that, James. Fergie sets a 10-point target at the start of the competition for progress through the group stages - usually secured by three home wins and an away draw.

  115. Slightly surprised De Gea has been 'rested' but don't forget it's Chelsea (H) on Sunday and what a boost it must be for him if Fergie's guaranteed him a start in that one. He's not afraid of resting his keepers for away CL games (think he did it last year with VDS at least a couple of times) and Lindegaard was excellent in pre-season so deserves his chance.

  116. Our referee is Slovenian Damir Skomina.

  117. Man Utd: Lindegaard, Fabio Da Silva, Evans, Smalling, Evra, Fletcher, Carrick, Giggs, Valencia, Rooney, Park. Subs: De Gea, Jones, Owen, Anderson, Berbatov, Hernandez, Nani.

  118. Here are the full teamlists. Benfica: Artur Moraes, Maxi Pereira, Luisao, Garay, Emerson, Amorim, Javi Garcia, Witsel, Aimar, Cardozo, Gaitan. Subs: Eduardo, Bruno Cesar, Nolito, Machado, Matic, Saviola, Jardel.

  119. Plenty of bullishness in the United ranks there. They've certainly started the season in sensational fashion but Fergie would surely settled for a doughty 1-0 here?

  120. Here's the United starting XI: Lindegaard, Fabio, Smalling, Evans, Evra, Valencia, Fletcher, Carrick, Giggs, Park, Rooney.

  121. The big news here is Anders Lindegaard gets the nod between the sticks for Manchester United but there is still no place for Dimitar Berbatov in the starting line-up despite eight changes. In addition to Lindegaard, Darren Fletcher and Antonio Valencia are among those to make their first starts of the season, with Berbatov joined by Michael Owen on the bench. I'll bring you the full team lists as soon as I have them to hand.

  122. Good evening one and all and welcome to our coverage of Manchester United's 2011/12 Champions League opener against Benfica. Let me know how you see this one panning out with an email to



UEFA Champions League Group A

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1 Juventus 1 3
2 Olympiakos FC 1 3
3 Atletico Madrid 1 0
4 Malmo FF 1 0

UEFA Champions League Group B

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1 Real Madrid 1 3
2 Liverpool 1 3
3 Ludogorets 1 0
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UEFA Champions League Group C

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1 Zenit St. Petersburg 1 3
2 Monaco 1 3
3 Bayer Leverkusen 1 0
4 Benfica 1 0

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