>Manchester United made the trip to Marseille without a few important players. In defense the young Smalling had to take position for the injured Ferdinand and Evans. Not in the starting line up also, Giggs, Park, Rafael or Scholes. The first half didn’t bring a lot of excitement. While in the opening 10 minutes it looked like there will be a game, the rest of the second half was more or less pushing the ball back and forth. The goalies, with minimal exceptions, didn’t really need their hands for 35 minutes.
The second half showed significantly more action than the first and Marseille took control of the game. While more possession and mainly in United’s half, more than a mild “harassment” couldn’t be achieved. Sir Alex reacted after 72 min and sent Paul Scholes for Gibson, who couldn’t be found for 70 minutes. That, and a change in system gave United control back, which they kept until the last three minutes. Marseille tried one more time, but couldn’t force a result change.
With a good result as a goal, for United, the game served the purpose. For Marseille, the Champions League dream seems to be over. The game in Manchester should not cause the English major problems, if they keep their form and don’t slide into a major crisis within the next three weeks.