Manchester United began their 2011/12 UEFA Champions League campaign with a trip to Lisbon to battle SL Benfica in a group stage tie. The home side went ahead in the 24th minute when Oscar Cardozo hammered home a right-footed shot that beat United goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard at the far-post. The Reds went level just before half when the legendary Ryan Giggs cracked a left-footed from just outside the box in the 42nd minute -- arguably against the run of play. The 2nd half was scoreless and the result was a 1-1 draw. Here are statistics from the match and post-match quotes from United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and some of his players.
TEAM STATISTICS (via whoscored.com powered by Opta)
The Busby Babe Benfica Manchester United Shots (on target) Total Passes Passing Accuracy Ball Possession Tackles won Interceptions Fouls Corners Offsides
The Busby Babe
Shots (on target)
MANCHESTER UNITED (via whoscored.com powered by Opta)
* Anders Lindegaard (goalkeeper): 4 saves, 1 goal conceded, 36/62 passing (58%)
* Jonny Evans (left-center-back): 59/60 passing (98%), 1 tackle, 3 interceptions, 4 clearances, 0 blocks, 1 foul
* Chris Smalling (right-center-back): 52/56 passing (93%), 0 tackles, 1 interceptions, 5 clearances, 1 block, 1 foul
* Patrice Evra (left-back): 53/57 passing (93%), 4 tackles, 1 interception, 0 clearances, 0 blocks, 0 fouls
* Fabio (right-back): 47/54 passing (87%), 3 tackles, 1 interception, 4 clearances, 0 blocks, 1 foul
* Michael Carrick (holding-midfielder): 86/93 passing (92%), 4 tackles, 8 interceptions, 0 key passes, 0 successful dribbles
* Darren Fletcher (center-midfielder): 67/83 passing (81%), 0 tackles, 1 interception, 0 key passes, 1 successful dribble
* Ryan Giggs (center-attacking-midfielder): 66/89 passing (74%), 0 tackles, 2 interceptions, 0 key passes, 5 successful dribbles, 1 foul won, 1 goal
* Park Ji-sung (left winger): 35/42 passing (83%), 5 tackles, 2 interceptions, 0 key passes, 2 successful dribbles, 3 fouls won
* Antonio Valencia (right winger): 26/32 passing (81%), 2 tackles, 1 interception, 1 key pass, 1 successful dribble, 1 foul won, 1 assist
* Wayne Rooney (striker): 42/55 passing (76%), 1 key pass, 1 successful dribble, 2 fouls won
* Nani (substitute | right winger): 14/20 passing (70%), 2 tackles, 0 interceptions, 0 key passes, 0 successful dribbles, 0 fouls won
* Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez (substitute | striker): 9/9 passing (100%), 0 key passes, 0 successful dribbles, 0 fouls won
* Phil Jones (substitute | right-back): 11/12 passing (91%), 0 tackles, 1 interception, 0 clearances, 0 blocks, 1 foul
Sir Alex Ferguson - MUFC Manager
(On the flow of the match...) "We went 1-0 down and coming back was a good part of the game for us. I thought we played very well for the first half an hour of the second-half and maybe we should have finished it then. But in the last 15 minutes I think Benfica came into it a bit and Anders (Lindegaard) made one or two terrific saves to keep us in it. We had one or two chances ourselves but I think a draw was a fair result. You’ve got to expect a tough game with Benfica and one of contrast. When they had possession they did well and when we had it, we played well. That’s what good teams can do. It was that type of match and both teams played their part."
(On working in more players into the squad...) "Most of them have had good game time. Ji-Sung Park and Michael Carrick had a full game. Antonio Valencia and Darren Fletcher both played a good part of the game, as did young Fabio. We needed that because we have important times coming up in the Champions League, the Carling Cup, and the Premier League."
(On looking ahead to Sunday's league clash with Chelsea FC...) ""David De Gea will play on Sunday. That was the understanding we had before the Benfica game and it doesn’t change. We gave Ashley Young a rest tonight as I felt he needed a little break after the two games he played for England and the one for us at Bolton. He is new to the club and obviously every game is massive for him here, so he’ll be nice and fresh for Sunday."
Anders Lindegaard - MUFC Goalkeeper
(On getting the start...) "I've said a thousand times before I'm not here to pick my nose. It was very amusing, great fun and that's the most important part of why you play football - fun. I enjoyed it very much, it was a great night. It's a great stadium to play at, a very loud audience and also I could hear our own fans which was nice. This is why I came to United, to play these kind of games. There's always a bit of nerves and if there isn't then it's not that enjoyable. It makes me feel alive. I'm satisfied with my performance, just a bit sad I didn't save the first goal."
Darren Fletcher - MUFC midfielder (courtesy of MUTV)
(On United's result at Estadio da Luz...) "Obviously we came for the three points and we're disappointed not to get them. But I think a point, away here against a good Benfica side after going a goal down, is a decent point."
(On the flow of the match...) "We expected Benfica to start quick when we saw the stadium and their passionate fans. Obviously we went a goal down but we showed good character to respond and we got a foothold in the game. After we equalised, I felt we controlled the match without getting the chances our possession deserved. There were a few half chances here and there but I felt with our possession that we would go on to get the winner. Unfortunately that didn't happen. That's something we'll need to work on."
(On teammate Ryan Giggs...) ""Giggsy scored a fantastic goal. He's an inspiration to all of us. He's got so much experience, he never misses a day's training, he's always in. He was fantastic on the pitch tonight. He just keeps going and getting better and better which is a credit to him and great for Manchester United."
(On his recovery from a virus and on his return...) "It's great to be back. Two games for Scotland, both full 90 minutes, set me up nicely and I feel fit, I feel ready and it's good to be back in amongst the lads and involved in the squad and be back playing in the Champions League.The lads have started the season fantastically and the manager’s obviously made a few changes tonight with one eye on the match against Chelsea on Sunday. I think he said at the beginning of the season that once the Champions League starts everyone would be involved. That's when the squad game comes into play."