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San Siro
Tuesday, 24 February 2009

19:45




Knockout Stage [Rnd if 16] - First Leg

Inter Milan v. Manchester United
Stadium: Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milan, Italy.
Competition: UEFA Champions League, Round of 16
Date: 24 February 2009
Kickoff: 19:45 GMT, 14:45 ET


Two pre-tournament favorites will do battle as Inter Milan will host defending European champions Manchester United!



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MATCH PREVIEW



Jose Mourinho claims that he was happy to draw Manchester United in the Round of 16. It’s hard to argue with his track record against Sir Alex Ferguson. Mourinho’s Porto squad eliminated Manchester United en route to the 2004 UEFA Champions League title. Additionally, Mourinho’s Chelsea squads had a lot of success against United, defeating them five times in 9 career meetings in England, including a 1-0 triumph in the 2007 F.A. Cup Final. Clearly, The Special One knew a little about how to defeat the Red Devils, which is probably one of the reasons why his name comes up so often as a possible replacement for Sir Alex if and when if finally decides to step down.

However, it’s strange that any club would want to draw the defending champions in the Round of 16, especially one that seems to be rounding into the form the way Manchester United is. Until conceding against Blackburn over the weekend, United had kept a record 14 consecutive clean sheets in the Premiership. They also opened up a seven point lead against Liverpool and look set to win their third consecutive Premiership crown. With a Carling Cup Final next weekend and a quarterfinal date with either Fulham or Swansea in the F.A. Cup, the dream of a Quadruple is still very much alive.

Despite their excellent results, Manchester United have had several injury woes, and the biggest one occurred on Saturday as young centre-back Jonny Evans aggravated an old ankle injury and looks like a major doubt for this match. They were counting on him to provide cover for United as Nemanja Vidic serves a one-match ban for his red card in the World Club Championships. With Wes Brown, Gary Neville, and John O’Shea all injured as well, Sir Alex could be looking at giving young James Chester a baptism by fire or else he could play someone like Darren Fletcher or Michael Carrick out-of-position.

Neither prospect is a particularly tempting one, especially with the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Adriano leading the Inter attack. However, it could end up being much ado about nothing. Mourinho has never been known as an attacking manager, and will probably stay true to his colors. As such, the tie could come down to who wins the battle in the midfield. With excellent ball-winners like Esteban Cambiasso and Javier Zanetti, sharp passers like Dejan Stankovic, great dribblers like Maxwell, and “been-there-done-that” veterans like Patrick Vieira and Luis Figo, Inter’s midfield will be very difficult to handle. United will probably rely on some variation of the 4-5-1 that served them well last season, so we could be in for a heavyweight slugfest of the highest magnitude.

Who will draw first blood in this marquee matchup? Will it the defending champs? Or will the Special One get the best of Sir Alex once again? Cant wait......

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Injury Situation and Evans [manutd.com]



Sir Alex will face a serious selection dilemma should Jonny Evans be ruled out of United’s Champions League clash with Inter Milan on Tuesday.

The young defender limped off against Blackburn Rovers on Saturday evening with a reccurrence of a recent ankle injury.

“It’s a bit sore,” Evans told MUTV after the final whistle. “I kicked the ground when I tried to make a long clearance and now it’s a bit tender.

“I don’t know [if I’ll be ready for Tuesday’s game]. The doctor said he’d have a look at it on Sunday. We’ll have a better idea then.”

The Reds were always going to face the Italian champions without the suspended Nemanja Vidic, but Sir Alex was counting on Evans to plug that gap. Gary Neville and Wes Brown are also out injured, further curtailing the manager’s options in the centre of defence.

“We’ve got some injury issues,” the boss told Setanta Sports. “I just hope I can get two centre-halves fit for the match. At the moment it’s doubtful.

“I’m hoping I’ll have John O’Shea fit as I won’t have Vidic, Neville or Brown either.”

O’Shea injured his heel against Fulham last Wednesday but if neither he nor Evans is fit for Tuesday, the boss could be forced to emply unconventional measures.

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Mourinho - Confident



LONDON — Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho expects nothing less than victory over Manchester United in one of three meetings between English and Italian clubs when the Champions League resumes after a two-month hiatus this week.

While Premier League clubs' recent success in Europe means AS Roma and Juventus may be apprehensive about their games against Arsenal and Chelsea, Mourinho has reason for his optimism ahead of Tuesday's game in Milan.

He lost just one of his 10 matches against United while manager of Chelsea and famously ousted the Red Devils from the Champions League on the way to winning the 2004 title with FC Porto.

Manchester United is the defending European champion and favorite to retain its English league title but Inter's confidence should be high after Saturday's 2-1 win over Bologna kept it nine points clear at the top of Serie A.

"Manchester United are not a better team than us," Mourinho said. "I have played 12 times in the last few years against Manchester United, so I know their qualities, I know their players."

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PLAYERS TO WATCH





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Hopefully Evans or O' Shea will be fit to face Inter. Still think we are going to miss Vidic we did not look safe at the back against Blackburn until Vidic came on
 

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I'm actually quite worried about this game now, United are in immense form, and banging them in whilst keeping team's at bay as well.

But if Evans isn't fit enough (doubtful) to play I haven't got a clue what will happen, I mean what can SAF do, he has Vida suspended, Sheasy/Brown/Neville all out, even James Chester is out on loan :wideeyed:

IF Evans is fit I'd go for ...

VDS

Rafael Evans Rio Evra

Ronaldo Carrick Giggs Park

Berba Rooney

Whereas, if Evans doesn't play (which personally I think is unlikely, as this ALWAYS happens saying someone will miss out and then they don't, esp. in the run up to big games) the solution I thought of was maybe this ...

Rafael - Rio - Evra - Fabio

It is not at all ideal, but it would have to do.

I think if we get anything from this game, even an away goal, I think we have the tie in the bag. I reckon it will finish a draw, we have enough fire power up front to break them down, I'm going for a 1-1 draw.
 

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I'm concerned about our defense for this match. I hope both Evans and JOS will be fit to play against inter tomorrow. This is my team

VDS
JOS Rio Evans Evra
Ronaldo Carrick Giggs Park
Rooney Berbatov
 

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i'm pretty sure evans will make it for this one. rafael will probably play right back, it'll be a big game for him. carrick nad fletcher in midfield. rooney's comeback has been impreesive, id play him upfront with berbatov and take him off in the second half. i think we'll nick this one 1-0, a berbatov header :)
 

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I'm concerned about our defense for this match. I hope both Evans and JOS will be fit to play against inter tomorrow. This is my team

VDS
JOS Rio Evans Evra
Ronaldo Carrick Giggs Park
Rooney Berbatov
exact team id pick. was at OT sat, rafael wasnt at his best defencivly at the weekend, i know he can handle himself but in such a big game id think id rather have the more experienced o'shea in there. inter are decent but wouldn rate them any more than lyon. away goal wuld be nice :yes:
 

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I'm nervously looking forward to this match. It's great to have the Champions League back - there are some terrific ties including ourselves, Liverpool v Real & Chelsea v Juve. However, when the draw was made I thought it'd be tough for us and now with the injury/suspension problems we have in defence I'd definitely take a draw in the San Siro.

I'm hopeful O'Shea and Evans will both be fit. If not then I guess Fletcher will start at right-back. Fingers crossed this will be the starting XI...

VDS
O'Shea Rio Evans Evra
Park Scholes Carrick Ronaldo
Rooney Berbatov

Btw, Rafael, Brown & Neville are all injured. The only defenders we have in the squad are the 4 I've picked in my team + Fabio & Eckersley.
 

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i'm pretty sure evans will make it for this one. rafael will probably play right back, it'll be a big game for him. carrick nad fletcher in midfield. rooney's comeback has been impreesive, id play him upfront with berbatov and take him off in the second half. i think we'll nick this one 1-0, a berbatov header :)
Rafael didn't travel to milan UF
 

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Ditto to what Nemanjaaa said.

I was quite confident about this game, but if Evans doesn't make it I'll be worried. Even if he does make it, I'll be partly worried in case he isn't fit enough and gets injured again or makes a crucial mistake.

I'm not sure whether to go for Giggs or Fletcher. Giggs will obviously be great in there and offer us a lot, but Fletcher's hustling and work-rate works well in the Champions League.

If Evans makes it, I'll go for;

-------------------VDS----------------

Rafael----Ferdinand----Evans----Evra

Ronaldo---Carrick---Giggs/Fletcher---Park

-----------Rooney-----Berbatov---------


If Evans doesn't make it, I have no idea. We might just have to go out and play defensively. :confused:
 

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I have afeeling the team will be;

- - - - - - - - VDS - - - - - - - -
Fletcher - Rio - Evans/O'Shea - Evra
Ron - Carrick - Giggs - Park
- - - - - - - - Rooney - - - - -
- - - - - Berbatov - - - - - - - -

2 nil away win for us rooney and berba
 

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WTH ?

I thought it was O'Shea that was injured not Rafael?? But I found this on BBC


Six defenders travelled with the United squad to Italy for the opening leg of the first knockout round at the San Siro, with two of them carrying injuries.

The holders are without Gary Neville and Wes Brown through injury, while John O'Shea has a sore heel.

The six in the squad are Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra, O'Shea, Evans, Fabio da Silva and youngster Adam Eckersley.


So my team would be the same just with Sheasy replacing Rafael.
 

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Without Vidic, Inter & Ibrahimovic Will Dominate Manchester United - Jose Mourinho

The Special One' has little sympathy for Man Utd and their depleted defensive pool ahead of the midweek clash.

Manchester United's selection problems ahead of the Champions League first leg visit to Inter Milan are so acute that there's no obvious centre-back partner for Rio Ferdinand.

Inter boss Jose Mourinho is relishing the situation, not least the suspension of the Red Devils' stand-out stopper, Nemanja Vidic. The former Chelsea boss only wishes that the Serb was out of the second leg, too, after the defender's sending off in the World Club Cup final in December.

The Nerazzurri coach said in the Daily Telegraph, "I think Nemanja Vidic should be suspended for both legs, not just this week's game.

"We will certainly try to make things uncomfortable for the United defence without him at the San Siro.

"We have almost the whole squad fit and, with the support of our fans and the experience of our players, we can make this very, very tough for United.

"It will not be an open game - we want it to be tight and tactical. The strikers will not have time and room to work in. That makes it important for us that Zlatan Ibrahimovic produces his very top performance.

"He's one of the best players in the world and, although United have a good defensive record this season, they haven't have to deal with [Ibrahimovic]. He's in fantastic physical condition, too."

The tactician is also quoted in the Daily Mirror as saying, "Are United untouchable? No.

"I hope United think like that, though, because they’re not untouchable."

Goal.com
 

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You're a lot more confident than me about this game!!!

I'd happily take a 1-1 or even a 2-1 defeat in the San Siro.
I'd take any type of draw, even a 0-0. Preferably I'd like an away goal, I think if we were to achieve a score draw we will comfortably go through.
 

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It's vital, I think, that we get an away goal, even if we get beat 2-1 which I don't think we will, I am sure we would see them off at Old Trafford.
 

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yea im also a bit worried about the defense. i hope both evans and oshea are ok, id like oshea right back instead of rafael because we need experience.
its a hard game but its a bit too much to say that a 2-1 defeat is good. ok inter is a good team but...

id say a 1-1. for us scores ronaldo from penalty in 33 min. :)

LE. now i have 51 posts from 102. hmmm
 
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