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Champions League first knock-out round, first leg

Lille v Manchester United

Date: Tuesday 20 February
Kick off: 1945 GMT
Venue: Stade Felix Bollaert, Lens

Manchester United hope to have a full squad to choose from for their Champions League tie with Lille.

Goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar is in the Red Devils party but rookie Tom Heaton also travelled in case the Dutchman has not fully recovered from a broken nose.

Wayne Rooney is set for a recall after he was suspended for Saturday's FA Cup draw against Reading.

He could partner Henrik Larsson, whose last appearance in this competition was for Barcelona in the 2006 final.

The one minor hiccup to United's preparations is that the pitch at Lens' Stade Bollaert has been declared unfit to train

It means both United and Lille, who did not concede a goal in two meetings with Sir Alex Ferguson's men last season, will instead train at the Lens training ground at La Gayette.

Man Utd (from): Van der Sar, Kuszcak, Heaton, Neville, O'Shea, Ferdinand, Silvestre, Vidic, Evra, Heinze, Brown, Fletcher, Ronaldo, Scholes, Giggs, Carrick, Park, Richardson, Rooney, Saha, Smith, Larsson, Solskjaer.


Who are they? The tournament outsiders at the bookies - 125-1 if you fancy a flutter - it is more than 50 years since they won a French domestic trophy after a period of glory after the Second World War when they lifted silverware on seven occasions.

Recent form: Bad. Three straight wins took them to second in Le Championnat following the winter break in France, but since then they have dropped to third after failing to win in three. Add a French Cup defeat to Nantes into the mix and they have scored just once in their last four games, when they took the lead at the weekend against leaders Lyon. But two goals conceded in the final seven minutes mean the bad run goes on.

European record: Lille made European competition for the first time in 2001. This is their second successive season in the Champions League and last year they enjoyed their best result when a 1-0 win over Manchester United helped them qualify for the Uefa Cup and dump their English opponents out of Europe. They also claimed the scalp of AC Milan in this year's group stage.

How did they get here?: They claimed third spot in Ligue 1 in dramatic fashion on the last day of the season to earn a place in this year's qualifying competition where they beat Macedonian outfit Rabotnicki to reach the group stage where they lost only one match.

Ones to watch: Sir Alex Ferguson will get another chance to watch midfield duo Jean Makoun and Mathieu Bodmer - if the latter proves his fitness. The pair drive Lille on and United have repeatedly been reported to be interested in signing the pair in the past. Cameroonian Makoun - AKA The Cleaner - is the one who does the tidying up with a tenacious attitude in front of the defence which leaves Bodmer, Lille's leading scorer in Le Championnat, to forage forward and find chances in front of goal.

Did you know? Lille's Stade Lille-Metropole does not meet Uefa standards so they play their 'home' fixtures 40km up the road at the Stade Felix Bollaert in Lens. Hopefully keeper Tony Sylva will be kept in the loop. A fortnight ago he made a 8,000km round trip to Senegal for a friendly against Angola only to find out the game had been cancelled and a new match had been re-arranged against Benin in Rouen, just 250km from his home.

They say: "We change our tactics in every match depending on the situation. I'll say our coach Claude Puel holds the ace here. Alex Ferguson is an institution, but we also have good coaches who have what it takes to confront the legend. With a good display the return leg will be a formality."
Peter Odemwingie, Lille striker



Lille and Manchester United have met four times in European history, all in the Champions League.

In the 2001-02 CL campaign, United beat Lille 1-0 in a Group G home match, courtesy of a 90th minute goal from David Beckham. The return match ended in a 1-1 draw through goals by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Bruno Cheyrou. Last season's Champions League Group D encounter at Old Trafford ended 0-0, during which Paul Scholes was sent off. The return in France was won by Lille - Milenko Acimovic scoring the only goal of the game.

European history

Manchester United have won the Champions Cup/Champions League twice (1968, 1999), the Cup Winners' Cup once (1991), the European Super Cup (1991) and the Intercontinental Club Cup (1999). They are taking part in their 12th Champions League season.

United have played 236 European matches, whereas Lille only have 40 games under their belt in Europe. This is only the fourth European season for Lille, their third in the Champions League.

Current European form

Lille reached the last 16 by finishing second in Group H behind AC Milan with nine points from six matches. They have never lost a home match in the Champions League. The run is now up to nine.

Manchester United qualified for the last 16 by winning Group F with 12 points from six matches. They've lost their last two away matches in the CL, 1-0 at Copenhagen and 1-0 at Celtic.

Player and disciplinary info

Lille's Abdul Kader Keita is suspended for this match. United's Paul Scholes will be suspended if booked. He holds the record for most yellow cards (28) in the CL.

Gregory Tafforeau is Lille's most experienced player with 14 appearances. Tafforeau, Nicolas Plestan and Mathieu Chalme have started and finished all CL matches this season. Louis Saha is United's CL top scorer this season with four goals. Goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar is the only United player who has not missed a minute in this CL season.

Other miscellaneous facts

Lille lost at home to Ligue 1 pacesetters Lyon 1-2 on Friday and lie in third place in the table - 18 points behind Lyon.

Manchester United are six points clear of Chelsea at the top of the Premiership, but were held to a 1-1 draw, home to Reading, in the FA Cup on Saturday.

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redmaster said:
A tricky away match in my opinion, I would be happy with 1-1 draw
and so am i! Most importsnt is to keep a clean sheet. Or score a goal ourselves ofcourse. Nothing different from a normal game i would say :D
U score 1 more u win...

But i'd be happy with a draw too

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Manchester United fans were involved in a security scare during the Champions League tie against Lille amid scares they were being crushed in the stands.

A problem erupted 15 minutes into the match at Lens' Stade Felix-Bollaert, with some fans being pushed against the 10-foot-high metal security fences.

Fans reacted angrily, prompting riot police to fire tear gas into the stand.

However, after two fans, one an elderly woman, were lifted over the barriers to safety, the unrest was quelled.

Television reports suggested the gates at the back of the stand had been opened by police to allow Red Devils supporters with tickets for the home section of the stadium to sit with their own fans.

United had expressed concerns about the basic facilities at the ground before the match.

The club was surprised Lille were allowed to move the game to the compact 42,000 stadium in northern France rather than a larger, more modern venue like the Stade de France.

Manchester United secretary Ken Ramsden revealed the club would meet with Uefa and Football Association officials after the game to discuss the incident.

source: BBC

Where did we see that before?! Delighted with the win though :D

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Bartmu said:
does anyone know what what going on in the away stand (manchester stand) during the first half? I heard the french police shot their tear-gas again...
According to reports it was something to do with part of the stand being closed so too many supporters in one part, so some of them were trying to get out..

Luckily they opened to stand for the second half and allowed the fans to spread out.

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mightymanc10 said:
i thought lille were a disgrace when they walked off the pitch and when there fans were throwing things. kick em out of the competition.
The Uefa kicked Feyenoord out of the Uefa-cup for less. The Feyenoord supporters were throwing stuff on the pitch while the players just kept playing. Now there're two things, first the players walk off the pitch then the supporters start throwing things to the United players. The Uefa should show their bollocks now by kicking them out of the CL. It's not that i want to see Lille get banned from further european matches but the Uefa has to be very clear now and deal the same way they did before.

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The worrying thing for me is we aint playing well a good side would have smashed us tonight
Don't worry too much about that mate. True champions also win these kind of matches, that's what making them true champions. United are true champions!!
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