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Is fragile Man. United up to the task? [VIDEO]
by Paul Kennedy, April 15th, 2009 7AM



[UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] Manchester United will probably need to accomplish what no other English club has done and win at Porto's Dragao Stadium on Wednesday (TV: ESPN2, live, 2:30 pm ET) to advance to the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League. Five years ago, United fell to Porto, coached by Jose Mourinho, on a late goal that marked the beginning of the end of Tim Howard's stint as the United No. 1 keeper.

Sir Alex Ferguson on the second leg ...

United only needed a tie to go through in 2004. This time, it will probably need a win after last week's 2-2 draw in Manchester.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson expects to start Rio Ferdinand, whose return should boost the United defense that has looked very shaky in the last month. Ferdinand has been suffering from a groin injury.

United looked bad on both Porto goals -- by Cristian Rodriguez in the fourth minute and Mariano with one minute to play.

"We only have ourselves to blame," Ferguson said of the tying goal. "It just exemplified the fragile nature of our defending at the moment."

Possible teams:
Porto -- 1-Helton; 2-Bruno Alves, 14-Rolando, 21-Sapunaru, 28-Cissokho; 8-Lucho Gonzalez, 16-Raul Meireles, 25-Fernando; 9-Lisandro Lopez, 10-Rodriguez, 12-Hulk
Manchester United -- 1-van der Sar; 22-O'Shea, 5-Ferdinand, 15-Vidic, 3-Evra; 24-Fletcher, 16-Carrick, 18-Scholes; 7-Cristiano Ronaldo, 10-Rooney, 9-Berbatov.

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