[UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE]
Like Tuesday's Barcelona-Chelsea game, the offensive explosion expected from Manchester United-Arsenal never materialized. United
scored early on a goal by John O'Shea
, but that was all the scoring Wednesday at Old Trafford, and United takes a narrow 1-0 lead into next Tuesday's
return leg in Arsenal.
United pounded Arsenal goalie Manuel Almunia
early in the match and scored in the 17th minute when O'Shea, free in
the penalty area, beat Almunia with a half-volley from eight yards after Michael Carrick
had turned Anderson
corner kick back across goal.
The closest United came after that was when Cristiano Ronaldo
hit the crossbar with a dipping shot.
Despite the narrow score, United manager Sir Alex Ferguson
was happy with the outcome.
"The most pleasing aspect is that before the game we
said try and win and not lose a goal and we have done that," he said. "And the performance level was very good, so we have achieved that. and I think we have given ourselves a good chance
Still, Ferguson acknowledged that United did not achieve a knockout blow.
"We always do things the hard way," he said, "and this is another
night when we have got our fans frustrated where we maybe should be into the final but we are not -- but we have done that many times. We did it in the last round, and we will have to go through
the process of taking the game to the wire probably."
The Premier League race is also going to the wire, so Ferguson can't rest his first team on Saturday.
"That's Arsenal's big advantage now, they could play [assistant manager] Pat Rice
at right back and [Manager] Arsene [Wenger]
at center forward if they like, it doesn't matter to them at Portsmouth," he said. "We have to play a team to win at Middlesbrough. It's a lunch-time
kickoff and I don't think that's right but we will have to get on with it." April 29 in Manchester Manchester United 1 Arsenal 0.
Goal: John O'Shea 17 Manchester United --
van der Sar, O'Shea, Ferdinand (Evans, 88), Vidic, Evra,
Fletcher, Carrick, Anderson (Giggs, 67), Cristiano Ronaldo, Tevez (Berbatov, 67), Rooney. Arsenal --
Almunia, Sagna, Toure, Silvestre, Gibbs, Diaby,
Song, Walcott (Bendtner, 71), Fabregas, Nasri, Adebayor (Eduardo, 83). Referee:
Claus Bo Larsen (Denmark). Att.: