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UEFA Champions League – Manchester United vs. Olympique Marseille 2-1 – VIDEO

UEFA Champions League – Manchester United vs. Olympique Marseille 2-1 – VIDEO

Will Fabio da Silva and his Manchester United teammates celebrate after the game with Olympique? PHOTO by Matt West / ISIPhotos.com

Will Fabio da Silva and his Manchester United teammates celebrate after the game with Olympique? PHOTO by Matt West / ISIPhotos.com

By Chris Reiko

1-0  Javier Hernandez (5)

2-0  Javier Hernandez (75)

2-1   Wes Brown (82 – own goal)

Entertaining first leg end up scoreless in Marseille, but Red Devils taking home this result as good news. Manchester United has never lost to French opponent at Old Trafford and that is only one of the reasons why for Olympique de Marseille this trip to England, it’s almost like mission impossible.

United, have won 8 and drawn 3 of 11 previous encounters against Ligue 1 sides at Old Trafford, why would you bet agains them?

Olympique won European title in 1992/93 season, when Basile Boli scored the game winner against AC Milan. Controversial owner Bernard Tapie built the team that France never had before, but just about year after winning the European trophy things went downhill for Marseille.  Owner Bernard Tapie name was mentioned in match fixing scandals, he was forced to step down, and team was relegated to 2nd division. Since then no Ligue 1 side reach the last eight of the competition.

Sir Alex Ferguson as coach, also has positive statistics against teams from Ligue 1, and his group is clear favorite to advance. Early goal for Marseille may complicate things, but United defense was recently tested by offensively explosive Arsenal and they kept clean sheet.

The Marseille Manager Didier Deschamps knows French teams history and statistics on Old Traford. PHOTO by Steve Bardens / ISIPhotos.com

The Marseille Manager Didier Deschamps knows French teams history and statistics on Old Traford. PHOTO by Steve Bardens / ISIPhotos.com

INJURY UPDATE

United

Antonio Valencia was a second-half substitute on Saturday on his return from the dislocated and fractured left ankle he suffered against Rangers on September 14.

Nani went off at half-time at Liverpool having suffered a gashed leg and was subsequently, initially ruled out until April, but I will not be surprised if he plays on Tuesday

Rio Ferdinand (out since 1 February, calf), Jonny Evans (5 February, ankle), Park Ji-Sung (11 February, hamstring),

Michael Owen (18 February, groin) and Anderson (19 February, knee) have all been sidelined.

Olympique

Valbuena damaged left knee ligaments on 22 January, returning for substitute appearances against United and Nancy before suffering a relapse in training on 2 March. He came on six minutes from time at Rennes, however.

André-Pierre Gignac played against Lille on his return from a groin injury that ruled him out of the first leg. Gignac came on at half-time for Lucho González, who picked up a muscular problem but started at Rennes. Gignac, however, went off with 19 minutes remaining in Rennes having sustained a minor strain to his left ankle.

Hilton came on against Nancy after recovering from a groin problem; his first appearance since October 2.

COACHES

Sir Alex Ferguson does not need any extra words, coaching legend that world of soccer love and appreciate what he has done not only for United, but for the sport in general. However last time he won Champions League was in 2008, after Chelsea John Terry missed penalty kick in Moscow.

Olympique coach Didier Deschamps one day might have similar resume to his Tuesday’s opponent, perhaps without a “Sir” before his first name. Legendary Deschamps knows how to lead, and knows how to win. He captained France to victory on home soil in 1998 FIFA World Cup and at UEFA EURO 2000, retiring that year with 103 caps for NT. SAF experience and club stability gives him coaching advantage in this match, but both teams should create good show.

MEET THE REF

UEFA made interesting selection for this game picking an engineer from Madrid Carlos Velasco Carballo, who so far was a referee in only 3 Champions League games and 19 in other competitions. We wish him well, but 39-years old Spaniard might be busy on Old Traford, and is tough to say what to expect from him.

PREDICTION

One of my favorite ex-player and current OM coach Didier Deschamps agenda and dream would be to have his team score a goal on Old Traford, but this is dream of many sides. After close game, I am expecting Manchester United to advance. I believe that at home, Red Devils will find the way to score at least once, and their win on Tuesday will be 150th in UEFA competition. 

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