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Rangers Defensive Masterclass Halts Man United Superstars

Rangers were accused of playing anti football last season by Barcelona and no doubt there will be the same accusations in the press tomorrow after the way they played tonight.

BUT, but, there is a huge difference in player class between these two sides and sometimes you have to play to your strengths, as Rangers did tonight.

When playing one of the best teams in the world, most teams would play the same way so the anti football tag is un warranted in this case.

Rangers picked up a well deserved point on their travels in their opening Champions League match, putting on a defensive masterclass to hold Manchester United to a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford.

A much-changed United side were unable to make the breakthrough against a resolute Gers side, who packed the middle of the park with a five man defence and a four man midfield who worked tirelessly to get behind the ball whenever they lost possession.

Rangers' determination to shut out United meant for a game short on incident, with Kirk Broadfoot involved in the two main incidents of note during the game.

The makeshift left wing back was the nearest to Antonio Valencia when the winger caught his studs in the turf, breaking his ankle and immediately drawing concern from Broadfoot for assistance.

Broadfoot then had a reasonable shout for a penalty kick shortly after when he ventured forward, appearing to be clipped on the heel by defender Chris Smalling just inside the area. But the referee, together with his additional official behind the goal, were quick to wave away any protests.

Wayne Rooney was restored to Sir Alex Ferguson's side, having been dropped from the United team which drew 3-3 at Everton at the weekend. Rio Ferdinand also made a return to action after recovering from the knee injury which ruled him out of the World Cup.

In total, Ferguson made 10 changes from his starting line-up at Goodison Park and the new faces struggled to gel sufficiently to put Rangers under any significant pressure.

The home side saw plenty of the ball in the opening exchanges but, faced with a swarm of blue shirts guarding Allan McGregor's goal, were unable to find an attacking rhythm to carve out any clear-cut chances.

Rangers grew in confidence and were happy to retain the ball in their own half, patiently trying to work the ball forward down the flanks and into lone striker Kenny Miller.

United continued to try and bully their way through the middle of the park and, with Rangers continuing to clear the lines, were restricted to long-range efforts from Darron Gibson which often sailed well wide of the target.

The second period continued in the same vain before Ferguson was forced into removing wide man Valencia from the action. The Ecuadorian was beaten to the ball by Kirk Broadfoot but appeared to then catch his studs in the turf, breaking his ankle.

Ryan Giggs was introduced to the action as a result after a lengthy stoppage and gave more width to his team but they were still unable to make the breakthrough. The Welsh wizard's first contribution was to whip in a dangerous looking cross for an out-of-sorts Rooney, who failed to get his header on target.

United continued to push without reward and Rangers worked the space on the counter attack well, with Papac and McCulloch both going close to snatching an unlikely goal.

But a point from Old Trafford in their opening match is a result anyone involved with the club would have taken going into the game, their performance in matching the English Premier League side giving them a morale boost ahead of their next game with Bursaspor in two week's time.


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