Rangers hold United, Valencia suffers horror injury
Manchester United were held to a goalless draw by Rangers as their Champions League campaign got off to a disappointing start on Tuesday, dpa reported.
To make matters worse Ecuador midfielder Luis Antonio Valencia was stretchered off just after the hour with what was fairly clearly a serious break to the lower part of the shin.
Those close to the incident described it as "horrific" and so sickening was it considered to be that television declined to show replays.
"It's a dislocation and a fracture - it's a bad one, it'll keep him out for a long time," said United manager Sir Alex Ferguson. "He seemed to dig his toe in the turf.
Wayne Rooney returned for United after missing Saturday's 3-3 draw at Everton as manager Sir Alex Ferguson chose to spare him abuse from fans of his former club relating to recent allegations about his private life.
His comeback was one of ten changes from Saturday's starting line-up, with Rio Ferdinand making his return after a knee injury sustained last May.
The aim was presumably twofold: to shake those responsible for conceding a 3-1 lead with a minute remaining, and to rest players ahead of the weekend meeting with Liverpool.
"People will ask why I didn't pick a strong team," Ferguson said. "But I think I played a strong team. They should have won that game."
The result, though, was a disjointed performance against a Rangers side who sat nine men behind the ball for much of the game, and defended doggedly.
"It's a great start for us," said Rangers 40-year-old defender David Weir. "We were quite defensive - we set our stall out. We played three in the middle so we knew they'd have to play out wide and that anything through the middle was likely to be long shots.
"It's difficult - it's about concentration because it just takes one slip."
With United looking tentative, and Rooney starved of service and all but anonymous, there was very little in the way of goalmouth incident.
Javier Hernandez looped a header just wide from a Fabio cross after 12 minutes, and Darron Gibson sent a low drive skidding a fraction off target 11 minutes before the break, but Rangers held out comfortably enough to half-time.
It was indicative of the limit of their ambitions that goalkeeper Alan McGregor was booked for time-wasting in the final minute of the half.
Gibson flashed a volley just wide as Majid Bougherra struggled to get distance on a clearing header.
With impatience mounting inside Old Trafford, Valencia was given oxygen then carried off following a challenge with Kirk Broadfoot.
There was nothing malicious in the tackle, the injury caused by the way Valencia's leg buckled under him. Broadfoot looked on, hands clasped to his head in horror and disbelief.
Broadfoot probably should have had a penalty as his ankle was clipped in the top corner of the box by Chris Smalling, but it was incident that just didn't look like a penalty and the Portuguese referee Olegario Benquerenca didn't give it.
United's only real chances came from Gibson - a long-range drive that arced just over; a deflected effort that curved just wide - and Rangers in the end were relatively comfortable.
"Rangers came here and set their stall out to defend and you have to respect that; they did well at what they came to do," said Ferdinand.
"It's just one of those things - we passed the ball side to side but didn't really cut through them."