Rangers - Manchester United Report

Last updated : 22 October 2003 By Mr_Winchester
Rangers came so close to snatching a draw which their overall play deserved, but it was Manchester United who took the crucial three points which puts them joint top of Champion's league Group E with Stuttgart.
The visitors' goal came after only five minutes when Phil Neville latched onto Ruud van Nistelrooy's pass before advancing unchallenged at a retreating Rangers defence and placing his shot low past Stefan Klos. The goal stunned Ibrox into silence and United knocked the ball about with confidence.

However, Peter Lovenkrands looked in the mood for the home side and after heading over a Michael Ball cross he cut in before unleashing a drive that was held by Tim Howard. Rangers then wasted two golden chances in the space of a hectic five-minute spell. From Mikel Arteta's corner Gary Neville blocked Lovenkrands' header and then Fernando Ricksen's drive was deflected to Paolo Vanoli who screwed his shot wide from six yards. Vanoli again was at fault when he shot weakly wide after another Arteta corner had reached him. Shota Arveladze also went close as Rangers enjoyed their best spell of the game when he struck a powerful 30-yard shot that Howard was thankful to touch over the bar. As half time approached Ball did well to intercept a Ryan Giggs pass that looked to release van Nistelrooy on a swift break. Rangers then had a narrow escape when Mikael Silvestre's header from a Giggs corner was cleared off the line by Arteta.

United pushed forward in search of a killer second goal after the break and van Nistelrooy shot wide before Roy Keane's well-struck 18-yard drive was parried by Klos. The Ibrox side went close to equalising when Craig Moore's header was blocked on the line by Phil Neville. Lovenkrands then met another Arteta corner perfectly but could only hit his effort straight into the arms of Howard as United looked rocky. Van Nistelrooy always looked dangerous on the break and Klos needed to be sharp to deny the Dutch striker. In a pulsating finish Lovenkrands cut between two defenders before shooting inches wide of the far post. In the closing stages, substitute Christian Nerlinger's powerful effort from a Michael Mols lay-off was well saved by Howard. In the final minute, Paul Scholes intercepted Henning Berg's pass and appeared to be brought down by Moore but amazingly the referee turned down United's claims for a penalty.

Rangers: Klos, Khizanishvili (Ross 86), Berg, Moore, Ball, Ricksen, Arteta, Vanoli (Nerlinger 67), Lovenkrands, Arveladze, Mols
Subs not used: McGregor, Emerson, Ostenstad, Capucho, Hughes

Man Utd: Howard, Gary Neville, Ferdinand, Silvestre, O'Shea, Phil Neville (Butt 85), Keane, Scholes, Fortune (Djemba-Djemba 90), Van Nistelrooy, Giggs
Subs not used: Carroll, Ronaldo, Bellion, Forlan, Fletcher

Attendance: 48,730

Referee: Anders Frisk (Sweden)

Editorial Team

Ger Harley (ger@scottishfitba.net)
Vanderhogg (vanderhogg@scottishfitba.net)