UEFA Champions League

September 14, 2005

Full-time

Villarreal

0 - 0

Manchester United

Group D

18:45 +00:00, September 14, 2005

Estadio El Madrigal, Spain

Referee: Kim Nielsen

  • 91'

    FULL-TIME: Villarreal can't take advantage of Rooney's dismissal in a cagey opening to the group stages.

  • 90'

    The corner causes a moment of panic in the United penalty area, though the home side have no-one on hand to get on the end of the loose ball.

  • 89'

    Oooh! The ball is touched to Senna, who strikes a shot goalwards. The effort flicks off the back of Ferdinand and clips the crossbar before going out for a corner.

  • 88'

    Silvestre gives away a free-kick 35 yards out when he brings down Tacchinardi...

  • 87'

    I think both sides will be happy with a point from tonight's game; United having had a man sent off, especially.

  • 86'

    Villarreal win a corner off Ferdinand, and they throw everyone forward. United deal with the initial set-piece well and Villarreal can't create anything with the loose ball.

  • 85'

    United aren't helping themselves by giving the ball away in dangerous areas, Scholes being particularly guilty as the game draws to a close.

  • 84'

    Oooh! Roger decides to shoot from 30 yards, and his left-foot strike has Van der Sar worried for a moment, though it drifts a yard past his right-hand post.

  • 83'

    The game has slowed to almost a standstill.

  • 82'

    Villarreal look a little clueless without their playmaker Riqueleme; nothing they have tried has come off around the penalty area.

  • 80'

    Giggs' touch lets him down as he sprints on to a lofted ball over the top of the Villarreal defence. He has to check on to his left foot, which gives the home side time to get men back.

  • 79'

    Viera claims a United corner very comfortably. United didn't have too many players committed forward for that set-piece.

  • 78'

    SUBS: Van Nistelrooy and Ronaldo off; Park and Giggs on. Two pairs of fresh legs for United as they try to see out this match.

  • 77'

    Oooh! Senna bursts in to the right-side of the penalty area, cuts a low pass back across the box towards Sorin, but the veteran rather scuffs his first-time shot and it ends in the arms of Van der Sar.

  • 76'

    Forlan receives some rough treatment from Silvestre, but the referee waves 'play on'.

  • 75'

    Sorin's cross in to the penalty area is deflected and Van der Sar claims easily. There doesn't seem to be any urgency about the home side.

  • 74'

    United are doing a good job of taking the sting out of the match, keeping hold of the ball and staying organised and hard-working in defence.

  • 73'

    United prepare to make a couple more changes, with Giggs looking lively and full of beans in the dugout.

  • 72'

    Villarreal aren't exactly throwing men forward in search of this winning goal; it's difficult to see that there are ten against eleven.

  • 71'

    England coach Sve-Goran Eriksson is spotted in the crowd; he doesn't look particularly impressed with what he's seeing.

  • 70'

    Oooh! O'Shea gets a crucial head on a cross heading towards Sorin's left boot at the far post.

  • 69'

    Senna lofts a long ball over the top of the top of the United defence, but it is too long for Sorin.

  • 68'

    SUB: Hector Font off, Roger on. A final change from the home side; Roger will be asked to play in behind the front two and create chances.

  • 66'

    Oooh! Richardson does very well to skip around his marker on the left wing and send over a tempting cross in to the near post, but, for once, Vieria shows good confidence to claim the bouncing ball.

  • 65'

    United face a tricky final twenty minutes now, as Villarreal look for a second goal to secure a famous first victory in the Champions League.

  • 64'

    Ferguson will be furious with Rooney for getting himself dismissed so needlessly. He was probably right to be annoyed to be booked for the initial challenge, but his reponse was nonsensical.

  • 63'

    SUB: Figueroa on, Guayre off. An attacking change from the home side, who bring on former Birmingham City striker Figueroa to replace the ineffective Guayre.

  • 62'

    Rooney's petulance has landed his side in trouble. It was a ridiculous decision to gesture so close the referee's face, and he left Nielsen with no other option.

  • 61'

    OFF! Rooney is booked for a challenge on the full-back. He mocks the referee for the decision by clapping in his face, and Nielsen responds by showing the young forward a second yellow card.

  • 60'

    Ronaldo's free-kick in to the area is punched away from danger by Viera; the young Villarreal goalkeeper has looked a little shakey on balls delivered in to his penalty area.

  • 59'

    Ferdinand takes the ball out of defence and almost gets all the way in to the Villarreal penalty area, though he is eventually tackled.

  • 58'

    United have plenty of attacking options on the bench, with Park and Giggs currently warming up on the touchlines.

  • 57'

    Rodriguez does well to cut out Rooney's low pass in to the area, which was aimed towards Van Nistelrooy.

  • 56'

    Oooh! Sorin fails to connect with a wild right-foot swipe from a cross from the right wing.

  • 55'

    The pace of the game has slowed once again, with lots of neat, sideways passing in midfield without threatening to create any chances.

  • 54'

    The crowd are coming to life a little now, but the atmosphere is still nowhere near as hot as it was an hour or so ago.

  • 53'

    United have started the second half slightly the stronger, but Villarreal still look strong at the back and well-capable of threatening on the break.

  • 52'

    Oooh! Rooney flicks up a short pass from Van Nistelrooy on the edge of the area, and fires a low volley gowalwards. His shot takes a deflection and skips narrowly past the post for a corner.

  • 51'

    ...Scholes drifts the ball in, Smith heads goalwards, but Van NIstelrooy can't turn the ball goalwards from inside the penalty area.

  • 51'

    Ronaldo is fouled, 30 yards out. Rooney's free-kick is deflected wide for a corner...

  • 50'

    Forlan should have done better there; he had time to take the ball in to the area and he should have at least worked the keeper.

  • 50'

    Oooh! Sorin brilliantly slides in Forlan down the left channel, but his first-time right-foot shot flies wide of Van der Sar's far post.

  • 49'

    The corner is lofted high outside the area to Rooney, who attempts a very ambitious volley from 25 yards. He strikes it well, but the wall of Villarreal defenders running towards him block his shot.

  • 49'

    Rooney has a left-foot volley from the edge of the area blocked by Romero. Corner.

  • 48'

    United win a corner, but Villarreal deal with it easily and launch a counter attack of their own. Fletcher gets back to break it up.

  • 47'

    It has been a very slow start to this second half; all of the play has been inside the middle third of the pitch. Even the atmosphere seems a little flat.

  • 46'

    I suppose both sides will be reasonably pleased with a point from this opening fixture, so it isn't surprising that it has been a cagey affair.

  • 45'

    SUB: Tacchinardi on, Josico off. The veteran Italian Tacchinardi has been involved in four Champions League finals over the duration of his career.

  • 46'

    HALF-TIME: Not a thrilling half of football, but certainly an interesting one.

  • 45'

    Nielsen annoys the home fans by giving two consecutive free-kick decisions against Villarreal.

  • 44'

    The game has really come to life in the final few minutes of the first half; hopefully the second period will be played with the same tempo.

  • 43'

    Sorin takes the free-kick, but the United defensive wall does its job and the ball is cleared.

  • 42'

    Guayre is sent sprinting clear through the middle, but Ferdinand and Richardson combine to bring the striker down. Free kick on the very edge of the penalty area, and Richardson is booked.

  • 41'

    Oooh! The free-kick is whipped in to the middle, but Viera spills it. Ferdinand heads goalwards, but Ferdandez brilliantly hooks the ball off the line and away to safety.

  • 41'

    Gonzalez is booked for bringing down Richardson out on the left wing.

  • 40'

    Sir Alex Ferguson is showing a few signs of concern as he sits in the plush dugouts.

  • 39'

    Oooh! Viera in the Villarreal goal seems utterly indifferent as Ronaldo curls a free-kick narrowly over his crossbar.

  • 38'

    The match hasn't been played at the quickest of tempo's, and hopefully that chance will spark the game in to life.

  • 37'

    Oooh! Outstanding save from Van der Sar, palming away Arruabarrena's volley from seven or eight yards. Great reactions from the lanky Dutchman.

  • 36'

    Sorin wins his side a free-kick out on the left wing when O'Shea puts a friendly arm around his neck.

  • 35'

    Richardson and Ferdinand combine to block off Arruabarrena as he threatened to shoot inside the penalty area. Good spell for Villarreal.

  • 33'

    Smith makes his first telling tackle of the match, tracking back to get a vital challenge in on Sorin as the veteran midfielder was shaping to shoot.

  • 32'

    ...Scholes feigns to shoot before clipping a cross towards Fletcher, but Villarreal head clear.

  • 32'

    SUB: Heinze off, Richardson on. An enforced change from Ferguson, who sends on youngster Richardson to replace the injured Argentine warrior.

  • 31'

    Van Nistelrooy wins his side a free-kick, 40 yards from goal. Scholes lines up an improbable shot...

  • 30'

    Arruabarrena fires in another low cross towards Forlan in the middle, but Ferdinand clears. The home side seem to have a very definite preference to send low, rather than looping, crosses in towards Forlan.

  • 29'

    Heinze is back on the field. He skips around for a moment or two, attempting to simulate kicking a football, before jogging gaily in to position.

  • 28'

    Heinze is back on his feet. He is flexing his knee with some concern. Then he sits down again, and the United physio administers some further treatment.

  • 27'

    Play continues without Heinze, while Richardson begins to strip off in the United dugout.

  • 26'

    Heinze is still on the ground requiring treatment. He is strapped to a stretcher before being carried from the field by four men who resemble butchers.

  • 26'

    Heinze rolls around on the ground with some vigour. He holds his hand to his face, and is doing a convincing impression of a man in some distress.

  • 25'

    Rooney sends over a great cross to Van Nistelrooy at the back post, but his header is placed a couple of yards wide. The linesman had his flag raised for off-side in any case.

  • 24'

    A dangerous cross from the right by Kromkamp narrowly evades Forlan at the near post; the Villarreal striker was well shepherded by Ferdinand.

  • 22'

    United are putting together some nice passing moves, but they are too far out to cause the home side any real problems.

  • 21'

    Sorin seems to have a slight injury somewhere in his leg; he sporadically feels it tenderly, wincing as he does so.

  • 20'

    There's not been much goal-mouth action to speak of in the opening stages; neither midfield has had a chance to stamp authority on the game.

  • 19'

    United are enjoying a lot of the ball in the middle third, but they aren't being allowed to get too close to the Villarreal goal; the home side are showing good organisation.

  • 18'

    O'Shea fouls Forlan, just inside the United half. Forlan looks very lively tonight; he seems keen to prove United were wrong to let him go last season.

  • 17'

    Oooh! Barbosa pulls of a superb save from Silvestre's header, arrowing in towards the bottom corner of the goal.

  • 16'

    Ronaldo wins a corner when his cross from the left is put behind.

  • 15'

    Villarreal had a little trouble with Everton's direct approach in their two-leg tie previous to the group stages; perhaps United should think about throwing a few high balls in to Van Nistelrooy.

  • 14'

    Guayre opts to shoot from 30 yards, although perhaps the wiser option was to try and feed either Forlan or Senna, pulling away on the flanks.

  • 13'

    Guayre gets in behind the United defence down the right-hand side, but his low cross is cleared by Heinze.

  • 11'

    Alan Smith doesn't seem to have settled in to his midfield role as yet; he is giving the ball away with alarming regularity, and isn't winning many tackles.

  • 10'

    The opening ten minutes have been fairly even; both sides have enjoyed spells on the ball without creating any really clear chances.

  • 9'

    Oooh! Barbosa is quick off his line to smother the ball after it was almost deflected in to Van Nistelrooy's path on the edge of the penalty area.

  • 9'

    Villarreal are causing United a few problems in the early stages, though Silvestre and Ferdinand seem to have things in control.

  • 8'

    Forlan shows good pace in a race with Ferdinand, though Heinze comes across from the left-back position to cover the danger.

  • 7'

    The referee tonight is Kim Morten Neilsen; the Scandinavian bean-pole who once, famously, sent David Beckham off during an England World Cup quarter final against Argentina.

  • 6'

    Oooh! Ronaldo chips a cross in to the far post, the ball is headed to Scholes, but his left-foot volley from a tight angle is blocked by Josico.

  • 5'

    Forlan seems to operate with a shoot-on-sight policy. Ferdinand gets in the way of his first effort of the night.

  • 4'

    Sorin breaks in to the United penalty area before feeding Forlan to his right, though the long-haired former Red's low cross is cleared by O'Shea.

  • 3'

    El Madrigal is a tight little stadium, but the Villarreal fans are a passionate bunch and they are getting behind their side tonight.

  • 3'

    United are lining up in their now familiar 4-3-3 formation, with Rooney and Ronaldo supporting Van Nistelrooy up front.

  • 2'

    Villarreal have an exceptional home record in Europe over the past couple of seasons, and United have a poor record in Spain, so we could be in for an interesting evening tonight.

  • 1'

    Rooney wins his side an early free-kick when he is fouled by Rodriguez as they challenged for a bouncing ball.

  •  

    Villarreal kick us off.

  •  

    Team news: Riquelme is out for Villarreal, although Keane is also missing for United.

  •  

    The players are lining up in the tunnel, and there is already a sensational atmosphere inside the stadium.

  •  

    Old Trafford flop turned European golden boot winner Diego Forlan returns to Manchester tonight with his Villarreal team-mates intent on proving his many doubters wrong. Follow all the action from 7.45 and see if it's many happy returns for the man they used to call 'Aunt Sally'. Football fans can be a cruel bunch...