Champions League news

Manchester United missing key men

October 19, 2009
By Soccernet staff

Manchester United have been hit by the absence of five first-team players ahead of Wednesday's Champions League tie with CSKA Moscow.

Sir Alex Ferguson
GettyImagesFerguson has never won a Champions League game in Russia.

Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs, Patrice Evra, Park Ji-sung and Darren Fletcher were all conspicuous by their absence as United flew to the Russian capital on Monday.

Rooney, suffering from a calf strain sustained on international duty that forced him to miss Saturday's win over Bolton, remains a contender to face arch rivals Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday but has not made the squad to face CSKA.

Giggs and Evra both picked up injuries in the 2-1 win over Bolton at Old Trafford while Park and Fletcher, both of whom missed the victory, further deplete Ferguson's midfield options by being unavailable once more.

Dimitar Berbatov and Nemanja Vidic have both flown with the squad despite having knocks but Ferguson is still facing a formidable task with a number of players absent. Indeed, United have even called up Jonny Evans' younger brother, Corry, to boost their numbers for the European trip.

The versatile youngster, 19, can operate in defence or midfield and is yet to represent the first team despite some promising performances for the reserves last season.

United have not beaten Russian opposition in five attempts in the Champions League with their only victory in the country coming in the 2008 final when they defeated Chelsea on penalties. Ferguson's men currently sit top of Group B with six points from two games, with Wolfsburg and Wednesday's opponents three points behind.