Manchester United centre-half Rio Ferdinand and midfielder Anderson are set to miss Tuesday’s quarter-final first-leg tie against Porto. Both picked up injuries while on international duty last week and both sat out training on Monday.
But suspended trio Nemanja Vidic, Wayne Rooney and Paul Scholes all return having missed Sunday’s Premier League victory against Aston Villa. Young striker Federico Macheda is also set to be included in United’s squad.
Macheda scored the last-gasp winner to beat Aston Villa on his debut as United returned back to the top of the Premier League.
“I don’t think any of the injured players will be back against Porto,” said boss Sir Alex Ferguson. But we do have the suspended players back which is good. Vida will play alongside Jonny Evans at the back with John O’Shea at right-back. Rooney and Scholes are also available which will give us a bit more penetration and experience, and Ji-Sung Park will also be ready so I’ve got some good options for Tuesday.”
Ferguson will wait until the last moment to decide on the fitness of veteran pair Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, both of whom played the full 90 minutes on Sunday.
- United are unbeaten in 21 matches in the UEFA Champions League and enter this contest also aiming to extend a run of 19 games without defeat at Old Trafford in the competition.
- Porto have never won in England, where ten of eleven visits have ended in defeat, although the one occasion when they did avoid defeat – a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford in the 2003/04 first knockout round second leg – eliminated United from the competition.
- This is United’s 15th quarter-final tie in Europe’s élite club competition and their record is: P14 W10 L4.
- Sir Alex’s men beat AS Roma at this stage in both 2007 and 2008 and are now seeking a third consecutive semi-final appearance – a first for the English champions.
- Porto have won three of their five quarter-finals in Europe’s premier club competition and have triumphed in two of the clubs’ three previous two-legged contests.
Even though they are not playing well I expect Man United to win this tie, but I think it wil be closer than people expect. My prediction is 2-1 for United over the two legs.