Man United host injury hit Inter Milan

Updated: 10 March 2009 10:45 IST

Man United appear unstoppable as they chase an unprecedented five titles in one season.


Manchester United appear unstoppable as they chase an unprecedented five titles in one season, and Inter Milan's chances of halting the Red Devils in the Champions League have been hit by an injury crisis in defense.

The knockout phase of European football's most prestigious competition resumes with the second legs and Man United goes into Wednesday's game at Old Trafford level at 0-0 but with an embarrassment of riches in attack while Inter has just lost two key defenders and may have two more missing.

Nicolas Burdisso hurt his right leg and tore a ligament in his left knee in Saturday's 2-0 victory over Genoa and Marco Materazzi injured his left leg. Materazzi may miss three weeks, while Burdisso could be out for six weeks.

"(Christian) Chivo, (Walter) Samuel, Burdisso and Materazzi are out if you ask me," said Inter coach Jose Mourinho, who renews his rivalry with Ferguson.

Mourinho led Chelsea to back-to-back Premier League titles in his first two seasons in English football and also won the FA Cup final against Ferguson's team.

Although Inter is seven points ahead in the Serie A title race, it has not won the European title since 1965 and now takes on the defending champions.

United moved into the semifinal of the FA Cup on Saturday with a 4-0 victory at Fulham with two goals from Carlos Tevez and will face Chelsea for a place in the final.

United's triumphs in the Club World Cup in November and last weekend's League Cup took Ferguson's total of trophies to 24 in 23 seasons and his team is also seven points ahead in the Premier League title race with a game in hand.

Ferguson rested Cristiano Ronaldo and put Dimitar Berbatov on the bench to keep them fresh and fit for the return leg against Inter. Defender Nemanja Vidic returns to the side for the second leg after missing the first leg in Milan through suspension.

Held 3-3 by AS Roma and beaten 3-0 by Sampdoria in the Italian Cup semifinals, Inter rallied with a 2-0 victory over Genoa on Saturday with Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring after two minutes having missed those two earlier games.

"I feel good. I'm better than a few days ago. I played 90 minutes and I didn't feel any problem," said Ibrahimovic, who has a poor game in the first leg in Milan. "We're going in with even more confidence. Anything can happen and we're going there to win."

Among Tuesday's games, Liverpool hosts Real Madrid and is already 1-0 ahead but has fitness fears surrounding striker Fernando Torres.

Real Madrid's 10-game winning streak in La Liga ended with a 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid on Saturday and, with six points now to make up on Barcelona, may have to concentrate on the Champions League.

"The match is like a final and only a win will do for us," Madrid coach Juande Ramos said. "We'll go there with all the optimism in the world to win a match which will be tough and attractive. The players have a huge desire to make the fans happy."

Ramos could recall his joint-top scorer this season, 14-goal Gonzalo Higuain, who he left on the bench for the Atletico game before fielding him early in the second half. Higuain looks set to replace the cup-tied Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.

Facing one of his former clubs, Juventus coach Claudio Ranieri hopes that his team can overturn a 1-0 deficit and believes that Chelsea's away form in this competition is not as good as in domestic competitions.

"English clubs can struggle on the road. Our fans really need to give us a hand," said Ranieri, who rested Alessandro Del Piero and David Trezeguet in Saturday's 1-0 derby win over Torino. "We need to play like we know how and score goals."

Panathinaikos and Villarreal are level at 1-1 but Bayern Munich is virtually through to the quarterfinal, already 5-0 ahead of Sporting Lisbon and with home advantage.

Three of Wednesday's games start off level while AS Roma has to overturn Arsenal's 1-0 advantage.

FC Porto-Atletico Madrid are level at 2-2 and Barcelona hopes to beat Lyon and make it to the last eight.

Barcelona's four-game run without a victory ended with a 2-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao on Saturday and Josep Guardiola's team, now six points ahead in the league and also in the Copa del Rey final, is chasing three titles.

"We have corrected a few things and we have shown our best level although if we don't win, the doubts will return," Guardiola said. "We're on the right track. Sometimes you can play badly but the attitude is always good and people value that."

Barcelona's victory over Bilbao was marred by captain Carles Puyol picking up a left ankle sprain which will rule him out for three weeks.

Topics : Football Bayern Munchen
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