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United stun Lille with Giggs winner
February 21, 2007 06:49 IST
PSV Eindhoven 1 Arsenal 0
A controversial freekick by Ryan Giggs gave Manchester United a 1-0 win over Lille and sparked a near-walkout by the French side in the first leg of their Champions League first knockout round tie on Tuesday.
Giggs took the 82nd-minute kick while the Lille defence were organising their wall and Dutch referee Eric Braamhaar allowed the goal to stand, incensing the French team who threatened to walk off the pitch in protest.
Lille coach Claude Puel, commenting on Giggs' goal, said: "It's not logical. The signal the referee gave was not clear for everyone, especially for us.
"I don't understand. We could not express a formal complaint as we could not find a UEFA delegate," he told Canal Plus.
United manager Alex Ferguson expressed his anger over the French club's threat to walk off saying governing body UEFA must deal with Lille on that issue.
"After we scored, it was disgraceful," Ferguson told a news conference. "It was clear intimidation and it triggered a bad reaction from the fans. (United captain) Gary Neville was hit on the head by an object thrown from the crowd."
Some Lille fans, aggrieved by the award of the goal, pelted Neville with objects as he took a throw-in.
United were fortunate to be on level terms before they went ahead, Lille having had an effort disallowed just past the hour for pushing by scorer Peter Odemwingie on centre back Nemanja Vidic as he leapt forward to head the ball home from close in.
The hosts had pressed forward from the start, knowing they had to score to keep their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals alive before visiting Old Trafford for the second leg.
However, Lille struggled to break down United's solid defence and sorely missed suspended striker Kader Keita. It took them 44 minutes to muster their first clear attempt on goal when midfielder Mathieu Bodmer shot wide.
A minute earlier, Cristiano Ronaldo had come close to opening the scoring for United when he forced goalkeeper Tony Sylva into a dramatic save from a close-range volley.
Lille came out aggressively after the interval with Bodmer again on target after 57 minutes but goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar stuck out a leg to make the save before the hosts had Odemwingie's strike disallowed.
United squandered several good chances in the last half hour, the best a superb chip by Henrik Larsson which went just over following an attacking run down the right by Rooney.
Then Ronaldo outsprinted the Lille defence but his right-footed strike was blocked by the advancing Sylva and Rooney blasted the rebound over the bar.
French riot police briefly intervened and sprayed tears gas at United supporters to dampen potential crowd trouble during the first half as overcrowding in the away section caused some panic among the fans who tried to climb the barriers.
The problems began when one fan climbed over a fence on to the pitch and was taken back to the stands by stewards. Despite some United fans being distressed as they were pushed against the 10-foot high fences calm was restored after a few minutes.
UEFA Champions League 2006-07: The Complete Coverage