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Rooney, Ronaldo return for Lyon visit
March 03, 2008 18:16 IST
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson will call on a rested Cristiano Ronaldo [Images] and Wayne Rooney [Images] to fire his side into the Champions League quarter-finals at the expense of Olympique Lyon on Tuesday.
The duo came on as late second-half substitutes as United brushed Fulham aside 3-0 on Saturday to maintain their pursuit of Premier League leaders Arsenal.
The tie with French champions Lyon is evenly poised, albeit with United having an away goal in the bank after a late Carlos Tevez strike secured United a 1-1 draw in Lyon last week.
United have an impressive Champions League home record and conceded just one goal in three group games at Old Trafford this season. They have also not lost at home to a French side in European competition.
"We've got to win against Lyon - it's a massive game for the club. All the players realise that," Ferguson told the club's Web site.
"The pleasing thing for me was I was able to use my squad with Tuesday's game with Lyon in mind. It was vital for us to rest Ronaldo and Rooney."
Winger Ryan Giggs was rested for Saturday's clash against Fulham after picking up a calf strain while Serbian defender Nemanja Vidic was absent through injury.
Ferguson has moved to clear the air between United and Lyon after Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas complained that speculation linking the French club's striker Karim Benzema, who scored in the first leg, with a move to Old Trafford was "destabilising".
"I think (Aulas) is being a little bit mischievous. We have never said that we are interested in Benzema. I haven't said it yet, and I don't say we are interested now," Ferguson said.
Ligue 1 leaders Lyon go into the game in good heart after a 1-0 win at Lille on Saturday.
"Just before the first leg, we lost at Le Mans and it was a bad omen. This time we won, we recovered our spirit and it's a good omen particularly as the first leg showed that we could compete with United," said Lyon defender Anthony Reveillere.
Coach Alain Perrin has to decide whether to hand central defender Cris another start after he played his first league game since August on Saturday after recovering from a knee ligament injury.
The Brazilian international is vying with Jean-Alain Boumsong for a starting place.
Manchester United: 1-Edwin van der Sar; 6-Wes Brown, 5-Rio Ferdinand, 15-Nemanja Vidic, 3-Patrice Evra; 18-Paul Scholes, 4-Owen Hargreaves, 8-Anderson; 7-Cristiano Ronaldo, 10-Wayne Rooney, 11-Ryan Giggs.
Olympique Lyon: 1-Gregory Coupet; 2-Francois Clerc, 3-Cris or 32-Jean-Alain Boumsong, 29-Sebastien Squillaci, 11-Fabio Grosso; 18-Hatem Ben Arfa, 6-Kim Kallstrom, 28-Jeremy Toulalan, 8-Juninho, 14-Sidney Govou, 10-Karim Benzema.
Referee: Roberto Rosseti (Italy [Images])
UEFA Champions League 2007-08: The Complete Coverage