Lille plunge United to new depths
PARIS, France -- Manchester United's troubled season hit a new low when they lost 1-0 at Lille in the Champions League in Paris.
Slovenian Milenko Acimovic blasted in Lille's winner after 38 minutes to give the French side a deserved first victory in Group D and leave United manager Alex Ferguson under intense pressure.
Brazilian midfielder Marcos Senna thumped in a long-range winner eight minutes from time to hand Villarreal a 1-0 win at Benfica in the other game in the open group.
United's defeat followed their 4-1 thrashing at Middlesbrough in the Premier League at the weekend and left them with only five points from their four group games.
Lille also have five points but the close-fought section is now led by Spain's Villarreal on six points after their win at Benfica.
Former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Acimovic's goal was Lille's first in the Champions League this season and settled a poor encounter in front of 66,470 fans at the Stade de France, a French European Cup crowd record.
Lille's stadium does not meet UEFA safety requirements so the Ligue 1 side have to play European matches at the Stade de France.
"We had some troubles to get into the game but then we found the pace. We had a good result at Old Trafford (0-0) and we knew we had to put up a strong display tonight," said midfielder Geoffrey Dernis.
"We're not qualified yet but we still achieved something great."
Injured midfielder Roy Keane, who reportedly criticized team mates on the club's television station MUTV, was sorely missed for United, who struggled to keep up with the French side in midfield.
The Ligue 1 side had a few chances through Matt Moussilou but the striker, who was alone up front, proved too shy in the box.
The northeners were rewarded for their efforts though seven minutes before halftime.
Acimovic ended a 308-minute goal drought for Lille in the Champions League when he slammed in a Gregory Tafforeau cross.
The goal rocked United who were unable to set the tone in the second half.
Edwin van der Sar denied Lille a second goal when he tipped a Tafforeau free kick over his bar.
Just before the hour mark, Cristiano Ronaldo met a cross from the left, the ball striking his shoulder and hitting the crossbar, bouncing down to hit a Lille player on the goalline before being cleared away.
South Korea international Park Ji-sung was handed a late chance to equalize but after outpacing the Lille defense he dragged his effort wide.
Villarreal's victory left them well placed to reach the last 16 in their first season in the competition.
Senna let fly from 30 meters and scored despite Benfica keeper Rui Nereu's best efforts, the inexperienced teenager getting his fingertips to his powerful shot. Injuries had ruled out first choice keeper Jose Moreira and his deputy Quim Silva.
|© 2007 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us. Site Map.