Man United 2 Benfica 2: Sir Alex Ferguson rues ‘freakish’ result

Sir Alex Ferguson was left to reflect on a "cruel" result after Benfica held Manchester United to a draw at Old Trafford

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
Champions League, 22 November 2011, Old Trafford
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Man United
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Benfica

Sir Alex Ferguson felt Manchester United were unfortunate not to have beaten Benfica at Old Trafford after the Portuguese side held the Red Devils to a draw.

United fell behind within three minutes when Phil Jones deflected a Nicolas Gaitan cross past David de Gea.

But Dimitar Berbatov restored parity just past the half-hour mark, nodding in Nani’s cross with goalkeeper Artur Moraes helpless to prevent the equaliser.

And when Darren Fletcher put the home side ahead in the second half, United’s passage into the last 16 seemed assured.

But a defensive mix-up between De Gea and Rio Ferdinand saw Benfica equalise as Pablo Aimar finished from close range.

“We played well tonight, and the team deserved better,” said Ferguson. “It’s a cruel game at times. The goals were a bit freakish. An own-goal and then bad kick out by David de Gea.

“The pass back could have been better but David should have played it into the stands and we didn’t hold onto the lead.”

United will require a point from their final Group C game in Basel to guarantee their passage into the next round.

And Ferguson admitted it will not be an easy tie, with the Swiss side showcasing their credentials with a 3-3 draw at Old Trafford in September.

“It will be a hard game in Basel,” he added. “The chips are down but I have every confidence in the team.”

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