Bursaspor Preview: Quest For Qualification

Manchester United travel to the Bursa Ataturk Stadium to face Bursaspor in a key Group C UEFA Champions League match.

United enter this match sitting in the pole position the group, and a win against Bursaspor would put them on the verge of qualification with two games remaining.

If United get a positive result, coupled with a favorable the other Group C match between Rangers and Valencia, then the Red Devils could have a commanding advantage for the very lucrative knockout stages.

Sir Alex Ferguson has already vowed that he will select his best-available team to ensure that he does everything in their power to get all three points from this fixture.

Arjen Robben’s goal that took Bayern Munich into the semi-finals of season’s tournament was the last time that United allowed a goal, which is a total of 286 scoreless minutes.

United played Bursaspor at Old Trafford under two weeks ago, and it was an early Nani thunderbolt which proved to be the difference in the 1-0 win for the home side.

Bursaspor rarely troubled United and the Turkish Süper Lig champions did not register a shot on goal until stoppage-time, but that was because of the team defending and recovery runs were on point.

United dominated the possession against Bursaspor, but they were unable to make the most of their 12 scoring chances, and only hit the target four times.

It was their third shutout in as many Champions League matches, which has been a far cry from their defensive miscues in both the Barclays Premier League and the Carling Cup.

Since that 1-0 win , United have not only overcome their turbulent problems off the field, but they also have rattled off three straight victories over Stoke City, Wolverhampton and Tottenham.

Bursaspor has maintained their impressive start to the domestic league season as they are still on top of the Süper Lig following their1-1 draw with Fenerbahçe.

The Green Crocodiles are in complete contrasting form from their first experience in the Champions League, because they are still undefeated after 10 league matches.

This was clearly evident, because after the loss at Old Trafford, they scored a 5-1 victory over Ankaragücü after they went down a goal.

Ivan Ergic is their leading scorer with four goals in the Turkish top-flight division, but he was a non-factor at Old Trafford.

Wayne Rooney’s ankle injury will keep him out another five weeks, so there is a very good chance that he will not play in the Champions League again this season unless United qualify for the knockout stages.

Along with Rooney, Anderson, Darron Gibson, Federico Macheda and Rio Ferdinand also miss the sometimes unfavorable trip to Turkey.

Sir Alex Ferguson knows how important it is for Manchester United to qualify for the latter stages of the UEFA Champions League now, because Matchday 6 (Valencia at Old Trafford) comes just days before to two vital Barclays Premier League matches with Arsenal and Chelsea.

E. van der Sar, B. Amos, T. Kuszczak; P. Evra, W. Brown, N. Vidic, C. Smalling, Rafael, Fabio, J. O’Shea; M. Eikrem, P. Scholes, G. Obertan, Bebe, D. Fletcher, M. Carrick, J. S. Park, Nani; D. Berbatov, J. Hernandez

Out: A. Valencia (leg), R. Giggs (hamstring), W. Rooney (ankle), O. Hargreaves (knee), M. Owen (hamstring), Anderson (knee)

T. Kuszczak; Rafael, C. Smalling, N. Vidic, P. Evra; J. O’Shea, P. Scholes, D. Fletcher, J. S. Park, Nani; D. Berbatov

Bursaspor 0 Manchester United 1

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