Olympique Lyonnais 2 v 2 Manchester United
Stade Gerland, Lyon
15th August 2004
This is one draw that Manchester United fans will be happy with, despite it being the fifth consecutive draw. United started the game shoddily, but were able to grab a point which should help them qualify if they win all their games at home.
It took United 15 minutes to create even their first chance, with Djemba-Djemba firing over from close-range. It was Lyon who had all the initiative, with Scholes clearing off the line from Nilmar, and ex-Arsenal player (reject) Sylvain Wiltord forcing Howard to save from close range.
It was Howards keeping that allowed Lyon to make the breakthrough - From a Juninho free-kick, Timmy could only pat the ball to Cris who smashed the ball home. Many pundits believe that its time for Tim to be dropped for Carroll, but he surely holds the key to the American market, so should be guaranteed a place, if only for the good of the future team, and on top of that he is still United's best keeper.
On 44 minutes a second goal by Lyon made it look as though the game was out of United's reach, but United were ready to fight back. Fergie's strong half-time words made sure of that.
An attacking Man Utd side came out in the second half, with Ronaldo immediately causing problems down the left-hand side. It was his cross that Van Nistelrooy headed home to confirm himself as United's greatest ever striker in Europe.
On 64 minutes United equalised, showing great heart, with a Ronaldo mis-kicked shot falling at Ruud's feet for him to finish clinically.
This goal spurred Lyon into action, but they could do little as their attacks fell on the post and on Paul Scholes' head, on the line. A point gained away from home almost guarantees qualification, all the boys have to do is win at home.
Lyon: Coupet, Reveillere, Cris, Cacapa, Abidal, Wiltord (Clement 88), Essien, Juninho, Malouda, Govou (Ben Arfa 75), Frau (Nilmar 65).
Subs Not Used: Puydebois, Diatta, Bergougnoux, Berthod.
Goals: Cris 35, Frau 44.
Man Utd: Howard, O'Shea (Phil Neville 83), Brown, Silvestre, Heinze, Ronaldo, Keane, Djemba-Djemba, Giggs, Scholes, Van Nistelrooy (Smith 79).
Subs Not Used: Carroll, Bellion, Kleberson, Richardson, Fletcher.
Goals: Van Nistelrooy 56, 61.
Ref: Wolfgang Stark (Germany).