Champions League Preview: Manchester United - CFR Cluj
Sir Alex Ferguson's side is assured of top spot in the group and face the reigning Romanian champion, which still stands an outside chance of qualification for the knockout stages
By James McManus
Rafael, Smalling, Jones, Buttner
Cleverley, Giggs, Fletcher, Young
Pinto, Maftei, Cadu, Sepsi
Bastos, Camora, Muresan, Sougou
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson will likely use the game as an opportunity to rest several key players having already assured of qualification to the next round and with the Manchester derby against rival City to look forward to on Sunday.
The 70-year-old Scot also faces something of an injury crisis in midfield, with Anderson (hamstring), Shinji Kagawa (knee), Nani (hamstring), Antonio Valencia (thigh) and center back Nemanja Vidic (knee) all certain to miss out.
CFR Cluj boss Paulo Sergio, meanwhile, will be without the injured Bakary Sare (broken leg) and star striker Ronny (ligaments), who are both long-term casualties.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Manchester United has conceded the first goal in 14 of its 22 games this season across all competitions.
- The Red Devils lost their 100 percent European record in its last outing, a 1-0 defeat to Galatasaray.
- In the reverse fixture in Romania, United won 2-1 courtesy of a Robin van Persie double after Pantelis Kapetanos had opened the scoring.
- Ryan Giggs [pictured right] has scored in a record 16 Champions League seasons. He is also the competition's oldest scorer, at 37 years and 289 days.
- CFR Cluj still stands a chance of qualifying if Galatasaray fails to beat Braga in Portugal and it picks up a positive result, with both teams separated only by goal difference.
- The reigning Romanian champion currently sits in sixth place in its domestic league, 15 points off leader Steaua Bucaresti.
- The visitor is unbeaten away from home in Europe this term over four games, having won three and drawn once.
- Cadu is the sole survivor in the squad from Cluj's only previous trip to England, a 2-1 defeat at Chelsea in the 2008-09 group stage on Dec. 9, 2008.
- The Romanians have committed 89 fouls in the competition so far this campaign, more than any other side.
- Cluj manager Paulo Sergio has previously tasted success in Britain having won the Scottish Cup while in charge of Hearts.
Top 3 Predictions
Manchester United 3-0 CFR Cluj
- 17.58 %
Manchester United 3-1 CFR Cluj
- 15.61 %
Manchester United 2-0 CFR Cluj
- 13.4 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Dec 5, 2012||Manchester United 0 - CFR Cluj 1|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Oct 2, 2012||CFR Cluj 1 - Manchester United 2|
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