|Attempts on target||13||4|
|Attempts off target||6||4|
|B||Man. United||CSKA Moskva|
Manchester United FC may have qualified for the last 16 with two games to spare but there were mixed feelings in the home camp after a 3-3 draw with PFC CSKA Moskva that exposed defensive weaknesses as much as that characteristic refusal to accept defeat.
"We didn't defend particularly well as a team," admitted centre-half Jonny Evans after United conceded three goals at home in the UEFA Champions League for the first time since 2001. The English titleholders looked vulnerable as they went 3-1 behind inside 47 minutes – not least when Alan Dzagoev ran away from Evans before scoring CSKA's opening goal.
'A bit exposed'
Evans, who partnered Wes Brown in central defence, with Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidić both absent, added that Sir Alex Ferguson had issued half-time instructions to his players to keep their shape. "We were trying to push on a bit too much and left ourselves a bit exposed," said Evans. At that stage they trailed 2-1, Miloš Krasić having restored CSKA's lead after Michael Owen's equaliser, yet United then conceded a third soon after the restart when the unmarked Vasili Berezutski headed in a far-post free-kick.
Gary Neville admitted they were poor goals to concede. "They got the goals and made it difficult for us and we did well at the end to get away with the draw. It shocked us but we recovered and showed the fighting spirit and kept going until the end but obviously we wouldn't want to be conceding goals like that every week." Midfielder Darren Fletcher echoed those words, saying: "Going forward we created enough chances; defensively the goals were disappointing. They threw men forward, defended doggedly and their forward players are a real threat and they showed that tonight. We are disappointed with the way we lost the goals but the fact we came back is important."
Fletcher paid credit to Wayne Rooney who galvanised United after taking the field as a 58th-minute substitute. While Dimitar Berbatov was injured, Rooney started on the bench, having become a father for the first time the previous day. He almost celebrated with a goal but was twice denied by Igor Akinfeev, CSKA's outstanding goalkeeper, who performed heroics as United peppered the visitors' goal in the closing stages – they had 13 shots on target in the second half compared with four before the break.
"It lifted the fans, it lifted the place, he is a top-class player and an introduction like that is going to help any team in the world," Fletcher said of the England striker. "He had a big impact". After coming from behind to beat VfL Wolfsburg in their previous Group B home match, the comeback kings did it again, Paul Scholes and Antonio Valencia scoring in the last six minutes to preserve their four-year unbeaten home record in Europe. Fletcher added: "We don't know when we're beaten and it's something that is great to have. Even with six minutes to go we get that one goal and come back and equalise and then push on to find a winner."
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