Fri, Oct 04, 2013 - Page 18 News List

Giggs sets record in lackluster night for Man U in Donetsk

Reuters, LONDON and DONETSK, Ukraine

Shakhtar Donetsk’s Alex Teixeira, right, fights for the ball with Manchester United’s Michael Carrick in their UEFA Champions League Group A match at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk, Ukraine, on Wednesday.

Photo: Reuters

Manchester United veteran Ryan Giggs set a Champions League record on Wednesday, but his side had little else to celebrate after a 1-1 draw at Shakhtar Donetsk in Group A.

When 39-year-old Giggs replaced Marouane Fellaini after 66 minutes at the raucous Donbass Arena he made his 145th appearance in the competition, including qualifiers, to overtake Spaniard Raul.

Manchester’s manager David Moyes was full of praise for the Welshman.

“What a record. What a player,” he said, but was disappointed with the result after his side had looked in control of a match they led until the 76th minute.

United, missing the injured Wayne Rooney, but with Robin van Persie back in attack, went ahead after 18 minutes when Fellaini pulled the ball back for Danny Welbeck to stab home from close range after defender Jaroslav Rakitskiy failed to clear.

Shakhtar had plenty of possession, but came up against the brick wall of a United defense until 14 minutes from time, when Rakitskiy made amends.

His forceful run and cross on the left was only half cleared by the otherwise outstanding Nemanja Vidic and Taison crashed the ball past David De Gea from close in.

The Ukraine side had strong claims for a penalty waved away in the first half after Tom Cleverley’s challenge caught Alex Teixeira, but otherwise they were toothless.

Van Persie had two clear chances, but shot wide on both occasions. The Dutchman was isolated and looked short of match fitness up front as United thought they had done enough for victory before Taison struck.

Moyes looked for the positives, but also lamented United’s habit of giving the ball away, particularly in the second half.

“It is a good point. They have a great record against English teams and the team stood up well to it. We got a good goal early doors, and I thought we were going to stop them scoring,” Moyes said.

“Both teams should be happy with the result. Manchester United went back after scoring early and played on counterattacks. They are great at this,” Shakhtar coach Mircea Lucescu. “But in general we controlled the game and did not allow them much.”

Bayer 04 Leverkusen left it late to pick up their first win in Group A’s other game, with substitute Jens Hegeler curling in a free-kick in stoppage-time to seal a 2-1 home victory over Real Sociedad.

The German side led through a powerful Simon Rolfes header late in the first half, before Carlos Vela leveled soon after the break, tucking home the rebound after his own penalty had been saved by Bernd Leno.

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