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Rooney in race to face Bayern in Champions League

Rooney in race to face Bayern in Champions League

Wayne Rooney's faster than expected recovery from an ankle injury has prompted speculation that he may face Bayern Munich in Wednesday's Champions League quarterfinal as Manchester United tries to overturn a 2-1 first-leg deficit.
The striker was injured in the first leg in Munich on Tuesday after scoring his 34th league and cup goal of the season and United manager Alex Ferguson said as recently as Friday he would be out for two to three weeks.
But Rooney has responded well to treatment and several papers reported on Monday that United would leave it until as late as possible before deciding whether the England striker might face Bayern at Old Trafford.
The speculation comes after United's tame performance in a 2-1 Premier League loss at home to Chelsea on Saturday when Ferguson's team surrendered top spot to the winner.
Veteran United midfielder Ryan Giggs said the team had to hit back by beating Bayern at home and reach the semifinals for the fourth straight season.
"I am confident that we can raise our game at home. We have done it many times before and we'll have to do it again," said Giggs, who played only the last eight minutes of the first leg in Munich. "Usually you would take an early goal, but it can work against you. We would usually try and catch the opposition on the counterattack but we didn't keep the ball anywhere near as well as we are capable of.
"We didn't play well and gave the ball away far too cheaply, but you have to give credit to Bayern, who made it very difficult for us."
Bayern winger Arjen Robben, who missed the first leg with a calf injury, will be in the squad for Old Trafford.
"I hope he will be able to play but we have to wait," Bayern coach Louis van Gaal said.
In an all-French quarterfinal on Wednesday, Lyon goes to Bordeaux leading 3-1. But one of its first-leg scorers, Lisandro, is missing through suspension. So is Sidney Govou. Bordeaux midfielder and captain Alou Diarra is back from a ban.
Bordeaux had won seven straight Champions League games before last week's loss in Lyon and, resting several players, tumbled 2-1 to Nancy on Saturday to lose the lead in the French league.
"It's the first time (this season) that we suffer three straight losses," Diarra said. "The team's morale is affected. Right now, we're not playing like defending (French) champions."
Tuesday's games are Barcelona at home to Arsenal with the teams level at 2-2, and Inter Milan defending a 1-0 advantage at CSKA Moscow.
In a mesmerisingly brilliant first hour at the Emirates Stadium last week, defending champion Barcelona raced into a 2-0 lead and wasted a series of chances before conceding twice. Now it faces Arsenal without Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who scored those two goals but tore a calf muscle in the warmup before Saturday's 4-1 Spanish league victory over Athletic Bilbao.
Barca is also without injured Andres Iniesta while central defenders Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique are suspended.
Arsenal's injury problems are just as bad, however.
Cesc Fabregas, who scored the equalizing penalty, broke a bone in his leg in the game while William Gallas and Andrey Arshavin are out with calf muscle injuries to join long-term absentees Robin van Persie and Aaron Ramsey.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger recognized his team was outplayed for long spells at home by Barcelona.
"We have to raise above the impression Barcelona left on us in the first part of the match, to have a game plan and stick to it," Wenger said. "I believe we have to be audacious and not hide. I do not deny in the first part of the game that Barcelona were over-dominant, if you look at the chances we created, we had some good ones."
Italian champion and Serie A leader Inter Milan come off a 3-0 domestic victory over Bologna.
"The whole team played a nice game today," said Inter midfielder Thiago Motta, who scored twice. "The three points were important for two reasons: For the table and to face CSKA in the Champions League on Tuesday with tranquillity."
CSKA is trying to become the first Russian team to reach the last four since Spartak Moscow in 1991.
"Our spirits are high," CSKA defender Alexei Berezutsky said. "We have nothing to lose. A 1-0 away loss is not a 3-0 one. We must score at home anyway, even if we would have played to a scoreless draw in Italy."


Updated : 2021-03-06 01:55 GMT+08:00