Van Nistelrooy rescues United
Manchester United recovered from a lacklustre first-half performance against French champions Lyon to secure a valuable 2-2 draw at the Stade Gerland on Wednesday night.
Sir Alex Ferguson handed Ruud van Nistelrooy his second start of the season just five days after the first, and the gamble paid off as the Dutchman showed his class with two predatory strikes.
United had been run ragged in the first 45 minutes by a Lyon side inspired by the former Arsenal forward Sylvain Wiltord. Claudio Cacapa and Florent Malouda had already squandered gilt-edged chances when Lyon deservedly went ahead after an error from Tim Howard. The United keeper failed to gather Juninho's low free-kick and Brazilian defender Cris stabbed home from close range. It got worse for United a minute before the break as Pierre-Alain Frau doubled Lyon's lead.
The English side were fortunate to be just two down and duly punished Lyon for their first-half profligacy. Cristiano Ronaldo switched flanks with Ryan Giggs and immediately curled a delicious cross over for Van Nistelrooy to head inside the far post on 56 minutes. The Dutchman completed the comeback five minutes later when he finished coolly after being played in by Ronaldo's deflected pass.