Manchester United continued their record of never having lost to French opposition at Old Trafford as they struggled past Marseille 2-1 in the Champions League and progressed to the next round. Again United were without Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic at the centre of defence but with the first leg ending 0-0 the Reds needed an early goal to settle the nerves and Javier Hernandez provided just that after five minutes.
Wayne Rooney spread the ball out to Ryan Giggs whose low cross left Hernandez with the simplest of chances from close range.
At this stage the Marseille defence was looking jittery but survived and then began creating chances as the half ended.
Souleymane Diawara headed wide from a quickly taken corner with the Reds defence static then Loic Remy volleyed fierce shot narrowly over.
The half then ended on a controversial note as Hernandez seemed to be brought down for an obvious penalty but the officials waved play on.
There was an anxious opening few moments of the second half as Marseille went in search of the away goal which would send them through.
The crowds anxiety could be felt as United gave away possession and half chances arrived for the French opposition.
On 73 minutes Remy fired in a cross which Benoit Cheyrou fired straight at Edwin van der Sar.
But straight away United went back up to the Stretford End and doubled their advantage as Giggs crossed and Hernandez again had the easiest of finishes.
But Marseille ensured a nervy end to proceedings when Wes Brown headed a corner through his own goal.
So Manchester United progress, but in the end they were hanging on in what was far from a convincing performance.
Referee: Carlos Carballo
Venue: Old Trafford Attendance: 73,996
Man Utd scorers: Hernandez 5, 75 Marseille scorers: Brown og
MARSEILLE 30 Mandanda 03 Taiwo 19 Heinze 21 Diawara 24 Fanni 07 Cheyrou 08 Gonzalez 17 M'bia (Ayew 80) 10 Gignac (Valbuena (69 yellow card) 11 Remy yellow card) 20 Ayew
Substitutes 16 Andrade, 05 Hilton, 06 Edouard Cisse, 12 Kabore, 18 Abriel, 28 Valbuena, 15 Ayew