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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE Group C: Frustrated Man Utd held by Benfica

Manchester United's patchy form in Europe continued when they were held 2-2 at Old Trafford by Benfica and their progression through to the knockout stages of the Champions League is far from assured. United drew their third game of the group and they will now need a point in their final match in Basel to ensure their qualification from Group C.

Sir Alex Ferguson's men seemed to have recovered from going behind to an own early own goal to edge ahead in the second half only for Benfica to immediately level as United's rearguard again looked shaky.

No Portuguese sides have ever beaten the Red Devils in 10 games at Old Trafford but after only four minutes the visitor's went ahead as Phil Jones failed to deal with Nicolas Gaitan's cross and turned the ball into his own goal from close range.

United pressed for an equaliser and were rewarded on the half-hour when Dimitar Berbatov, with his first Champions League goal in three years, headed in Nani's cross.

The game was still evenly poised when the host's looked to have completed their turnaround on 58 minutes as Darren Fletcher put United ahead.

But within a minute parity had been restored as keeper David de Gea's sloppy clearance enabled Pablo Aimar to level from close range.

Now it was the Portuguese who looked the more likely to score even though Berbatov, playing because of the absent Wayne Rooney, had an excellent opportunity to win it for the Red Devils but volleyed over from ten yards.

Referee: Cüneyt Çak?r (TUR)

Venue: Old Trafford

Attendance: 74,853

Man Utd scorers: Berbatov 30, Fletcher 59 Benfica scorers: Jones (og) 4, Aimar 60

TRIBAL ASKS: Until United sort out their shaky defence all their attacking talents will count for nothing

Yellow cards: Carrick (MANU), Fletcher (MANU), Artur (BEN), Garay (BEN), Pereira (BEN)

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Dave Williams

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