UEFA Europa League
Previous
Shakhter Karagandy
Shirak
4
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 6 - 1
Game Details
Astana 1964
Pyunik
2
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 6 - 1
Game Details
Mika Ashtarak
RNK Split
1
1
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 3
Game Details
FC Daugava
Víkingur Gøta
1
1
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 3
Game Details
Laci
Rudar Velenje
3:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 1
Game Details
FK Ekranas
Crusaders
1
2
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 5
Game Details
FC Honka
Sillamae Kalev
3:30 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Lovcen
Zeljeznicar Sarajevo
0
1
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 1
Game Details
FK Buducnost Podgorica
SS Folgore Falciano
3
0
FT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 5 - 1
Game Details
Chikhura Sachkhere
FK Turnovo
4:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 0
Game Details
UE Sant Julia
Cukaricki Belgrade
4:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 4
Game Details
FK Jelgava
Rosenborg
4:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 4
Game Details
Kalju
Fram Reykjavik
4:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 0
Game Details
Haugesund
Airbus UK
4:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 1
Game Details
Inter Baku
FC Tiraspol
4:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 3 - 2
Game Details
FK Atlantas
FC 03 Differdange
4:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 1
Game Details
Daugava Riga
Aberdeen
4:30 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 5
Game Details
Zimbru Chisinau
Shkëndija 79
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
CS Fola Esch
IFK Goteborg
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Brommapojkarna
VPS Vaasa
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
Tromso
Tartu FC Santos
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
KS Flamurtari Vlorë
Sioni Bolnisi
5:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 3 - 2
Game Details
FC Spartak Trnava
Hibernians
5:30 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 4 - 2
Game Details
FK Kukesi
Kairat Almaty
5:30 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 1
Game Details
Birkirkara
Diosgyor VTK
5:30 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 2
Game Details
PFC Litex Lovech
FC Veris
5:45 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Bangor City
Stjarnan
5:45 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 4
Game Details
Aberystwyth Town
Derry City
5:45 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 4
Game Details
IF Fuglafjørdur
MyPa
6:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 1
Game Details
Sligo
Banga
6:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
College Europa
FC Vaduz
6:00 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 3
Game Details
NK Koper
Celik
6:30 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 5 - 0
Game Details
Libertas Borgo Maggiore
Botev Plovdiv
6:30 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 4
Game Details
Ferencvaros
Sliema Wanderers
6:30 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 1 - 1
Game Details
Siroki Brijeg
FK Qabala
6:30 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 0
Game Details
Metalurg
UE Santa Coloma
6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 0
Game Details
Dundalk
Jeunesse Esch
6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 2 - 0
Game Details
Glenavon
FH Hafnarfjordur
6:45 PM GMT
Leg 2. Aggregate: 0 - 3
Game Details
Next
 Posted by ESPN Staff
Dec, 5, 2006

Ferguson backs Ronaldo over Southgate's claims

Sir Alex Ferguson backed Cristiano Ronaldo in his condemnation of Gareth Southgate's cheat allegations and insisted the Manchester United winger did not dive to win a penalty at Middlesbrough on Saturday.

On the eve of United's make-or-break Champions League tussle with Benfica, Ronaldo got the chance to answer the criticism heaped on him in the aftermath of his controversial collapse at the Riverside which earned the Red Devils a crucial spot-kick, even though Boro keeper Mark Schwarzer never touched Ronaldo as he closed in to make a save.

Like his manager, Ronaldo feels the on-going discussion over his conduct is fuelled by his part in England's World Cup downfall last summer.

However, the 21-year-old clearly resents Southgate's involvement in the row, when the Boro boss branded him a cheat.

'He (Southgate) stopped playing football last year. He needs to understand football much better,' he said.

'I was trying to get past the goalkeeper. I lost my balance and the referee gave a penalty.

'I realise people criticise me for anything I do. They love to do that ever since the World Cup. But it doesn't bother me. When I go on the pitch I do what I love, which is play football and do my best for the team. That is my aim.'

Ferguson branded Southgate's comments 'naive', adding 'he is a young manager, we need to give him time to settle in.'

But the Scot soon launched into an unprompted defence of Ronaldo, the player he persuaded to remain at Old Trafford this summer following the criticism which came his way over Wayne Rooney's sending-off in the World Cup quarter-final in Gelsenkirchen.

'It is revenge for the English press,' he said.

'They have been waiting months to do this since the World Cup. What is more serious in our game, preventing the best players playing or going on for three days about a dive that wasn't a dive?'

Ferguson's initial post-match reaction was that Ronaldo had not dived, a stance he is sticking by having viewed the incident again numerous times on video.

The United boss' defence centred both around the speed at which Ronaldo runs, plus previous instances of players being punished for intent, one of which involved the winger himself.

'No player is going to give up the opportunity to shoot into an empty goal,' Ferguson added.

'I have looked at it a million times and Cristiano lost his balance completely.

'As I have said time and time again, we do not condone diving and Cristiano knows that.

'But it is difficult for players who run as quickly as he does. For instance, if you were driving at 70mph in a car and another car comes out in front of you, do brake or carry on?

'Don't forget, last year at Manchester City he got sent off for intent even though there had just been two disgraceful tackles on him, while Steven Gerrard got a penalty at Sheffield United at the start of the season, again for intent.

'The interpretation is down to the referee but, to me, it was a clear penalty.'

The lack of free-kicks given in Ronaldo's favour has been a recurring theme of Ferguson's.

He is still troubled at the thought officials are overlooking fouls on the winger purely because of the reputation Ronaldo gained for going to ground too easily early in his United career.

And it must also be a worry German referee Herbert Fandel, who will take charge of tomorrow's Old Trafford encounter, has controlled three previous United games - against Deportivo La Coruna, FC Porto and AC Milan - all of which have ended in defeat.

'It is possible referees are still judging Cristiano on the way he played in his first season,' said Ferguson.

'The first thing that happened to him at Middlesbrough on Saturday was that he was hacked from behind. The referee did not book the player, which only encourages players to keep kicking him and kicking him.

'All I know is that Cristiano is the most fouled player in the Premiership and the stats are there to back it up.'

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.