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Drogba turning back the clock

Chelsea 18 hours ago
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By ESPN Staff
Dec 12, 2007

Ferguson: Violence marred Roma draw

Sir Alex Ferguson admitted it was 'disappointing' Manchester United's latest trip to Rome had been scarred by violence once again. After the appalling scenes at the Stadio Olimpico in April when Italian police baton charged United supporters, at least there was no trouble inside the stadium during the 1-1 Champions League draw with AS Roma. However, five fans were stabbed outside the ground and needed hospital treatment, further proof the Italian game remains bedevilled by the scourge of hooliganism. 'This is something we hoped would not happen,' said Ferguson. 'We wanted a nice quiet night and to be able to go home with no incident. It is disappointing that has not happened. 'Obviously, we are not sure of the details but we hope the supporters concerned will be okay.' The off-field events overshadowed an encouraging performance by a young United line-up, who came within 19 minutes of recording what would have been only the Old Trafford outfit's third win on Italian soil. Spain Under-21 defender Gerard Pique put the Red Devils ahead with a firm header just past the half-hour mark. Had Louis Saha finished off a Wayne Rooney through ball, United would surely have gone on to win. Instead, Mancini levelled with an excellent second-half effort to end the Red Devils' 100% record in the competition. 'I am very satisfied with the overall performance, although I was a bit disappointed in the second half because we gave away the ball too much,' said Ferguson. The performance was a marked improvement on the one produced by a similarly young side against Coventry in September, which resulted in United being dumped out of the Carling Cup. 'That night was a shame, although I didn't think the players were ready for the game,' said Ferguson. 'This time they were better prepared mentally.' Ferguson praised the contribution of Wayne Rooney, who turned in an industrious performance as captain. And Portugal winger Nani was also singled out by Ferguson for an effective first-half display which revived memories of his impressive early-season performances. 'Nani is only 19,' said Ferguson. 'He is settling in very well at our club. When we brought him here, we told him he would not play all the time. 'We will get injuries as the season goes on. 'But the times he has played, Nani has done well, particularly in the first half when he was a big threat.'