It is not often Sir Alex Ferguson or Fabio Capello could be described as happy to learn that Wayne Rooney, the striker who has carried Manchester United and England on his broad shoulders so often this season, will not be able to play for two weeks because of injury. But yesterday's prognosis that his right ankle was sprained came as welcome relief for the two coaches, who feared losing his services for much longer. He was walking with the aid of crutches yesterday after suffering the injury in the final moments of Tuesday night's 2-1 Champions League loss to Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena. There was a fear it was something far more serious - yesterday's English newspapers called upon readers to pray for divine intervention to ensure his fitness for this summer's World Cup finals - after he rolled his ankle trying to challenge Bayern's Mario Gomez in the build-up to the German side's late winner.
Rooney, who has 34 goals to his name after his most impressive season to date, will miss Saturday's top-of-the-table clash against Chelsea and then the Champions League return with Bayern at Old Trafford next Wednesday. He could, however, be back for the Premier League derby at Manchester City on April 17. Capello, the England coach, voiced concern over an injury to such a key player, describing it as "not the best thing" for his preparations. It would not be the best thing for Ferguson, the United coach, either as they bid to secure an unprecedented fourth consecutive Premier League title. With Michael Owen out for the rest of the season, Dimitar Berbatov is the only senior striker available to Ferguson. Federico Macheda and Mame Biram Diouf have undoubted talent but lack any significant experience. Nemanja Vidic, United's towering centre-back, said he was confident Berbatov would step up and finally win over those who have doubted whether the Bulgarian has justified his £30million (Dh167m) price tag. "We showed this season we play as a team. It is not just about one man," he said. "Definitely Wayne has had a great season. He is unbelievable, one of the best in the world, but sometimes big players are missing, and others need to be ready. "Dimitar had a great game against Bolton on Saturday. He is a great footballer. He scored twice himself and can set up goals for other players as well. We have a good squad and we just need to believe in ourselves and believe in each other." A ninth defeat of the season for United on Tuesday came after Rooney had put them ahead after just 66 seconds. But Franck Ribery's free-kick, following a needless handball by Gary Neville, deflected off Rooney to level the scores before Ivica Olic scored the late winner after snatching the ball from the feet of Patrice Evra. With Chelsea, one point behind in the league, first up at Old Trafford, there is no time for United to wallow in the disappointment of their defeat or the loss of Rooney. firstname.lastname@example.org
Two goals from Lisandro Lopez, some important saves by goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and defensive blunders helped Lyon secure a 3-1 victory in their first leg of the quarter-final against Bordeaux. Lopez put Lyon ahead in the 10th minute before Bordeaux striker Marouane Chamakh equalised four minutes later with a header. The Brazilian winger Michel Bastos made it 2-1 from a tight angle in the 32nd and Lopez sealed the victory in the 77th with a penalty, sending goalkeeper Cedric Carrasso the wrong way. * AP