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Page last updated at 22:18 GMT, Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Tuesday football as it happened


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By Sam Lyon

2215: So another English club makes their way into the last eight of the Champions League - and you'd have to think something remarkable would have to happen to prevent Chelsea joining Man Utd and Tottenham in the quarter-finals. Still, stranger things have happened... haven't they? I'm back in the hot-seat tomorrow to chat you through the Blues' last 16 match against FA Copenhagen, with Carlo Ancelotti's boys defending a 2-0 first-leg lead, while Real Madrid host Lyon in what is set up to be a cracker, that tie currently 1-1 from the first leg. Miss it, miss out, people. Until then... adios amigos.

joshualenz15 on Twitter: "An all-English final would be perfect at Wembley!"

2210: MAN UTD 2-1 MARSEILLE (agg 2-1)
Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Old Trafford:
"Man Utd edge into the last eight of the Champions League - but it was not without its anxieties as Marseille put their under-strength rearguard to the test. In Javier Hernandez, though Sir Alex Ferguson has unearthed a consummate goal poacher in the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer mould."

2207: BAYERN MUNICH 2-3 INTER MILAN (agg 3-3)
Phil Dawkes reports:
"Once again Inter Milan break Bayern Munich hearts in Europe. For so long the Germans looked like gaining revenge for last season's Champions League final defeat to the Italians, but ultimately their frail defence failed them in dramatic late fashion."

2204: Right then, time for our Final Word...

2202: Sir Alex Ferguson on Sky Sports 2: "It was nervy tonight because we had players going off with injuries and that shifted the balance of team. The problem for us was their height and they caused us problems from their set-pieces. But our experience saw us through in the end, I think and it was a good result, for sure."

samil90 on Twitter: "RE: 2155 - I'd prefer Barcelona to be honest, takes away the expectation of winning for once!"

2158: Before I bring you the final thoughts from our match reporters, I must relay to you some sad news concerning Barcelona defender Eric Abidal, who is to undergo surgery on a tumour in his liver. "Abidal will be operated on by Dr Josep Fuster Obregon. Per the express wish of the player, we call for the utmost respect for the right to privacy," read a club statement. Get well soon, Eric.

Football League Macca: "A couple of late goals to catch up on, with Huddersfield snatching a crucial three points at Brentford with a Peter Clarke goal seeing them move within five of leaders Brighton. Macclesfield also left it late to grab a point at home to Lincoln. Watford helped themselves to a third in the latter stages to seal a 3-0 win at Ipswich. There was a welcome 3-0 win for Preston which adds to Scunthorpe's worries, while Coventry had to settle for a point at Burnley. Peterborough were 4-1 winners at the horror show that is Sheff Wed. Torquay, Crewe, Stevenage and Accrington all did their promotion hopes some good with wins in L2."

2155: A reminder, by the way, that the draw for the Champions League quarter-finals is this Friday at around 1100 GMT, and I - Sam Lyon - will be around for that one to talk you through it as it happens. Any preference for who you want in the draw Man Utd fans? Anyone but Barcelona, right?

rigggsyboy via text: "RE:leevickers85 - I think you are forgetting the Inter 4-3 Spurs game?!"

2150: Man Utd striker Wayne Rooney on Sky Sports 2: "We're delighted to get through to the quarter-finals. It was a difficult game and Marseille came here with a big physical team but thankfully we got through. Javier [Hernandez] has got great movement and I was playing in the sort of position when I started playing professionally. I'm getting on the ball more and I'm really enjoying it."

leevickers85 on Twitter: "What an amazing finish to the stand out game of the season in the Champions League so far - congrats Inter."

HenryWhitfield on Twitter: "What a talent Hernandez is, easily the signing of the year. Always popping up when United are against the wall. Brilliant."

2140: So Manchester United make the quarter-finals of the Champions League for a fifth season in succession - just. That also represents Man Utd's 150th win in Uefa competition, which is nice. As for Inter Milan - the holders scrape into the last eight with a magnificent win at the Allianz Arena that ensures not one of their players, coaching staff or supporters will be welcome back in Munich for a very, very long time. Sensational drama.

Football League Macca: "Coventry's joy was short-lived wasn't it? Jay Rodriguez levels for Burnley just four minutes after the Sky Blues went in front. Plymouth are also on level terms at Carlisle. That's a nice trip to make on a Tuesday evening by the way. Sheff Wed's agony is extended as they now trail 4-1 at home to Peterborough. Burton have a consolation at Accrington. 3-1 there."

Full time
2138: FULL-TIME Bayern 2-3 Inter (agg 3-3)
Inter through on away goals

2136: FULL-TIME Man Utd 2-1 Marseille (agg 2-1)

2134: Into stoppage time at Old Trafford - where every break in play and every second of United possession is being nervously cheered by the home faithful.

Inter goal: Would you Adam it? It's tremendous work from Samuel Eto'o, the striker bustling into the area, turning the Bayern defence around, and then laying it to Goran Pandev to crash a fine finish into the top corner and Inter Milan lead on away goals with just minutes left. Are Inter Milan going to break Bayern hearts for a second Champions League season in succession? Wow.

2132: GOALFLASH Bayern 2-3 Inter (agg 3-3) (Pandev)

2130: And it's a game on a knife-edge in the Allianz Arena, too, with both Bayern and Inter looking for goals going into the closing stages. No point in either team relying on their defence the way they've performed tonight, that's for sure.

2128: There's no doubting it's Marseille on the front foot at Old Trafford now... Man Utd have four of your nervous earth minutes to survive... plus injury time...

Football League Macca: "Coventry's caretaker management team are working wonders as they have turned things around since the break at Burnley and they lead 2-1 now. Gary McSheffrey with a stunning goal. What a turnaround at Turf Moor."

Marseille goal: And now the French side are right back in it, Wes Brown - under pressure from Gabriel Heinze - heading Lucho Gonzalez's corner into his own net despite Paul Scholes's best efforts to clear on the line. Seven minutes of normal time left.

2125: GOALFLASH Man Utd 2-1 Marseille (Brown og) (agg 2-1)

2124: And yet still Man Utd continue to give chances away... Benoit Cheyrou so close to heading Marseille back into the game from a corner, Fabio da Silva just clearing in the nick of time.

2123: United are starting to enjoy themselves again, and with Wayne Rooney dictating play from a deep-lying striker's role, Antonio Valencia looking lively on the wing and Javier Hernandez pulling the Marseille defence this way and that with his movement up front, a third Man Utd goal might soon be in the offing here.

2120: Talking of nervy... Bayern are from comfortable at the Allianz Arena, with Inter looking the likelier to grab the match's sixth goal - and what would be a tie-winner - Wesley Sneijder firing their latest decent effort narrowly past the far post.

Man Utd goal: And there's the second Man Utd were so desperate for - and the relief around Old Trafford is palpable. Substitute Antonio Valencia is the creator, his through-ball releasing Ryan Giggs down the right and the Welshman's slide-rule cross is swept home from close range by Javier Hernandez.

2117: GOALFLASH Man Utd 2-0 Marseille (agg 2-0) (Hernandez)

2116: It's tense at Old Trafford - really tense. And Marseille are starting to show why, Benoit Cheyrou forcing Edwin van der Sar into a smart stop with a low shot from Loic Remy's fine cross eight yards out. Man Utd could really do with a second here.

Football League Macca: "Steve Harrison and Andy Thorn's first half-time teamtalk at Coventry looks to have done the job as they level matters through Lukas Jutkiewicz. Watford have a second at Ipswich through Danny Graham. A win and the Hornets will be buzzing around the play-offs once again. Likewise, Torquay, in L2, are doing their promotion hopes a world of good as they go 2-1 ahead at Bury. Crewe have gone in front against Southend and Accrington have a third against Burton."

Fario_ on Twitter: "RE: 2111 - Now that's what I call a like-for-like substitution."

2114: Immediate impact from Mathieu Valbuena - on the referee's notebook - the Marseille striker booked for a late challenge on Wes Brown.

2112: I'm sensing nerves at Old Trafford. Real nerves. We're into the last 20 minutes.

2111: Mathieu Valbuena is on for Marseille, the disappointing Andre-Pierre Gignac replaced, while Man Utd - whose defenders are dropping like flies - are forced into another reshuffle with Fabio da Silva replacing twin Rafael, who looks like he has a hamstring injury.

Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "Manchester United living dangerously at the back and Old Trafford will only truly relax if they can get that second goal. Marseille have not helped their own cause with some wayward fininshing. Antonio Valencia's pace will provide an outlet after he replaced the tiring Nani."

Football League Macca: "A chink of light for Sheff Wed? We'll see. Paul Heffernan pulls one back but Peterborough lead 3-1. Elsewhere, Stevenage are back in front at Oxford, Rochdale are beating Notts Co and Accrington have a second against Burton."

Inter goal: Game on in Munich. It's a nice build-up from Inter, with Coutinho and Samuel Eto'o involved, and an even better finish, Wesley Sneijder swiping into the far corner right-footed from the edge of the area. Another Inter goal and they're through as it stands.

2107: GOALFLASH Bayern 2-2 Inter (agg 3-2) (Sneijder)

2105: Ooh - Julio Cesar keeps Inter Milan just about in it at the Allianz Arena as the visiting keeper does well to palm Mario Gomez's shot from the edge of the area around the post. First real chance of the half, that...

2104: Geeze, United living dangerously again. Lucho's corner is met by Gabriel Heinze, but the Argentine can't quite wrap his head around the cross and his effort flies wide.

2103: Change for Man Utd - Antonio Valencia replacing Nani.

2102: Good break down the right by Marseille forward Loic Remy, ghosting past Patrice Evra as if he wasn't even there but then undoing all his good work with a lazy cross that eludes everyone in the box. This match very much in the balance still.

2059: Oh - and it's almost excellent again from Wayne Rooney, dancing into the Marseille box and threatening to unleash a rocket at goal - only for his cut-back to Javier Hernandez to be cut out.

2057: Better from Man Utd, unsurprisingly with the irrepressible Wayne Rooney at the heart of a decent move, the England frontman's lovely clip over the top inches away from being collected by the onrushing Javier Hernandez. Man Utd starting to press their claims going forward once more.

2056: Pretty quiet start to the half at the Allianz Arena - but with both defences looking about as comfortable as a hairshirt, I'd bet against that finishing as it stands.

2053: Marseille playing with notably more intent at the start of this half - in the knowledge a goal for them would put them through as it stands, I'm sure - and Man Utd are just struggling to get their foot on the ball for the first time in the match.

2051: And that's why this isn't game over at Old Trafford yet - Andre Ayew's flick is inches away from releasing Andre-Pierre Gignac in the Man Utd box, home keeper Edwin van der Sar out smartly to save at the striker's feet.

2049: And we're under way again in Munich too, Bayern 2-1 Inter (agg 3-1).

2047: We're back up and running at Old Trafford. And let me tell you, this one is not over yet. Man Utd 1-0 Marseille (agg 1-0).

Anon via text: "RE: James, Leamington - try being a Swindon fan. I win."

thomhoffman on Twitter: "Wes Brown? Where's Brown more like."

richwarner123 on Twitter: "Good half for Man Utd, got the lead but Marseille look dangerous in attack, could have easily got a goal."

James, Leamington, via text: "I'm a Sheff Wed and Scunny fan. Try imagine how I'm feeling right now. It's a nightmare."

Half time
2036: HALF-TIME Man Utd 1-0 Marseille (agg 1-0)
Chief football writer Phil McNulty's HT snap-shot:
"Manchester United the better side but Marseille providing moments of real concern to give their vociferous support hope."

Half time
2035: HALF-TIME Bayern 2-1 Inter (agg 3-1)
Phil Dawkes's HT snap-shot:
"It has been a gripping 45 minutes in Germany, with two strong attacks hammering away at two inept defences. Inter heading towards a limp relinquishing of their European crown as it stands... but I see more goals in this."

2033: And there's your half-time whistle both in Manchester and Munich. Two cracking halves of football, those.

2031: Who had 45 minutes in the sweepstake? That's the time for your customary rubbish tackle from Paul Scholes, the midfielder's typically clumsy effort bringing Benoit Cheyrou's progress to a halt.

Football League Macca: "Sheff Wed fans have not much to twit-to-woo about recently. Tonight's going bad even by their recent standards as Peterborough lead by three now through a George Boyd effort. Preston are also 3-0 up. Some welcome relief for their recently suffering fans as Iain Hume pops one in just before the break."

2030: And now Chris Smalling should do better, the defender rising to meet Ryan Giggs's corner but heading over from eight yards out.

2027: Penalty shout at Old Trafford as Ryan Giggs bursts into the box from Nani's pass on the counter-attack and rolls the ball across to Javier Hernandez, who is clipped by Taye Taiwo. United are up in arms, but replays show it was the Mexican who tripped the Marseille defender, rather than the other way around.

Someone has struck the woodwork
2026: Inter, somehow, are hanging on by their fingernails at the Allianz Arena - and near-misses don't get much nearer than this for Bayern. Mario Gomez's shot from the angle rolls across the goal, Andrea Ranocchia tracks back to just beat Thomas Mueller to the ball on the line and his desperate hack away ricochets off the Bayern midfielder, on to the post, and away. So close.

Football League Macca: "Craig Mackail-Smith turns provider as he sets up Lee Tomlin to pop in number two for Peterborough at Sheff Wed. Preston are on fire. Billy Jones has put them 2-0 ahead at Scunny."

2024: That's the end of John O'Shea's night - the defender limping off with a hamstring strain to be replaced by Rafael da Silva.

2023: I tell you what, for all Man Utd's dominance at Old Trafford, Marseille could - and should - have had two goals. Following Andre-Pierre Gignac's howler of earlier, it's now Souleymane Diawara's turn to hang his head in shame, the defender contriving to nod Taye Taiwo's cross wide despite being completely unmarked six yards out in front of goal. Two golden chances for Marseille, two awful misses.

Football League Macca: "Preston are in front. I repeat, Preston are in front. Without a win this year, Phil Brown's struggling strugglers lead at Scunny through Keith Treacy. Carlisle also lead now with James Berrett on the scoresheet against Plymouth."

2021: Some element of redemption for Inter keeper Julio 'calamity' Cesar as he pulls off a fabulous save to deny Franck Ribery one-on-one after the Frenchman had completely mugged Andrea Ranocchia. Kept Inter in the tie there, the keeper.

Football League Macca: "Peterborough are in front at Sheff Wed and it's league leading scorer Craig Mackail-Smith who gets his 22nd L1 goal of the season. In-form Leyton Orient have cracked the deadlock at Hartlepool through Jimmy Smith and Accrington lead Burton in L2."

Bayern goal: Massive advantage for Bayern, now, and again there's an element of fortune about it, Lucio deflecting Arjen Robben's pass into the path of Thomas Mueller, who takes a touch before clipping home from inside the area.

2017: GOALFLASH Bayern 2-1 Inter (agg 3-1) (Mueller)

2016: Half an hour gone at Old Trafford, and United are in total command. While there's only one goal in it, though...

2014: Bayern striker Mario Gomez senses further goals may be in the offing at the Allianz Arena, turning Lucio and unleashing a powerful drive from 12 yards, but this time Julio Cesar does well to palm away.

2011: And talking of right royal rickets, Marseille keeper Steve Mandanda has almost gifted Man Utd a second at Old Trafford. Brilliantly - but bizarrely - the visiting keeper kicks the ball out of his hands straight to United winger Nani 30 yards out, but despite a great overlap by Wayne Rooney the English forward's cut-back cannot find a team-mate. Let off for the visitors.

Football League Macca: "Burnley are ahead against Cov through Jay Rodriguez and they are breathing down the necks of Nottm Forest for that final play-off spot now. Just a point between the two sides. Lincoln lead at Macclesfield and an Oxford own goal has given Stevenage the advantage."

Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Old Trafford: "Open game at Old Trafford. Wayne Rooney looks very much at home playing off Javier Hernandez but the noisy band of Marseille fans will draw encouragement from the way the opened up United's defence for Andre-Pierre Gignac's missed chance."

Bayern goal: It's advantage Bayern again in Munich - but Julio Cesar will want to avoid the video replays of this one, for sure. Just as the Inter keeper did in the first leg, Cesar has made a right royal ricket to gift Bayern a goal, spilling Arjen Robben's tame shot to allow Mario Gomez to hook in. Gift.

2008: GOALFLASH Bayern 1-1 Inter (agg 2-1) (Gomez)

2007: That Andre-Pierre Gignac chance aside, this has been a very encouraging first 20 minutes or so from United, hassling and harrying Marseille at every opportunity and then getting forward with pace and in numbers whenever given the chance. England frontman Wayne Rooney is proving their string-puller in chief so far, too.

Yellow card
2006: First caution of the night at Old Trafford - Javier Hernandez yellow carded for a deliberate shoulder charge on Marseille defender Gabriel Heinze.

Football League Macca: "There's been a bit of a delay in the Ipswich-Watford game as referee Grant Hegley's evening over as he's pulled something (a muscle I'm guessing). The Hertfordshire official is replaced by the fourth official and we are back under way."

2000: Couple of fiery moments at Old Trafford as first United defender Chris Smalling and Marseille striker Andre-Pierre Gignac have the briefest of shoving matches and then Patrice Evra goes over the ball and catches Lucho Gonzalez's standing leg - not nice. It does, however, give me the slimmest excuse to use everybody's favourite graphic - the handbags! Hoorah!

1957: And now Wayne Rooney fires a beauty of a pass into the box to find Chris Smalling, who has stayed up from an earlier set piece, but the defender's control lets him down and Marseille are able to clear. Rooney clearly already enjoying himself, though.

1955: Deary me - massive let-off for Man Utd. Andre Ayew's flick sets form striker Andre-Pierre Gignac in behind the home defence with just the keeper to beat, but the Frenchman's first-time finish is woeful and it lobs over the bar. Waste.

Football League Macca: "The first goal has arrived in the Footy League and it's not much of a surprise that it's been delivered by Watford, who are now top scorers away from home in the division. Troy Deeney the scorer this time at Ipswich. Bury are also off a lively start as Chris Holroyd puts them 1-0 up at home to Torquay."

Man Utd goal: What a start for the hosts. United have started ever so well at Old Trafford and their reward is an early goal, Wayne Rooney making some room for himself wide in the Marseille box before slapping across goal left footed, Javier Hernandez on hand to tap home from close range. Perfect start.

1952: GOALFLASH Man Utd 1-0 Marseille (agg 1-0) (Hernandez)

Inter Milan goal: Less than five minutes in in Munich and Inter level the tie on aggregate, Goran Pandev slipping a fine pass through to Samuel Eto'o - potentially offside - for the Cameroonian to dash through and slide home. We're all square.

1950: GOALFLASH Bayern 0-1 Inter (agg 1-1) (Eto'o)

1949: Man Utd already showing their intention to get in Marseille's faces early doors at Old Trafford. Bright start from the hosts.

1947: Oh yes, I almost forgot, former Marseille star Bolo Zenden chatted with our man David Ornstein before tonight's match at Old Trafford, saying: "United are very strong and on a normal day they will do the job. But then again we're talking about a one-off game. I remember winning 1-0 at Anfield with Marseille when everyone expected Liverpool to go through. So it's still possible. The downside for United is that they didn't score in the first leg away from home. So there's basically only one thing for Marseille to focus on - scoring a goal, because then United will have to score two. That's the biggest downfall from the first leg for United, but I still think on the night they will do the job. For Marseille to have a chance they should play like they did at home and not be afraid to play their own game."

1946: Immaculately observed in Manchester and Munich... and we're now under way...

1945: Before kick-off, a minute's silence in tribute to those affected by the Japan earthquake.

1944: Here come the players, cheered on to the Old Trafford pitch by a passionate home support and a few loonies in the away end who appear to have removed their tops despite it being colder than a penguin's tache in Manchester this evening. Brave, brave souls.

1942: And with kick-off approaching fast, there's just time to hear from a rather relaxed looking Sir Alex Ferguson. "We tried to get Nemanja Vidic fit but calf injuries are always a problem. If we played him from the start he could have been out for a few weeks and we couldn't take the risk. John O'Shea is right-back for his height because Marseille are a big, big side. Nani is back after an amazing recovery so we are very pleased with that. If we started with Antonio Valencia it might have been a risk with just half a game under his belt and the potential of having to play two hours of football with extra-time."

1940: Now, let me hit you with some knowledge. Infostrada Sports have been in touch, and they've provided these bad boys... Man Utd have not conceded a single goal in the 5 CL matches with Chris Smalling in the starting XI; Man Utd's starting line up has played a total of 675 CL matches, their most experienced side ever. Marseille's starting XI has 202 matches behind their name; Man Utd's starting line up has an average age of 29 years and 317 days, their second oldest in CL history after last year's 30-010 average age in the match vs Bayern München (2-1 defeat); Inter are without Javier Zanetti. In the 93 CL games Javier Zanetti has played for Inter they have conceded exactly 100 goals, while they have conceded just 5 in the 11 CL games Zanetti wasn't on the field. While Phil Dawkes has come up with this beauty - While only one team has managed to overturn a first leg home deficit in Champions League history, Inter can draw hope from the fact that in five previous European meetings with Bayern, there has not been a home win, with the away side triumphing on four occasions. Aces.

ReidD8 on Twitter: "Both home teams comfortably through tonight."

Miles, London via text: "Get the feeling Man Utd fans are underestimating the ability of Marseilles tonight. Having the likes of Ayew, Gignac, Remy and Gonzalez starting against the old legs of Scholes and Giggs is scary. I'm saying 1-1, Marseilles through on away goal."

1936: MAN UTD v MARSEILLE (1945)
Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Old Trafford:
"Sir Alex Ferguson wants Manchester United to prove they have the "fantasy" Marseille coach Didier Deschamps believes they lack in tonight's Champions League clash at Old Trafford. United are seeking to reach the last eight for the fifth year in succession after a goalless first leg in the Stade Velodrome. Marseille have the incentive of knowing United must guard against conceding an away goal - but Ferguson makes his intentions clear with the opening six words of his match notes: 'We will be going for it.'"

Phil Dawkes reports:
"Nearly 11 months after losing the 2010 Champions League final to Inter Milan, Bayern Munich are perfectly placed to seal their revenge. The Germans' 1-0 win in the first leg in Italy means Inter must do what only one side has done before in Europe's top club competition and overcome a first leg home deficit to advance. There is hope for Inter though, as Bayern are far from stable having announced last week that manager Louis van Gaal will be leaving his post at the end of the season."

Football League Macca: "In League One, Huddersfield and Peterborough can take advantage of Brighton's inaction to close the gap at the top. They both face away trips to bottom-half clubs, with the U's at Brentford and Peterborough facing Sheff Wed. Hartlepool host Leyton Orient in a battle of the two sides lying just below the play-off slots. In League Two, second-placed Bury host Torquay, four points off the play-offs in eighth."

Josh, Bristol via text: "Bayern come into the game on the back of a 6-0 romp, Inter a scrappy score draw. Certain home banker? Probably, until I just chucked Bayern in an accumulator..."

1927: Of course, while few could argue Man Utd have been total bastions of the beautiful game so far this season, you won't hear Sir Alex Ferguson naysaying his side's ability to thrill. In the programme notes tonight... "'I hope we can show [Marseille manager Didier] Deschamps that despite his suggestion we don't have as much 'fantasy' as before, we are capable of magic." Ooh he's a wily so-and-so isn't he? And I get the impression the big man would enjoy success this season more than any other previously, for some reason. Expect a bit of wand-waving from the Scot tonight.

JonsterMonster on Twitter: "No mention of the ref yet tonight; Spanish refs don't have the best reputation in Spain let alone in Europe! Impact?"

Anon via text: "Where is Darren Fletcher? This is a big occasion, non?"
Sidelined by injury/illness, I believe.

Football League Macca: "The top six in the Championship have the night off (lazy) so much of tonight's attention will be on the relegation scrap at the bottom between Scunthorpe and Preston (live on BBC 5 live Sports Extra). Scunny are four points adrift of Crystal Palace so a win would be severely useful. Preston probably need snookers if they are to survive, but a win tonight would at least be a start. Seventh-placed Burnley host Coventry, in freefall and managerless after Aidy Boothroyd's sacking, while in the night's other fixture Watford travel to Ipswich."

1921: What's that? Oh yes, it's Football League Macca...

Scott, Maidenhead via text: "Really disappointed that the twins are on the bench after Saturday... thought they added the energy that United have been missing this season."

Mj2Fr3ak on Twitter: "Gignac is the man to be feared at OT. If the Man Utd defence can keep him at bay, I say it's a job half done."

1917: Away from tonight's fixtures, if you're up for a spot of light reading ahead of kick-off - other than, you know, this commentary - why not check out Chris Bevan's piece with Clarence Seedorf about the changing face of European football. The veteran AC Milan midfielder may still be smarting after his side's Champions League exit at the hands of Tottenham last week, but boy does he know his onions. His tip to win this year's Champions League? Real Madrid.

DarrenS20 on Twitter: "Why's everyone being negative about the line up? I see loads of goals!"

Alex Batt, Norfolk via text: "Forget Champions League, tonight is the night Peterborough FC take one step closer back to the Championship!"

1913: MAN UTD v MARSEILLE (1945)
Chief football writer Phil McNulty at Old Trafford:
"Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic is out with a calf knock but Nani returns way ahead of his original schedule after suffering a gashed shin following Jamie Carragher's challenge in the defeat at Liverpool. In Vidic's absence, Sir Alex Ferguson turns to Chris Smalling and Wes Brown in the heart of defence and he will be hoping they fare better than at Anfield. And once again no place for Dimitar Berbatov. For Marseille there are three changes from the first leg in France. Taye Taiwo, Benoit Cheyrou and Andre-Pierre Gignac come in for Edouard Cisse, Charles Kabore and Brandao."

1910: Before we hear from our man at Old Trafford Phil McNulty, by the way, injury news coming out of Man Utd this afternoon with keeper Anders Lindegaard forced to undergo a knee operation that will keep him out for up to five weeks. Ben Amos has been recalled from his loan at Oldham as a result. I mean, all right, it's not necessarily headline-grabbing material, but still...

marksilv1 on Twitter: "Exactly the type of game you expect United to struggle in, only to see them stroll through 3-0."

Rupert, Manchester via text: "No Berbatov again! There must be something going on behind the scenes here. He's not exactly off form and he's a player of confidence... He needs games!"

Phil Dawkes reports:
"Bayern Munich make two changes to the side that won 1-0 at the San Siro in the first leg. Defenders Breno and Daniel van Buyten come in to the side. Defender Holger Badstuber and midfielder Anatoliy Tymoshchuk drop to the bench. Inter make one change from the first leg. With them trailing from the first leg it is a positive one with forward Goran Pandev replacing defender Javier Zanetti. Diego Milito, who scored both goals in last season's Champions League final win over Bayern has travelled but is not included in the match squad, as he is still recovering from injury."

vinubari on Twitter: "Initially thought comfortable 2-0 victory for Man United, but seeing no Vidic in the back line... I reckon they could go out on a score draw."

Stuart, Oxford via text: "Can't see many goals tonight. Just hope we don't play Rooney out left in 4-5-1 we can't play that formation at all."

razzicc on Twitter: "Gotta love Chicharito's pace against Heinze in the centre tonight."

Bayern Munich:
Kraft, Lahm, Van Buyten, Breno, Pranjic, Schweinsteiger, Gustavo, Robben, Muller, Ribery, Gomez. Subs: Butt, Altintop, Ottl, Klose, Badstuber, Kroos, Tymoschuk.
Inter Milan: Julio Cesar, Maicon, Ranocchia, Lucio, Chivu, Stankovic, Motta, Cambiasso, Eto'o, Sneijder, Pandev. Subs: Castellazzi, Cordoba, Kharja, Mariga, Materazzi, Coutinho, Nagatomo.
Referee: Pedro Proenca (Lisbon)

George, Bristol via text: "Have to say, the loss of Vidic seems like a massive blow to man u. I reckon two 1-1 draws because of it. Bayern and Marseille through."

1900: MAN UTD v MARSEILLE (1945)
Man Utd:
Van der Sar, O'Shea, Smalling, Brown, Evra, Nani, Carrick, Scholes, Giggs, Hernandez, Rooney. Subs: Kuszczak, Berbatov, Fabio Da Silva, Rafael Da Silva, Valencia, Obertan, Gibson.
Marseille: Mandanda, Fanni, Heinze, Diawara, Taiwo, M'bia Etoundi, Cheyrou, Remy, Gonzalez, Andre Ayew, Gignac. Subs: Andrade, Hilton, Cisse, Kabore, Jordan Ayew, Abriel, Valbuena.
Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo (Madrid)

RobbieMathias on Twitter: "RE: 1845 - certainly would be a remarkable achievement given the apparent lack of fluency this season."

AlexSirWilliams on Twitter: "Typical Ferguson, saying Nani was out for a month, only for him to come back in just over a week. Saw it from a mile off!"

1856: So here's where I want you all to get involved. You know the drill - Tweet the commentary via the hashtag #BBCFootball, Tweet me direct @sampatricklyon or text me via 81111 (UK). Boomtown.

SaMdAmAn19 on Twitter: "Hard game for United tonight, Marseille have a lot of good players but we should do the business and get through."

1853: It's not all about Man Utd v Marseille, mind. In the night's other Champions League last-16 tie we have Bayern Munich v Inter Milan, with the Italians looking to overturn a 1-0 first-leg deficit, while Football League Macca is in the house to bring you all the latest from the lower leagues. Something for everybody, right?

Nemanja Vidic fails to shake off a knock and misses out for the match against Marseille, so Wes Brown partners Chris Smalling in defence for Man Utd. Nani, however, returns from a gashed leg to start.

1850: And that, ladies and gentlemen, is your set up for tonight. In short, can this United side continue to underline the value of substance over style? I'm not promising you a goal-fest tonight - especially with the match delicately poised at 0-0 and Marseille's reputation for cagey, defensive tactics in mind - but intrigue should be high on the agenda. And, dare I say, the prospect of an upset is far from off the cards either. Get yourselves settled in, I say.

1848: Now, yes, it is easy to romanticise the United side of '99 - they were of course seconds away from a Champions League final defeat, a penalty away from an FA Cup semi-final exit, and an Arsenal result against Leeds away from a runners-up finish in the Premier League - but still, that team remains iconic. And this United side, one that has stumbled and stuttered at times this season, could yet match its achievements. First, they have to get through what looks a tricky ol' tie against Marseille tonight, of course. But do that, and it could be a big last 10 weeks of the season for the Red Devils.

1845: Top of the Premier League table in March, already through to the FA Cup semi-finals and favourites to progress to the quarter-finals of the Champions League tonight... can this Manchester United side, rebuked in so many quarters this season for a lack of fantasy and reliance on 'winning ugly', really emulate the legendary treble-winning class of 1999? Really? Football. It's a funny ol' game, isn't it?

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15 Mar 2011 23:59 UK

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