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Ferguson wants freedom to appeal

Darren Fletcher
Fletcher has had little luck in recent European matches

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson believes clubs should be free to appeal against European bookings.

Darren Fletcher appeared to be tripped in the area during the 3-3 draw with CSKA Moscow but was instead cautioned by referee Olegario Benquerenca.

"I can't believe the decision. It's one of the worst I've seen," said Ferguson.

"You can't appeal a yellow card - it is crucial because to miss an important game because of that is unfair. They should look at that but they won't."

At present, Uefa follows a strict policy with appeals only allowed on the grounds of mistaken identity.

United were denied an appeal last season when Fletcher was forced to miss the final against Barcelona after being sent-off for a professional foul in the semi-final against Arsenal despite playing the ball.

However, his annoyance at the referee aside, Ferguson was delighted with how his side fought back from 3-1 down to secure qualification to the knockout stages.


"I thought the intensity of our play, and particularly in the last 25 minutes, was terrific," he said.

United recovered after goals from Alan Dzagoev, Milos Krasic and Vasili Berezutski had given the visitors an unlikely lead.

Michael Owen had levelled for United at 1-1 while a Paul Scholes header and Antonio Valencia's deflected shot off Georgy Shchennikov rescued a point and sealed their place in the knockout stages of the competition.

United were lacklustre throughout and defended poorly but still created enough chances to win the game.

A combination of bad finishing, largely from Owen, and fantastic goalkeeping from Igor Akinfeev kept them at bay.

And despite their poor defending Ferguson felt the point his side earned was justified.

"We should have been four up before they even had a strike on goal," said Ferguson.

"We made a lot of chances and we deserved the point because we kept on going.

"Their goalkeeper made some fantastic saves but we lost three goals at home and you don't like that.

"We played very open tonight and it was difficult for Paul Scholes and Darren Fletcher in midfield as they played one up front.

"But with the players I had available it was the right team to pick. I just can't believe how many chances we did create and we kept going until the end."

And Ferguson praised the contribution of Wayne Rooney, who came off the bench just hours after arriving home with baby Kai Wayne.

"Wayne hadn't had much sleep. I would have preferred to leave him on the bench," added Ferguson.

"I think his energy and confidence was very high. He makes an impact. He is such a good player and is always capable of scoring. He was a wee bit unlucky."

Meanwhile, United's Brazilian defender Fabio da Silva has had a yellow card he picked up in the Carling Cup tie at Barnsley transferred to his brother Rafael.

Fabio was booked for a foul on Jamal Campbell-Ryce at Oakwell last week, but the FA agreed it was a case of mistaken identity.

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see also
Man Utd 3-3 CSKA Moscow
03 Nov 09 |  Europe
Tuesday football as it happened
03 Nov 09 |  Football
European photo gallery
03 Nov 09 |  Football
Uefa stands by Fletcher red card
06 May 09 |  Europe

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