Tevez rescues United

Lyon 1 Manchester United 1

Lyon 1 Manchester United 1

Carlos Tevez stepped off the bench to grab a late equaliser for Manchester United in their Champions League first leg match with Lyon in France tonight.

Tevez ghosted in at the far post after Karim Benzema had opened the scoring for the French champions with a superb individual effort.

The Argentinian's 87th-minute goal will give United confidence going into the return leg at Old Trafford in two weeks, as they seek to reach the quarter-finals of the competition they won in 1999.

Ryan Giggs returned to the United side to make his 100th Champions League appearance - and was named captain after being rested for Saturday's FA Cup victory against Arsenal.

Cristiano Ronaldo, Owen Hargreaves and Paul Scholes were also back in the starting line-up against a Lyon team who have won the French title six seasons in a row.

Wayne Rooney was employed as the solitary striker, with Tevez starting the game as one of the substitutes.

Lyon carved out a half chance in the third minute when Fabio Grosso lifted a cross from the left - however, United central defender Rio Ferdinand stood tall and made a timely clearance.

Play immediately switched down the other end and Ronaldo, fit again after a stomach virus, tried his luck from the edge of the area.

He was out of luck, although Swedish international Kim Kallstrom midfielder was happy to concede a corner.

Ferdinand then threaded the ball to Ronaldo after 13 minutes but the Portugal international winger was crowded out.

Lyon were looking lively and Brazilian playmaker Juninho swung in a free-kick after 18 minutes, only for Ferdinand to head clear.

Juninho then tried an ambitious free-kick from distance two minutes later - but Edwin van der Sar was able to make a comfortable save.

There was a scare for United in the 24th minute when Ferdinand sliced a cross from Jeremy Toulalan but the ball went wide of the post.

Rooney, however, almost made the breakthrough a minute later after being released by Giggs but Gregory Coupet in the Lyon goal made a superb parry.

The French outfit broke back immediately, and the highly-rated Karim Benzema suddenly sprung into action in the 26th minute, cleverly making space for himself in the area but watching in frustration as the shot went over the bar.

United were playing at their own pace at the Stade Gerland, but a minute later Giggs picked out Scholes - although the midfielder's effort was blocked.

There was not much tempo to United's game, and they seemed to be playing well within themselves.

They were content to hit Lyon on the counter-attack, with Rooney putting in a hard shift up front on his own.

Hargreaves was then booked in the 40th minute after a challenge on Govou which angered the French bench.

As the half was coming to an end, United carved out a couple of half-chances.

Ronaldo saw his free-kick from distance punched away by Coupet before United won a corner on the right.

Giggs swung the ball in, but Ronaldo failed to test the goalkeeper and headed over the bar.

United manager Alex Ferguson decided to keep things as they were at the start of the second half.

However, it was Lyon who made the breakthrough in the 54th minute with a marvellous piece of skill from Benzema.

The 20-year-old striker had his back to goal when Toulalan played the ball through - and there seemed little on.

Benzema turned quickly however and got between Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic before steering a shot into the corner off a post, giving Van der Sar no chance.

It was Benzema's fourth goal in six Champions League appearances, and was a sweet moment for the player.

Benzema's mature performances have been noted beyond France, and it is easy to see why.

Ferguson himself was present at this ground to witness an impressive goalscoring display against Sochaux on February 9.

United were stung, and Ronaldo tried to pick out Rooney with a cross in the 61st minute - but Lyon goalkeeper Coupet stayed alert and made a timely interception.

Ferguson brought on Nani and Tevez four minutes later with Giggs - who had made little impact - and Scholes making way.

United found themselves on the back foot again in the 66th minute when Francois Clerc cut into the area - but Van der Sar got down quickly to make the save.

Juninho cracked a free-kick wide but with Nani and Tevez on board United had more attacking options.

After Ronaldo and Michael Carrick had gone close, United got their equaliser when Tevez lost his marker and ghosted in at the far post to send his effort beyond Coupet, after the ball had fortuitously broken to him off Fred.

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