On this day: Manchester United win 'Battle of Britain' against Rangers

Ten years ago today, Phil Neville scored the only goal of the game as Manchester United won away at Rangers.

Manchester United and Rangers had never met in a competitive fixture - that was until they were drawn against each other in the 2003-04 Champions League.

The two teams went into the match at Ibrox, which had been dubbed 'The Battle of Britain', having already played two of their group encounters.

Somewhat surprisingly it was Rangers who topped the standings, having collected four points from their clashes with Stuttgart and Panathinaikos. From the same fixtures, United had amassed three points, having lost to the Germans 2-1.

So, Alex McLeish's side went into this fixture a decade ago knowing that a victory would not only tighten their grip on the summit, but it could also have serious repercussions where United's qualification chances were concerned.

It failed to inspire a positive start from the home side, though, and within five minutes United had broken the deadlock for what would be the only goal of the game.

Ruud van Nistelrooy - so often a scorer during his United career - turned creator on this occasion as he picked out Phil Neville with time and space inside the Rangers penalty area. From there, United's utility player was able to slot a low effort beyond the reach of goalkeeper Stefan Klos.

Manchester United players celebrate Phil Neville's goal against Rangers on October 22, 2003.© Getty Images

The deficit prompted a positive response from the hosts, who created opportunities for Paolo Vanoli and Peter Lovenkrands, while up the other end Mikael Silvestre saw a headed effort cleared off the line by Mikel Arteta on the stroke of half time.

Both sides created openings after the restart, with Craig Moore having the best for Rangers, only to see his header hacked clear at the last minute by goalscorer Neville to secure all three points for the visitors.

"It was a great game of football, the atmosphere was terrific, the pitch was great and Rangers gave it everything," said United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who spent two seasons with Rangers as a player.

Meanwhile, his opposite number McLeish added: "I was pleased with the performance and effort, but not the result."

United went on to win the group, while this defeat had a lasting impact on Rangers, who failed to collect another point from their remaining three matches and consequently finished bottom.

RANGERS: Klos; Khizanishvili (Ross 86), Berg, Moore, Ball; Ricksen, Arteta, Vanoli (Nerlinger 67), Lovenkrands; Arveladze, Mols

MAN UNITED: Howard; G Neville, Ferdinand, Silvestre, O'Shea; P Neville (Butt 85), Keane, Scholes, Fortune (Djemba-Djemba 90); Van Nistelrooy, Giggs

Sir Alex Ferguson watches the Gentlemen's Singles quarter-final match between Andy Murray of Great Britain and Fernando Verdasco of Spain on day nine of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships on July 3, 2013
Read Next:
On this day: United overturn three-goal deficit at Spurs
>
You May Like
Recomended from Sports Mole



Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City98103242825
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd96212241820
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs96211961320
4Chelsea95131710716
5Arsenal95131712516
6Watford94321517-215
7Newcastle UnitedNewcastle9423108214
8Burnley934289-113
9Liverpool93421416-213
10Southampton933389-112
11Huddersfield TownHuddersfield9333710-312
12Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton9324910-111
13West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom9243710-310
14Leicester CityLeicester92341214-29
15Swansea CitySwansea9225610-48
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham9225817-98
17Stoke CityStoke92251020-108
18Everton9225718-118
19Bournemouth9216613-77
20Crystal Palace9108219-173